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Karl News

The Future is Now! Debuting Downtown After “Doc” Brown



Hops? Where We’re Going, We Don’t Need Hops

Great Scott! When we first brewed “Downtown After Dark” Brown Ale at our Columbia St. Brewpub, the year was 1989 and hoverboards seemed like a distant but totally plausible reality. It was part of our original lineup, which also included our classic Amber Lager and Gaslamp Gold. The American Brown ale was a shock to a city who had been weaned on American Light Lagers and were legitimately afraid of the world of “dark” beers. Luckily, like hair metal bands, that fear has faded to the annals of history and we find ourselves surrounded by amazing craft beer of all varieties all across the country. It’s been nearly 20 years since Downtown After Dark was brewed, and when we realized that another classic we hold near and dear was going to be celebrating a big anniversary we figured we would join in the party by going back…to the future (of beer)!


#DrinkCraftLiveEasy Instagram Photo Contest



Merch contest collage


For us here at Karl Strauss, “Drink Craft, Live Easy” isn’t just a statement. It’s a way of life. Whether that’s capping off a long bike ride by the water with a fresh IPA or gathering friends for a BBQ and bottle share, craft beer is a constant companion to our every day enjoyment of life in California.

Win Karl Gear

We’re celebrating the release of our new lineup of merch by giving 1 Guy and 1 Gal the chance to win each week! Check out our Friday Growler Code post on Instagram to see which design we’re featuring for the week and capture a photo of what #DrinkCraftLiveEasy means to you. Tag @karlstraussbeer and #DrinkCraftLiveEasy and our panel of judges will choose 1 Guy and 1 Gal to take their pick of  the featured fresh threads on the KARL store.


10/2: Karlifornia Design

10/9: Make Beer Not War Design

10/16: In Beer We Trust Design

Contest Rules & Legal Stuff


The Drink Craft, Live Easy Instagram contest is open to residents of California who are at least 21 years of age and are following the @KarlStraussBeer Instagram account. Entries will be allowed from Friday, October 2, 2015 through Thursday, October 22 2015 at midnight.

Photos must be created and owned by you, and may not be associated with any other promotion. By submitting your photo, you agree to its use by Karl Strauss Brewing Company for display and promotional purposes. Enter as often as you like.

Award Selection
The following Thursday after each growler code post (10/8, 10/15, 10/22) our panel of judges will select their favorite photo and award 1 male and 1 female winner. Winners will be contacted via direct message on Instagram.

Inappropriate Content
Entries are at the sole discretion of Karl Strauss Brewing Company and may be refused if content is determined to be inappropriate.

By submitting a photo, you agree that your photo and/or your name may displayed on the Karl Strauss Brewing website and other digital media, and may be used for promotional purposes, at any time, without any fee or other form of compensation. We reserve the right to disqualify users, without notice, and for any reason.


KARL Invades LA Beer Week with an Exclusive Collab & a Slew of Special Releases

LABW Hoppywood PosterIt’s been amazing to watch the LA craft beer scene really take off in recent years. Our neighbors to the north are brewing up some amazing beers and we love taking the trip up the 5 to see what’s new. LA Beer Week is a great opportunity to explore the sprawling metropolis and this year we are excited to share not only the places we’ll be visiting but also a special release we brewed up just for the occasion.

Teaming up with the guys from HoppedLA we created “Hoppywood and Bine” India Pale Lager. We wanted to deliver something that  really fit the LA personality. A beer with a light body, high drinkability, and a platform for showcasing a strong West Coast hop profile. Brewed with Chinook, Citra, and Mosaic hops plus a healthy dry-hop with even more Mosaic, the final product packs a ton of hoppy bitterness . You can read all about the awesome collaboration experience at and come out to join us for it’s debut at our LABW Preview and Release Event at City Tavern in Culver City on 6/19. Check out the full list of where we’ll be pouring “Hoppywood and Bine” as well as all our other LABW events below.



