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Thanksgiving Beer Bacon Stuffing

What sounds better for Thanksgiving than beer bacon stuffing? It’s not a tough question; if we didn’t have you at beer, we definitely had you at bacon. So, rather than search the web for the latest vegan or paleo-friendly alternative to Thanksgiving’s most important side, commit to diet-busting tradition and try this recipe for beer bacon stuffing. Remember, we all go back to the gym in January when exercise goes back in style.  Heck, why not make a practice batch of beer seasoned bacon just for fun? Seriously, make a practice batch.

Beer Seasoned Bacon

Beer Seasoned Bacon

What You’ll Need:
½lb (6-7 Slices) Think-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon
1tbs Honey
2tbs Red Trolley Ale
Black Pepper
Basting Brush
Broiler Pan

What to do:
Position oven rack about 6” from heat source and preheat to broil.  Separate uncooked bacon strips and place 6 or 7 across broiler pan. Combine honey and beer in a small mixing bowl and microwave for 15-20 seconds. Remove mixture from microwave, stir, and use basting brush to generously coat both sides of each bacon strip. Dust bacon with black pepper and cook on Broil for 8-10 minutes, turning every few minutes to avoid burning. Once bacon is crispy, remove from oven set aside to cool. After bacon has cooled, finely chop and reserve in a bowl for later use.

Beer Bacon Stuffing

What you’ll need:
½lb Thick-cut Applewood Smoked Bacon, Chopped
1/4lb Salted Butter
2c Yellow Onion, Chopped
2c Celery, Chopped
2c Crimini Mushrooms, Chopped (Optional)
1c Leeks, Chopped
1tbs Fresh Sage, Minced
1tbs Fresh Thyme, Minced
*Pre-prepared Chopped Beer Seasoned Bacon
2c Chicken or Turkey Stock
1c Red Trolley Ale
12c Unseasoned White Bread Stuffing Mix
Salt to taste
5 Quart Oven-safe Sauté Pan or Stock Pot

What to do:
Preheat oven to 350. Add butter and chopped bacon to a large sauté pan or stock pot  and cook over high heat until edges begin to brown. Add onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, sage, thyme, and pepper and sauté for 5 minutes, or until onions are translucent. Reduce heat to medium, add beer seasoned bacon, and continue to cook for 2-3 minutes. Once beer seasoned bacon is incorporated, add beer and stock to the pot, and bring mixture back to a boil. Once you’ve reached a simmer, reduce heat to low and gradually add in stuffing mix. Once all ingredients are well incorporated, taste stuffing and add salt if needed. Cover pot and bake at 350 for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, remove lid and continue baking for an addition 5 minutes. If you’re successful, and you will be, the photo below is what you’ll have on Thanksgiving.

Need help with your Turkey? Try our beer-brine recipe. 

Beer Bacon Stuffing

San Diego Beer Week Peanut Butter Cup Porter

When San Diego Beer Week kicked-off for the first time in 2009, we brewed a special release Imperial Pale Ale to commemorate what has become an annual celebration of San Diego’s vibrant brewing community.  The following year we made our SDBW special release an annual event with a small batch of SDBW Licorice Stout, and in 2011 we kept the tradition going with the release of our SDBW Double IPA. For this year’s beer week release, we chose a more experimental recipe conceived by our very own brewer John Hunter. Inspired by curiosity, Halloween candy, and a borderline obsession with peanut butter and chocolate, John convinced Brewmaster Paul and the rest of the Karl Strauss team to brew this year’s special release – SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter.

San Diego Beer Week Peanut Butter Cup Porter – An English-style Brown Porter brewed with organic peanut powder, cocoa nibs, and vanilla beans. The resulting brew is a beer’s answer to the peanut butter cup – a medium-bodied porter with smooth layers of peanut butter and milk chocolate.
Stats: 5.6% ABV – 56 SRM – 30 IBU

FAQ: I have a peanut allergy, will this beer make me ill?
Answer: YES! 

SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter Float
1 16oz Pint Glass
2 Large scoops Vanilla Ice Cream
8oz SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter
1 Peanut Butter Cup

If you’ve made a root beer float, this should be a no-brainer. Add two scoops of vanilla ice cream to an empty pint glass, pour chilled beer over the top, and garnish with a peanut butter cup. Growler fills of our SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter will be available 11/2 – 11/11 at each of our San Diego Brewery Restaurants. Mention San Diego Beer Week on Friday 11/2 or Friday 11/9 for an $8 ½ gallon fill.

Peanut Butter Porter Float

SDBW Peanut Butter Cup Porter Float

Beer for Breakfast: Part IV

If you’ve ever donned lederhosen and headed off to your local Oktoberfest celebration, you know the importance of eating before knocking back liter-sized steins of beer. And while Oktoberfest offers many a beer fan the opportunity to rekindle their fondness for day-drinking, nobody wants to go in unprepared. So before you end up buying a pretzel necklace out of desperation, consider trying this pork-filled beer for breakfast recipe. Prost!

Oktoberfest Pork Benedict 

Oktoberfest Pulled Pork

Don’t stress, this part is easy and can be done overnight in the crock pot.

What you’ll need: Oktoberfest Pork Benedict
1 6-7 Quart Crock Pot
2lb Pork Rump Roast
3 12oz bottles of Karl Strauss Oktoberfest. room temperature
4 Medium White Onion, peeled whole
4 Cloves Garlic, Crushed
8-10 Sprigs Fresh Thyme

What to do: 
1. Rinse pork roast, pat dry, rub generously with salt and pepper, and place in the bottom of your crock pot.
2. Add onion, garlic, and thyme to the crock pot, surrounding the pork roast.
3. Carefully pour room temperature Oktoberfest into your crock pot.
4.  Set the timer for 10hrs on low and walk away.
5.  In the morning, remove your pork roast and pull meat.
6. Keep pulled pork warm in a covered dish.

Oktoberfest Bratwurst Gravy

Who needs hollandaise when you can have sausage gravy instead? Oktoberfest Bratwurst Gravy

What you’ll need: 
1 lb Bratwurst, uncooked & uncased
1/4 cup White Onion, finely chopped
1/3 cup Karl Strauss Oktoberfest, room temp
4 tbs Butter
1/4 cup Flour
2 cups Whole Milk

What to do:
1.  Brown uncased bratwurst and onion in a medium saucepan until nearly cooked through and crumbling.
2.  Add Oktoberfest and simmer on low heat for 3 minutes. This will lend the flavor of a Wisconsin-style beer-braised bratwurst.
3.  Add butter and return medium-high heat. Once butter has melted, stir in flour.
4. Slowly stir in milk, continuously stirring over medium-high heat until thick.

Other Ingredients: 
If you’ve never poached an egg, here’s a link to Alton Brown’s method.
No need to bake biscuits from scratch, store-bought oven-bake buttermilk biscuits will work perfectly.

Pulling everything together: 
Pull biscuits apart, top with a poached egg, Oktoberfest pulled porked, and bratwurst gravy. Fattening? You betcha!

Mouette à Trois: A Holiday Fruitcake Ale

With Two Tortugas taking home medals at both the Great American Beer Festival AND the World Beer Cup, it’s safe to say the bar has been raised on our “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. This year’s beer is Mouette à Trois, a San Diego spin on the traditional Three French Hens. Long story short, we don’t have French Hens so we’re compromising with French Seagulls. As for the beer, rather than selecting a more traditional beer style like the Baltic Porter (Parrot in a Palm Tree) or a Belgian Quad (Two Tortugas), we went the experimental route. We wanted to create a flavorful winter warmer that captured the perfect mix of holiday cheer and holiday cliché, so we brewed beer’s answer to fruitcake. Think of it as a blend of “HOHOHO Merry Christmas!” and “Hallelujah! Holy sh*t! Where’s the Tylenol?”

