Beer Touring to Pizza Port San Clemente, CA
Name: Pizza Port San Clemente
Where: 301 North El Camino Real San Clemente, California 92672
Cost: Pints $5.00-$7.00 | Original Pizzas and Gourmet Pizzas $7.75-$22.25 depending on size and toppings | Salads $4.25-$6.50 | Snacks $1.50-$8.75 | Desserts $3.25-$3.75
About: Pizza Port San Clemente is similar to other members of the Pizza Port Brewing Company dynasty, except that it’s not in San Diego County. It’s just north of the county line, in Orange County. So, technically the brewpub is part of the Orange County beer scene, not San Diego’s. However, now that I’ve been to every craft brewery and brewpub in San Diego County, I’m crossing the line to get my fix of brewery-fresh beers.
How is Pizza Port San Clemente similar to the other Pizza Ports? It’s a landmark located in a cool beach community near famous California surf breaks (Trestles, Church, T-Street, San Onofre); the environment is fun, family-friendly, and décor reflects local surf culture; classic, elevated beer food is on the menu; customer service is excellent; and most importantly, flavor-driven high-quality craft beer flows from the taps.
What I ate: For my pizza I chose Pizza Lahaina, one of their “Original Pizzas.” It has a topping of Canadian-style bacon, pineapple, green bell peppers, and onions. It’s a pizza with a chewy, lightly charred crust that I’ve eaten at all the other Pizza Port locations for many years, and it’s always good.
What I drank: Although I paired a pint of Chronic Amber Ale (5.2% ABV) with the pizza, for dessert I ordered a Way Heavy Scotch Strong Ale (8.5% ABV), which I loved. Way Heavy won medals in the past and I wanted to taste it and calibrate my palate. From my tasting notes:
Dark reddish-brown in color, with a creamy beige head. Aroma is complex: toffee, bready, spicy, and dark fruit. Flavor similar to aroma, and malty. Mouthfeel is smooth, full-bodied, with pleasant carbonation. Rich, clean aftertaste. Overall, a delicious example of the style.
Likes: Brewery-fresh, high-quality craft beer. Consistently good, hot pizza with fresh ingredients, that pairs well with beer. Genuine, friendly service from staff. I like the fun, laid-back environment with surfing memorabilia.
I really like the parking lot on top of the building with its easy access to the brewpub below (via the “very cool staircase”).
Local’s tip: Parking along the street out front is scarce and scary to navigate. When you visit, be sure to drive around to the back of the building and look for the Pizza Port archway which leads to parking.
The Verdict: Recommended. Like the other Pizza Ports along the coast, Pizza Port San Clemente is a great place for quality beer and pizza.