Raising a Glass to Our Roots with “Home” Brew, A San Diego-Style IPA



It’s hard to imagine a time before fresh, local beer was available across the U.S. We can thank homebrewers for kicking off this craft beer revolution. Our own brewers started out brewing at home, using makeshift burners and handmade mash tuns. So to show our love for the AHA, we concocted a “Home” Brew of our own: a San Diego-style IPA brewed with Simcoe, Mosaic, Amarillo and Citra hops. Robust flavors and aromas of pineapple, tropical fruit and tangerine linger through a dry and hoppy finish.

When we were approached by the American Homebrewers Association to create a specialty offering for the National Homebrewers Conference taking place here in San Diego we jumped at the chance. This limited release San Diego-Style IPA will be handed out to attendee’s at the conference and poured at our Brewery Restaurants and select craft beer bars across San Diego starting on 6/11. Keep an eye out, just like your standard 5 gallon batch brewed in the kitchen this one won’t be around long.

Enabling the Next Generation of San Diego’s Beer Pioneers: Meet the First Recipient of our Brewer’s Education Scholarship

For the last 25 years, Karl Strauss has been fundamental in fostering the pioneering spirit that has come to define the San Diego craft beer industry. Beyond brewing our innovative lineup of award winning beers, we have a longstanding tradition of supporting our local community, a core value instilled by our late brewmaster, Karl M. Strauss. In honor of Karl’s lifetime commitment to community service and education, we established the Karl Strauss Brewer’s Education fund in 2007—created to help aspiring brewers pursue an education in brewing science. We are proud to announce that we are partnering with the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Program to fund an annual scholarship through the Karl Strauss Brewers Education Fund to help educate San Diego’s next generation of talented, local brewers.”Taught by leading professional brewers and other industry experts, the UC San Diego Extension Brewing Certificate is a part-time, evening and weekend program that offers academic and practical training for entry-level brewing professionals.”


There are countless stories around the craft beer community of people who have taken their passion for brewing, or simply for beer, to the next level by opening their own breweries and pursuing their hobby professionally. Occasionally, we come across a unique story that underscores how special the people are who become drawn to this industry. We are proud to share that the first recipient of the scholarship is San Diego local, Frank Yepiz.


KARL Invites You To “Try One, Have A Few” With Our Latest Release: Mosaic Session Ale




Introducing a new beer is always exciting, but our latest brew has us particularly buzzing. The first of our “Tank Tap” series to be called up to the big leagues, it began as a humble one-off brew and has now graduated to a full on commercial release. The story begins back in 2013 when the head brewer at our Downtown Brewpub, Sean Albrecht, crafted the recipe for a small batch release he called “Mosaic Wheat”, an unfiltered American-Style Wheat Pale Ale. The light copper color and cracked wheat/citrus flavor combination was a hit and it was tapped out in a matter of days. “The first time I smelled Mosaic hops, I knew I had to brew a beer featuring them,” says Albrecht. “I was inspired to brew a hop bomb that Californians would love, but something that was drinkable enough to enjoy a few pints at a time. I started with a clean malt profile and then double dry-hopped for big citrus aromatics.”



Northern Exposure: KARL’s San Francisco Beer Week Event Calender



We are always looking for an excuse to visit our friends and fans in the Northern half of our great state. If there happens to be a plethora of great events and awesome people to share our beers with, even better! Such is the case with the 2014 San Francisco Beer Week. The gang from KARL will be all over town throughout the week hosting tap takeovers, pairing dinners, and reveling in the killer craft beer scene up in SF. The following list is where you’ll find us imbibing over the next 10 days and we invite you to join us as well as explore all the great beers in your town.


Cracking Open the Cellar: KARL’s 24th Anniversary Beer Re-Release

24th Anniversary Bottle Shot

In honor of our 25th anniversary, we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to get their hands on some of our rarest releases. Each week, leading up to the debut of Karl’s 25th anniversary Doppelbock at our annual Changing of the Barrels event, we will be re-releasing extremely limited quantities of our past anniversary beers. Each will be available exclusively at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room on consecutive Saturday’s in January leading up to the event. Limit 1 Bottle per person.


