Last week I visited Pizza Port Carlsbad, so that I’ve now visited all four Pizza Port locations in San Diego. This week, I finally got to the Karl Strauss location downtown, completing my visits to their six San Diego locations, too (there are eleven Karl Strausses altogether). As always excepting any new openings that might occur in the meantime, I now have “just” 44 places left to visit on my tour of all the San Diego craft breweries and tasting rooms.
I know this is a beer blog, but here is some whine: If you or anyone you know runs a brewery in Oceanside, San Marcos, or Vista (where most of the ones I have left to do are located), PLEASE increase the opening hours to include the whole week and earlier in the afternoon! It is very difficult to get up that way on late afternoons, especially late in the week, when traffic is terrible. (End of whine.)
The interior of the Karl Strauss location downtown is nice: brick front wall, exposed wood barrel vault ceiling with two rows of sun lights running the length of the room. The bar and tables are showing their age somewhat (in wood and stain choice more than wear). This location is quite a bit older than the other, fancier locations such as Karl Strauss Carlsbad and Karl Strauss Sorrento Valley. The food is just as good, and the beer is awesome as always. I had some asada fries that were just great.
Bonnie at the bar was pleasant and efficient. Only two of the fifteen beers on the menu were brewed on site, a hoppy Mexican lager (I generally don’t care for those) and:
Conquistador Doppelbock (8% ABV). It is good but not very complex. Just slightly toasted malts, a little caramel, noticeably carbonated. I didn’t get the “plum” described. 3.75/5
The brew system in the back is used for small batch specialty beers and collaborations. There are some barrels visible through the windows to the back, too, which adds to the ambience. (To my surprise, they were out of two staples, Aurora Hoppyalis and Tower 10! The delivery truck pulled up just as I arrived, so the problem has likely been solved now.)
The place was 90% full at lunch time, making a happy buzz (I mean, the sound; chemically, probably, too). The little patio by the front door seems like it would be a nice place to sit when there are not so many people passing by as during lunch rush.
Try to avoid parking downtown on days the Padres are playing: all the lots are $25.
Funny story: I was crew in a sailing race on San Diego Bay recently, and we had a very bad race. We were slow, and just about everything that could go wrong, did–including a fellow crew member falling down an open hatch and breaking two ribs. We were sure we were last in the fleet as we approached the finish line but another boat came up to the finish at about the same time. Though everything they did was within the rules, they made our finish unnecessarily more difficult–they tried to squeeze us into a bridge piling, then tried to force us to miss the finish line, etc. We avoided them with a couple of quick jibes and ended up finishing about 15 seconds ahead of them. The funny part? That other boat was flying a spinnaker with a huge Karl Strauss logo on it.
https://www.karlstrauss.com/ 1157 COLUMBIA ST, SAN DIEGO, CA 92101