Nestled deep within San Diego, California lies a place where once only a dream dwelled within the minds of two college grads and eventually built into a reality. Two men, Chris Cramer and Matt Rattier, both of which had a dream to provide the people of southern California with some of the best craft brews around as well as a place for friends and family to gather to enjoy those brews in true camaraderie. After much hard work and years of dedication they brought their dream to reality and founded Karl Strauss Brewing Company in 1989 and now continues on as a landmark of craft beer in southern California. The name chosen for the brewery, of course, is unique in and of itself as it was named after Karl Strauss, a famed brewer for the Pabst Brewing Company starting there in 1939 and ultimately became part of the team that helped formulate the beer recipe and help tremendously improve sales within the company as well as the cousin of Chris Cramer. He went on to receive awards throughout the years including the MBAA Award of Merit in 1981, Award of Honor in 1992, and The Distinguished Lifer Service Award in 2003. After retiring Pabst in 1983 he went on to help both Chris and Matt found the brewery as well as helped many others within the craft beer industry until his death in 2006. Over the years of brewing, serving and ultimately growing, Karl Strauss Brewing Company has now become one of the largest breweries in the state of California with many branches throughout the state including La Jolla, Sorrento Mesa, Carlsbad, Temecula, Anaheim, Los Angeles and several others. Included in this growth are several events held at their brewery throughout the year that brings everyone together for great fun and delicious brews. One of these events is Collabapalooza where they collaborate with several different brewers locally and independently resulting in many divergent styles of brews ranging from Pale Ales to IPA’s to Saisons and stouts. Other events they host include their annual Oktoberfest, Arts and Amps, and Changing of the Barrels event. The overall growth has also brought about a growth in the line of beers that are brewed up at the brewery with their year round brews ranging from a crisp pilsner to a hop-filled IPA to a caramelized amber to a dark roasted stout. Beyond the year round brews lies the seasonal selection that encompasses a deliciously malted Oktoberfest, a strong Belgian quadrupel, refreshing IPA, a smooth english summer ale, and a deliciously rich, and yet robust peanut butter cup porter. When the holidays roll around they brew up special, limited releases that help compromise whatever holiday celebration and weather condition coexist at the time to help provide the best quality of flavors and enjoyment. To help enhance the beer drinking experience even more they brew up special barrel aged and small batch brews as well as do collaborative works of art including a tequila barrel aged imperial pilsner, barrel aged sours, a doppelbock, belgian blonde ale, imperial IPA and much more.
When the brewery isn’t busy brewing up a batch of malty and hoppy goodness they are seeking ways to help their community by helping local artist display their work within the brewery’s tasting room as well as hosting different local bands during the weekend, providing live music to the fellowship of local craft beer lovers. They also seek to help the environment by supporting local non-profit organizations that have goals of helping the environment and the brewery host it’s own annual clean up with the Surfriders Foundation where they go to nearby beaches and clean all lingering trash left by beach goers. This California destination is definitely one you will not want to miss and regardless of where one may live, make sure you write this one down on your bucket list. Even if craft beer is not your thing, a good visit to this brewery may just completely change your life. Expansion and growth has been exponential over the years and to see where it where lead to next is something any and all craft beer lovers get excited about. Keep your eye on Karl Strauss Brewing Company as you never know when a branch may pop up near you and until then, sip and savor.