Anniversary Beer Lineup


Cracking Open the Cellar: KARL’s 23rd Anniversary Beer Re-Release

23rd Anniversary

In honor of our 25th anniversary, we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to get their hands on some of our rarest releases. Each week, leading up to the debut of Karl’s 25th anniversary Doppelbock at our annual Changing of the Barrels event, we will be re-releasing extremely limited quantities of our past anniversary beers. Each will be available exclusively at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room on consecutive Saturday’s in January leading up to the event. Limit 1 Bottle per person.


Anniversary Beer Lineup



Cracking Open the Cellar: KARL’s 22nd Anniversary Beer Re-Release

Karl Strauss 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout

In honor of our 25th anniversary, we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to get their hands on some of our rarest releases. Each week, leading up to the debut of Karl’s 25th anniversary Doppelbock at our annual Changing of the Barrels event, we will be re-releasing extremely limited quantities of our past anniversary beers. Each will be available exclusively at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room on consecutive Saturday’s in January leading up to the event. Limit 1 Bottle per person.

Anniversary Beer Lineup


Cracking Open the Cellar: KARL’s Anniversary Beer Re-Release

In honor of our 25th anniversary, we wanted to give our fans the opportunity to get their hands on some of our rarest releases. Each week, leading up to the debut of Karl’s 25th anniversary Doppelbock at our annual Changing of the Barrels event, we will be re-releasing extremely limited quantities of our past anniversary beers. Each will be available exclusively at the Karl Strauss Tasting Room on consecutive Saturday’s in January leading up to the event. Limit 1 Bottle per person.   Anniversary Beer Lineup


Special Release: Cask Conditioned Wreck Alley Imperial Stout Infused With Mostra Fortissimo Espresso

Mostra and Karl

Here at KARL, we’re always keeping busy. “Rest not on ye laurels”, said a smart person somewhere at some time, I think? In addition to our monthly Tank Tap series and our upcoming “12 Days of Christmas” Holiday Tripel, we also offer special release cask editions of our core lineup each week in our Brewery Restaurants and Tasting Room. Our brewers toil away to craft unique offerings using unconventional ingredients to add a twist to the beers you know and love. We want to highlight these fun creations from time to time here on the blog and get you the dirt on limited releases and one-off side projects that we’ve been brewin’ up.

 Mostra logo


For our weekly casks we’re always experimenting, but this one is special. We’ve partnered up with up-and-coming roasters Mostra Coffee  to create a truly one of a kind version of our Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. Wreck Alley is traditionally brewed with a  generous helping of locally sourced coffee, but we wanted to kick it up a notch. So, we cask conditioned it with a generous helping of artisanally roasted espresso from Mostra. This blend, known simply as “Fortissimo,” utilizes prized varietals from Sumatra, Brazil, Ethiopia, and Guatemala – creating a truly unique flavor profile that will further enhance Wreck Alley’s chocolate, toffee, and roasted malt flavors.

Mostra 4

Mostra takes special care in the preparation of each and every bean they use:

“The Mostra “Fortissimo” espresso blend is made up of 4 origins and was almost 2 months in the making. Since each bean comes from a different part of the world, we felt that it was only fair to treat each origin as “individuals” instead of just roasting them all together to end at a specific temp like other roasters do, especially because each origin/bean comes from different climates, altitudes and contain varying moisture content, density, sizes etc. In order to bring out the best flavor profiles from each bean, we painstakingly profile roast each origin numerous times and at different starting/ending temps.  We then “cup” (taste) every varying temp (sometimes 20+ cuppings per origin) in order to find the best cup that best represents the flavor profile from which the bean is known for.”

Mostra 2

Yah, we know, this one’s going to be good.

You can get yourself a pint at any of our Brewery Restaurants both TONIGHT, Thursday 11/21 starting at 5 p.m. and tomorrow at our Tasting Room starting at 4 p.m.


 Mostra 1


A Weekend in Denver: Gold Medals, Great Beer and a Love for the Craft

alyssa portrait

Hi there, I’m Alyssa and I am the Marketing Programs Coordinator here at Karl Strauss. I recently had the pleasure of attending the Great American Beer Festival in Denver with the KARL team. The Great American Beer Festival is the largest collection of U.S. craft beer served and judged anywhere in the world. Medals awarded here are among the most coveted in the industry and this year there were 4,809 beers from 732 different breweries being tasted, judged and displayed. It was my first trip to GABF, so I had A LOT of tasting to do.