Have a look at the label below, keep your fingers crossed that it does well at GABF, and stay tuned for a sneak preview in our Brewery Restaurants.

Mouette A Trois Label

Mouette à Trois – Holiday Fruitcake Ale
8.5% ABV – 35 SRM – 10 IBU

From the label: Mouette à Trois est la meilleure bière que vous avez jamais goûté ou notre nom n’est pas Karl Strauss.  Mouette à Trois, meaning Three Seagulls, is the 3rd installment in our less than literal “Twelve Days” series of holiday ales. Brewed with fresh apricots, cherries and a blend of spices, the resulting strong ale is Belgian Dubbel meets fruit cake. Rich layers of candied fruit and warming spices are punctuated by notes of toffee and fresh-baked bread. Aging on brandy-cured French oak adds hints of vanilla that linger through a warming finish. Don’t. Even. Think. About. Regifting.

Beer Battered Fish Tacos

Whether your first experience came on a trip to Ensenada or on a lunch run to Ralph Rubio’s namesake eatery, few street foods define our region better than the fish taco. No, we’re not talking about that fancy-pants smoked trout and goat cheese version served by your local pop-up gastro tent; we’re referring to the beer-battered, fried goodness of the Baja-style fish taco. And while the jury is still out on who makes the very best, we think the recipe below is pretty darn good – especially since it calls for Karl Strauss Amber.

Oh, and if you haven’t heard, Karl Strauss Amber has a new look. In honor of the 100th Anniversary of Karl’s birth, we’re celebrating the original “Godfather” of beer with new packaging. You can see the new label below.

Karl Strauss Beer Battered Fish Tacos

1lb firm white meat fish filets- Rockfish, White Seabass, Kelp Bass, Halibut, or even Tilapia will work.  Cut filets lengthwise to a width of about 1.5”.

Marinade:Fish used in Beer Battered Fish Tacos
1 12oz bottle Karl Strauss Amber
1 Medium Onion, sliced
2 Red Jalapeno Peppers, sliced
½ cup Fresh Cilantro, chopped
2 Garlic Cloves, minced

Combine marinade ingredients and fish in a large, covered container or zip-lock bag, and refrigerate for 2-3hrs.

Baja Fish Taco Sauce:
½ cup Sour Cream
½ cup Light Mayonnaise
2 tbsp Fresh Lime Juice
2 tsp Sriracha Chili Sauce

While your fish is marinating, make your Baja sauce by mixing the ingredients above in a small bowl. Refrigerate sauce until ready to use.

Beer Batter:
1 cup  McCormick’s Tempura Mix
¾ cup Karl Strauss Amber, cold
1 tsp Chili Powder
½ tsp Black Pepper

McCormick’s frying instruction adjusted to fit this recipe:

POUR vegetable oil into a large heavy skillet or saucepan, filling no more than 1/3 full.  Heat oil to 375°F on medium heat.

STIR Batter mix, beer, and spices in medium bowl until mixed.  Batter will be lumpy.

DIP Fish strips into batter.  Shake off excess.  Carefully add several pieces at a time to hot oil.

FRY 3-5 minutes or until golden brown, turning once. Drain on paper towels.

SERVE on corn tortillas with shredded cabbage, baja sauce, and fresh lime.

PAIR with Karl Strauss Amber, of course!

Beer-Battered Fish Tacos

Karl Strauss Amber-Battered Fish Tacos

KS Amber Label Art

New Karl Strauss Amber Labels

Beer and Oyster Pairing

Much like coffee beans and wine grapes, oysters and hops owe much of their flavors to terroir:  the environments in which they’re cultivated. Mineral rich soil and long summer days in Oregon’s Willamette Valley give Centennial hops a floral aroma and resinous pine-like bitterness, while the cool waters of San Diego’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon gives Carlsbad Luna oysters a clean brininess and melon-like finish. With hundreds of hop cultivars and oyster appellations, there are virtually limitless options for pairing fresh oysters with hoppy beers.

