Walk in to Gina's Pizza and Pastaria in Irvine, and you're engulfed in the aromas of simmering sauces, lasagna baking and pizzas being pulled out of the oven. For 40 years, Gina's has dished out homestyle Italian food to loyal customers at its mostly beach city locations. What sets its Irvine spot apart from the rest is its top-shelf craft beer selection. There's plenty of room to sit and relax either on the outside patio or inside dining room; better yet, grab a seat at the bar, order a slice and choose from 15 beers on draft.
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Pure hoppiness from Alpine Beer Company Double IPA (8% ABV): very well-balanced, hoppy but not bitter, with a slight citrus note. Malty and smooth, enjoy with a slice of sausage pizza! Meanwhile, the Green Flash Passion Fruit American Wheat Beer (5.5% ABV) is a good, unfiltered wheat made even better with a touch of passion: not overly sweet, very refreshing, finishes clean. Pass the Pasta!
Deschutes Hop Trip American Pale Ale (5% ABV) is a seasonal offer that uses freshly harvested hops, grapefruit zest and malt—it won't last long! But the best Gina's has is Red Rocket Ale by Bear Republic Brewing Co. (6.8% ABV) out of Healdsburg, California. It starts off with a rich head of malt, caramel, and hops, then calms down to a toasty-spice finish—the quintessential meal in a stein. Pairs with a plate of sausage and peppers.
Gina's also offers sandwiches, salads, appetizers, zuppa, and a daily Happy Hour from 3 p.m. to 6 p.m. Monday thru Friday. Pizza and beer—as American as chips and salsa!! Vote tomorrow!
Gina's Pizza and Pastaria, 4533 Campus Dr., Irvine, (949) 725-1144; www.ginaspizza.com