KARL’s 2013 Pro-Am Competition: A Tale of Chance, Tragedy and Triumph

ProAm Brew Bleke Citroen-6

It always amazes me when a seemingly straightforward story takes on new life and becomes entirely more meaningful once we take the time to look beyond the surface. Such was the case with our Pro-Am winner, Tim Taylor, and the tale of how his chance visit to a Karl Strauss restaurant saw him go from casual home brewer to having his creation judged on one the largest competitive beer stages in the world, and the near tragedy that weighed heavy on his heart throughout.

ProAm Banner



“So, You Wanna Be A Cicerone?” Episode I

Brian and Alyssa Cicerone Study

Here at KARL, August has been declared an unofficial beer education month around the office. Each week during our round table meetings we have been enjoying a plethora of exciting beers and inviting employee’s to host their own beer and food pairings (which has lead to a full-on war of delicious one-upping).  Our Friday growler fill codes all feature authors whose work takes a casual love of brew beyond the basics and expands the devotee’s understanding of the science behind the brewing process as well as the fundamentals of how our taste profiles react to the many varied styles of beer.

That being the case, a point of pride for our team is that we have a number of Certified Cicerones on board to help educate and answer any questions that arise regarding styles, glassware, pairings, etc.

Cicerone Certification Program Logo

Cicerone? What the heck is a cicerone, you ask?


Beer By Design: Pull Back the Curtain & Peek Inside Our Tasting Room

As the days until we open the doors on our brand new tasting room dwindle down we are ready to begin sharing our excitement. Part of what makes this project so special for us, and by extension, for you, is that we have agonized over each detail to ensure that we can provide you with more than simply a place to enjoy our award-winning beers. We’ve taken every step to create a one-of-a-kind beer destination in the Pacific Beach neighborhood that will be a home for craft beer fans and a meeting place for friends to enjoy a great conversation over a tasty pint for years to come.



Are you ready to drink a pint at our Main Brewery?

Guest Blog Appearance: Melissa Dombo, Creative Projects Manager here at Karl Strauss

So… I am managing the build out of the tasting room and beer garden here at the brewery. No, it’s not just a rumor. I am happy to announce we are almost there. The official Karl Strauss Brewing Company Tasting Room and Beer Garden construction is underway and we couldn’t be more excited to share the progress with you.

As of today, Urban Contracting and Public Architecture are working at an aggressive pace and getting sh*t done. We have gutted out the old makeshift offices, made way for a new and improved quality control lab, planned the space for the large concrete bar, sawed out a new front door, cleared out more space in the garden area to drink, frolic, stand, sit, eat, or whatever else you like to do at a brewery tasting room. The brewers are even working on some custom cask recipes while the racket of the construction is happening. (Our brewers deserve a beer or three for working around the clock to keep up with demand, all while construction goes on around them… you should hear what they are working through so we can have this tasting room.)

When we open (in less than 2 months from now) you will be greeted by 20 taps, exclusive releases, custom casks, windows into the brewery, windows into the bottling line, beer coolers, custom furniture made of locally sourced woods, growler racks, aging barrels, sweet new Karl merch, and a roll up door leading to a lush garden filled with native plants and maybe even some birds chirping. The smell of the beer brewing never gets old—they should make a candle that resembles the scent. The handshake or just the subtle nod from our brewers working away like umpa lumpas will be well worth the trip (I can’t promise they will break out in song.). We can’t wait for you to stop by, grab a bite to eat from a local food truck, and sample or quaff some pints. Let’s plan it. Maybe you can buy me a pint.

Opening our doors to the public soon…
5985 Santa Fe Street, San Diego

Beer Myths Debunked

Whether you’re a card-carrying member of the über craft beer geek brigade or a casual fan of barley-based beverages, you probably think you know a thing or two about beer. If anything, you’ve undoubtedly picked-up a few fun facts from TV commercials. And surely the trusted producers of your favorite frost-brewed refreshments wouldn’t spend hundreds of millions of dollars misleading you… or would they? If you’ve ever wondered what “triple hops brewed” or “cold-filtered” really means, check out our infographic – it may change the way you view the beer aisle.

