Beer Maverick

Karl Strauss Tasting Room and Beer Garden, “Pacific Beach”

You know there’s great beer; there’s also a great vibe. RECOMMENDED

I moved a month or so ago, and this Karl Strauss tasting room is now the second closest craft beer location to my house at 3.1 miles away. (Rock Bottom Brewery is less than a mile away from my new place.) Since I’m on a bit of an exercise kick right now, I thought I would try biking to and from Karl Strauss for this review. It was all downhill on the way there, so it was no problem! The 200+ feet of elevation increase on the way back was, admittedly, a bit of a challenge. I thought I was doing pretty well until I was easily passed on the long uphill by a commuter-biker who was clearly annoyed at how slow I was going.

It was a great ride even though my pride was somewhat stung on the way home. And the tasting room was excellent.

As you may know, they have a brewery on this site and it is right next to the Karl Strauss corporate headquarters. The Karl Strauss web materials call this the “Pacific Beach” location–according to all the maps I can find, it is actually in Bay Ho, but who am I to argue with the 2016 Great American Beer Festival Mid-Sized Brewery of the Year? (I guess Pacific Beach just sounds cooler than Bay Ho. I understand–I tell everyone I live in La Jolla even though I am actually just over the boundary in University City.)

The room is nice, though not as fancy as some of the other Karl Strauss locations. You can see the brewing operation through various doors and windows, but mostly it is rough woods. There is some merch, there’s a little “shrine” to all their beer awards in one corner, and there is a very large (and very nice) outdoor area. They pour the full range of Karl products–19 taps on the day of my visit. I’ve had (and loved) various Karl products at the other locations I’ve already visited (reviewed here: La Jolla, Sorrento Valley, Carlsbad). I’ve been enjoying Aurora Hoppyalis in six packs at home lately, too. So at the tasting room this time I tried a pint of something I haven’t had before:

Liquid A/C English Summer Ale (English Mild Ale, 5% ABV). Almost like a cream ale, with sweetness and balance. It is golden straw in color with a medium mouthfeel. There’s a lemon note that makes it very refreshing. It was a 2016 GABF English-Style Summer Ale bronze medal winner. 4/5

In the middle of my pint, CEO Chris Cramer dropped into the tasting room to chat with some visitors. Craft beer royalty!

You may have seen the sign on the roof from the east side of the 5 as you go north from Pacific Beach, in which case you know this location is only open Wednesday through Saturday, 2-8pm. It is a tasting room only, so unlike most other Karl locations there is no food served here. It is a great place to spend some time and drink some good beer.     5985 Santa Fe St, San Diego, CA 92109