Hoppy Beer and Oyster Pairing

Karl Strauss Oysters

Upper Left: Carlsbad Lunas; Lower Left: Hog Island Sweetwater & Coast Kumamoto; Right: Blue Points

Hog Island Sweetwater – Farm-raised by Hog Island Oyster Co. in Tomales Bay, CA, the company’s namesake oyster is the perfect balance of salty and sweet.

Pairing: Tower 10 IPA – Without any garnish, Tower 10’s caramel malt undertones draw out the oyster’s sweetness. Add a little lemon juice and you’ll boost the zesty grapefruit flavors of T 10’s Cascade and Chinook hops.

Coast Kumamoto – Originally a Japanese appellation, Coast Kumamoto oysters are farm-raised in Humbolt Bay, California. They’re sweeter than the Sweetwater and fruitier than the Carlsbad Luna, making them a natural match with fruity Belgian IPA’s.

Pairing: Blackball Belgian IPA Warm fermentation with a Belgian yeast strain, combined with Curacao orange and citrusy Pacifica hops gives Blackball the perfect mix of flavors to complement the sweet and fruity Kumamoto oyster.

Carlsbad LunaCarlsbad Aquafarm has been sustainably raising shellfish in San Diego’s Agua Hedionda Lagoon for the past twenty-five years. Their Luna oysters have a mild salinity and melon-like fruity finish. Look for them in San Diego restaurants or at a number of local farmers’ markets.

Pairing: Big Barrel Double IPA The tropical fruit flavors of the Nelson Sauvin hops draw out the natural fruitiness of the Carlsbad Luna.

Blue Point Oysters Cultivated by Blue Island Oyster Co. in New York’s Great South Bay, this world-famous variety has a crisp texture, clean salinity, and hints of celery and pine.

Pairing: Boardwalk Black Rye IPA Boardwalk’s complex toffee and spicy malt profile balances the salinity, while its bracing Centennial hop bitterness draws out herbaceous undertones.

Karl Strauss IPA's - Coast Reserves

Boardwalk Black Rye IPA, Blackball Belgian IPA, Big Barrel Double IPA, Tower 10 IPA

BeerBQ Beef Ribs

Grilling ribs requires a leisurely kind of patience – a low-and-slow attitude that’s not too common here in California. We’re not saying we’re impatient; it’s just that our patience is typically reserved for less leisurely activities, like rush hour traffic and the DMV. That being said, there are still plenty of ways to prepare a good rack of ribs without conceding any beer-drinking time. So, if you’d rather not spend your summer afternoons choking over a smoky barbeque, try our California-style BeerBQ Beef Ribs recipe below.

BeerBQ Beef RibsBeerBQ Ribs
1 4-5lb Beef Back Rib Rack
2 12oz Bottles Karl Strauss Amber
Roasting Pan & Rack (16 x 12 x 2.5)
Aluminum Foil
*Charcoal Grill – optional for finishing ribs

Step 1: Prepare marinade by whisking the ingredients below in a medium-sized bowl. Rinse ribs in cold water, pat dry, and place meat side down in a non-reactive pan large enough to accommodate ribs and marinade. Pour marinade over ribs, cover, and refrigerate for 8-24hrs.

1 c. Orange Juice
½ c. Pineapple Juice
¼ c. Cider Vinegar
¼ c. Soy Sauce
2 tbs. Honey
1 Garlic Clove, minced
1 tbs. Fresh Ginger, grated

Step 2: Remove ribs from refrigerator, drain marinade, and pat dry. Apply a salt and pepper dry rub, place ribs on roasting pan rack, and let rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Step 3: Preheat oven to 300. Pour both bottles of Karl Strauss Amber into the roasting pan, place rack with ribs over the beer, and cover entire pan tightly with aluminum foil. Cook ribs at 300 for 2 hours.

Step 4: Prepare orange chipotle glaze by blending the following ingredients in a blender or food processor. If you’re sensitive to spicy food, only use half the can of chipotle chilies.