Beer Myths Debunked Infographic

Beer Myths Debunked by Karl Strauss Brewing Company


Red Trolley Ale Corned Beef

With St. Patrick’s Day falling on a Sunday, don’t be surprised if half the office comes down with a sudden case of the bottle flu Monday morning. And while we’ll never quite understand the appeal of chasing Irish car bombs with bright green lager, celebrating St. Paddy’s Day with local beer and traditional Irish fare is definitely something we can get behind. So, rather than drown this year’s corned beef in Guinness, try this recipe using our award-winning Irish Red, Red Trolley Ale.  If you can’t get your hands on Red Trolley, the LA Times has a great list of craft brewed Stouts and Irish Reds to experiment with.

What is corned beef?
Corned beef is a brisket that has been brined or pickled with salt and spices for 7-10 days. Because curing your own brisket is time consuming, head down to your local butcher or market and pick-up a pre-cured brisket. For this recipe, we used a 3.5lb  Harris Ranch Corned Beef Brisket– Mild Cure.

Red Trolley Ale Corned Beef

RTA-6Pack-NewWhat You’ll Need:
1 3-4lb Corned Beef Brisket
1 8qt Stock Pot or Dutch Oven
4 Cups Red Trolley Ale
4-5 Cups Water

Spice Mix:
1 Tbs. Black Pepper Corns
1 Tbs. Mustard Seeds
1 Tbs. Coriander Seeds
1 Tbs. Red Chili Flake
1 Tsp. Fennel Seeds
1 Tsp. Whole Cloves
1 Tsp. Ground Ginger
½ Tsp. Ground All Spice
1 Whole Cinnamon Stick, Crushed
4-5 Bay Leaves

1 Large Yellow Onion, Chopped
6 Large Garlic Cloves, Crushed
3 Large Celery Stocks, 2” Chop
5 Large Carrots, 2” Chop

1 Large Head Green Cabbage, Cut into 4-6 Wedges
8-10 Medium-sized White Potatoes

Step one: Remove pre-cured brisket from package, rinse under cold water, and trim away excess fat.

Step 2: (Optional) To reduce sodium content, place beef brisket in a large stock pot, cover with an inch of water, and bring to a boil. Simmer brisket over low heat for 30 minutes and drain water.

Step 3: Return pot to the stove. Add seasoning mix, onion, garlic, celery, carrots, water and Red Trolley Ale and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover, reduce heat to low, and boil for 2 hours.

Step 4: After 2 hours have passed, add cabbage and potatoes, increase heat to high, and return to a rolling bowl. Cover, reduce heat back to low, and simmer for another 30 minutes.

Step 5: Remove brisket from pot and thinly slice against the grain. Serve with cabbage, carrots, potatoes, and a Red Trolley Ale.


Red Trolley Ale Corned Beef

Red Trolley Ale Corned Beef

Karl Strauss San Francisco Beer Week Events

San Francisco Beer Week kicks-off today and we couldn’t be more excited to participate in the Bay Area’s annual craft beer celebration for the first time. When we expanded  beer distribution into Northern California last year, we missed San Francisco Beer Week by about six-months. This year however, we have a handful of events planned in San Francisco and San Jose that will feature San Diego favorites like Red Trolley Ale and Tower 10 IPA, as well as harder to find special releases like our 24th Anniversary Flanders-style Red Ale and Barrel-aged Wreck Alley Imperial Stout. So, if you’re interested in dropping by for a pint and chatting up our motley crew of Karl Strauss reps, check out our event schedule below.

Red Trolley San Francisco


KARL Goes Global With Australian Collaboration Brew “The Bloke”

Here in San Diego the craft beer industry is synonymous with top notch quality and has been growing at record pace over the last 25 years. The opening of our Downtown San Diego brewery restaurant kicked off a revolution that has evolved into one of the defining economic sectors of our city, employing thousands and putting San Diego squarely on the map as being on the forefront of the movement. But it all had to start somewhere…

As many legends go, it was a combination of luck, coincidence and good fortune that led to the inception of Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Chris Cramer, fresh out of college and exploring the world, sat down for a beer at the Sail & Anchor Hotel in Freemantle, Australia with the intention of simply letting off some steam after a long day traveling. What he tasted there blindsided his notions of what beer could be. Inspired, he returned to San Diego and collaborated with college buddy Matt Rattner and Master Brewer Karl Strauss to bring the same quality and (at the time) novelty of serving beer brewed onsite to locals in San Diego. The rest is history. Interestingly enough, Sail & Anchor’s origins are uncannily similar to our own: sail and anchor   “Any lover of Aussie craft beer worth their salt will be familiar with the story of the Sail & Anchor, the Fremantle venue formerly known as the Freemason’s, where a young brewer who was working at the Swan Brewery and a couple of his mates decided to turn the beer world on its head. Brewing and selling their own beers direct from an onsite brewery back in the early 80’s when Australian hotels were more likely to be serving nothing but the local megabrewery’s swill to rooms full of men, they went on to found Matilda Bay and take their venue concept across the country” –The Crafty Pint

With February 2, 2014 marking our 25th anniversary, we wanted to do something special, something we had never done before. So, we hooked up with Aaron Heary, the brewmaster at Gage Roads Brewing Co. who now handles the production of Sail & Anchor beer, and devised a unique tribute to our shared history and the Godfather of Beer himself, Karl Strauss. Our own Paul Segura collaborated with Aaron to dial in the recipe and jetted off across the globe for not only our first collaboration brew, but to extend some international love and goodwill to the boys leading the Australian craft beer movement. Australia photos When describing the tastes and developing trends of the Aussie’s, Paul found the  West Coast style hop bombs  we’ve grown accustomed to here in San Diego are still on the fringes in Freemantle.  “The scene is definitely not in its infancy, but you’re not going to find many Double IPA’s over there. Tower 10 is pretty robust for their tastes….having said that, people down there still drink a TON of beer.” One reason for this trend that eschews a higher ABV is likely the taxation system for beverages, which is based on alcohol percentage, and stumps brewers creativity by actively discouraging them to pursue pushing the boundaries of certain styles. However, the result of this taxation system is an incredible variety of sessionionable beers that are of top quality and turning many locals away from the mass produced light lager’s the country is known for. paul at gage History and cultural lessons aside, “The Bloke” is the star of the show here, so let’s get to it. Being a tribute to Karl, who we often refer to as “the man”, our Australian brethren threw their own twist on the name, calling it “The Bloke”, an oft used phrase that captures exactly who Uncle Karl was to us. KarlStrauss Medium-bodied and ruby red in color The Bloke showcases bold grapefruit and tangerine flavors with a potent combination of Cascade, Chinook, Ella and Galaxy hops that are complimented by a nice toasty finish. “It’s hoppy red ale, and it’s got all kinds of assertive malts but it’s also pretty dry. It’s got a beautiful fruitiness from the fermentation and a lot assertive hops too. It’s got everything that a beer lover could want.” 

the bloke

Of course, while the art of brewing is universal there are unique differences between each brewery and their approach. “Brewing beer is the same whether you’re brewing on a 100 hectoliter system or a 60 barrel system. It’s similar, but it’s the equipment that makes it a little different. So adapting to their brew house  presented a bit of a learning curve…but that’s the fun of it, that’s the good stuff.”   Australia photos 2   The collaboration was great for fans of the local craft beer scene, reminding them of the importance of the Sail & Anchor in providing many of them with that first taste of fresh brewed beer so many years ago.

“It brought some great PR to that little iconic brewpub in a pretty historic area of Freemantle, or Freeo for short, and it’s going to bring awareness to the Sail & Anchor brands of beer down there, so it’s a pretty cool thing for all of us.  It was fun getting to meet all the guys down there and hang around their brew house for a few days sharing in their passion and their camaraderie. They run a tight ship and I know the beer was done right from start to finish.” aussie bloke In total, 6 batches (100 Hectoliters apiece) were brewed and packed in bottles. As to whether some might be making an appearance stateside, it will not be widely distributed but stay in the loop by following us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram for updates on when we’ll be holding exclusive tastings at our Tasting Room.