Chipotle Orange Glaze:
½ c. Orange Marmalade
½ c. Honey
1 7.5oz Can Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce

Step 5: Remove ribs from oven and keep covered for 20 minutes. Next, remove foil and drain liquid from the bottom of the pan. Be careful not to burn the <blank> out of yourself.

Step 6: Using a basting brush, generously apply glaze to both sides of the ribs.

Step 7: Finish ribs uncovered in the oven at 425 for 10 minutes, or finish on a charcoal grill to add a crispier texture and grilled flavor.

Perfect Pairing: Pintail Pale Ale or Tower 1o IPA

Ribs finished on a charcoal grill

Windansea Shrimp Ceviche

In case you missed the memo, Windansea Wheat is now available in bottles year-round. That’s right, six-packs and twelve-packs of our refreshingly smooth Bavarian-style Hefe hit store shelves just in time for summer.  So, to celebrate the bottle release of our favorite warm weather wheat beer, we’re sharing this fresh summertime ceviche recipe and pairing.

Traditional ceviche is a cold dish consisting of fresh fish, shrimp, or shellfish, cooked in citrus juice. Its origins are believed to date back to the Inca, but rather than compromise the brevity of this post with a culinary history lesson, we’ll just say that ceviche has been around long enough to vary from region to region. In SoCal, ceviche is typically prepared Baja-style, using fresh caught shrimp, or rockfish and lime juice. The recipe below is based on the Baja-style, with a few ingredients added to match Windansea Wheat’s bright fruity flavors.

Windansea Shrimp Ceviche

1.5 lbs fresh shrimp – peeled, deveined, and diced in ½” pieces
1.5 cups fresh-squeezed lime juice (8-10 limes)
8oz Windansea Wheat
5 large Roma tomatoes, seeded and diced
1 medium red onion, diced
1 medium hothouse cucumber, diced
1 large mango, peeled and diced
1 cup watermelon, diced
1-2 red jalapenos, seeded and minced
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
Sea salt to taste

Step 1: Combine fresh chopped shrimp and lime juice in a medium-sized bowl, cover, and refrigerate for 3 hours. The acidic lime juice will cook the shrimp, causing their color to change from blue/gray to pink.

Step 2: Remove lime marinated shrimp and drain off 2/3 of the lime juice. Add 8oz of Windansea Wheat, cover, and return to the refrigerator for an hour. Adding the beer will not only cut the acidity of the lime, but its sweet, fruity flavors will complement the watermelon and mango.

Step 3: Remove shrimp from refrigerator, drain off liquid, and transfer to a large mixing bowl. Add tomato, red onion, cucumber, mango, watermelon, jalapeno, and cilantro. Mix ingredients well, add salt to taste, and return to the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Step 4: Serve with tortilla chips and a Windansea Wheat.

Beer-Braised Oxtail Tacos

Even if you don’t consider yourself a Yelp-crazed foodie, you may have noticed a resurgence of “odd bits” on local menus. Comparable to beef tongue, cheeks, and  tripe, oxtail holds a tasty place outside most people’s comfort zones.  And while they’re more commonly used to create flavorul stocks and stews, we’re putting them to good use in a San Diego favorite – the street taco.

Preparing oxtail isn’t difficult, it just takes time (9-10hrs). Well-prepared, oxtail is rich, tender,  and flavorful. If undercooked,  it will have the texture of a chew toy. So, if you’re a patient master of the crock pot, this recipe should be right up your alley.

Beer-Braised Oxtail Tacos

What you’ll need:
3lbs Oxtail
Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl.
¼ Cup chili powder
1 Tbs. salt
1 Tbs. cumin
1 Tbs.  garlic powder
1 Tsp.  black pepper
½ Tsp. cayenne pepper
½ Tsp. cinnamon
Large Frying Pan
½ Cup all-purpose flour
½ Cup butter

6-qt Crock Pot
1 22oz bottle Off The Rails
1 cup chicken stock
1 large white onion, chopped
2 celery stocks, chopped
2 large carrots, chopped
1 green bell pepper, chopped
1 serrano chili, seeded/chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced

Corn tortillas
Chopped white onion
Chopped cilantro
Salsa verde or habanero hot sauce

What to do:
Rinse oxtails in cold water and pat dry.

Coat oxtails in dry rub, cover, and let rest for 30 minutes.

Melt butter in a large skillet, dust oxtails in flour, and brown for 2-3 minutes on each side. When oxtails are golden brown, remove from skillet and reserved on a plate.

Add onions, celery, carrots, peppers, and garlic to the skillet and sauté on high until onions are golden brown. Transfer half of the vegetable mixture to the crock pot, adding the chicken stock and bottle of Off The Rails to the remaining vegetables in the skillet. Bring to a gentle boil and remove from heat.

Arrange browned oxtails in a layer over the sautéed vegetables in the crock pot. Pour the warm liquid contents of the skillet over the oxtails, cover, and cook on low for 9-10hrs.

Once the oxtails have finished cooking, meat should easily fall away from the bones.

Suggested beer pairing: Tower 20 IIPA – T-20’s dry hop bitterness will cut through the oxtail’s rich flavors, while complementing the zesty lime and cilantro.

Wreck Alley Imperial Stout Crème Brûlée

Beer-infused Crème Brûlée?  Yes, well, it’s more like crem-brew-lay, but you get the gist. What started out as an off-the-wall idea three years ago has since turned into one of our favorite desserts.  Brewed with cocoa nibs and locally roasted Ethiopian coffee beans, Wreck Alley adds rich layers of dark chocolate and an espresso-like roast to this classic dessert.

Our Chefs Gunther and Corey, the masterminds behind this recipe, have earned a solid reputation with their drink beer/think food approach to cooking.  Continually pushing the craft beer and culinary envelope with their innovative methods, these two were recently selected to share their expertise at this year’s Craft Brewers Conference in San Diego.

If you’re looking for something to pair with your after dinner Wreck Alley, give this recipe a try.   Also, look for this and other great beer-centric recipes in an upcoming craft beer cookbook by Chef’s Press, the publishers behind San Diego’s Top Brewers.

Wreck Alley Crème Brûlée

2 cups Wreck Alley Imperial Stout
4 cups heavy cream
1 cup granulated sugar
12 egg yolks
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise
6 shallow, oven-proof ramekins


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Place stout in pan, bring to a slow boil and reduce to a ¼ cup. Place cream in a non reactive pan. Split vanilla bean lengthwise and scrape the seeds into the cream.  The pod can be used as an additional flavor enhancer by adding it to the cream while heating, remove and discard before whisking. Heat cream and vanilla slowly until steaming.   When cream starts to steam remove from heat.  Do not boil the cream.  While the cream heats through, whisk together egg yolks and sugar with wire whisk until pale in color and sugar is dissolved, about 1 to 2 minutes. Pour about ½ cup of the hot cream into the egg yolk mixture whisking quickly to temper the mixture. In a slow stream, add the remaining hot cream to the egg mixture while continuing to mix with the whisk.  Add the reduced stout to the brûlée mixture and mix well.  Divide the mixture evenly into six ramekins, placed in a deep baking dish.  Fill the baking pan with hot water about half way up the sides of the ramekins and place in a pre-heated oven to cook for 40 minutes or until just set. Check for doneness by gently shaking the ramekins;  the brûlée is finished baking when the edges are set/firm but the middle still jiggles a little. Place the ramekins in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours to cool before serving.


Sprinkle the top of each brûlée with a thin layer of granulated sugar.  With a kitchen propane torch (available at most household supply retailers) point the flame onto the sugar and heat until it begins to melt and is deep golden brown color.


Use the broiler setting of your oven to brown the sugar by placing the brûlée about an inch away under the broiler flame/heat source for 20 to 30 seconds. Check frequently to ensure even browning.

For an additional twist on this classic, add your favorite fruit like strawberries, raspberries or banana slices to brûlée. Gently insert fruit pieces by pressing them into the cold brûlée and follow the same finishing instructios above.