Tasting GABF 2016 Winners at Karl Strauss
Some craft beer aficionados make the argument that beer awards are overrated. In my opinion, they are wrong. As I have said in a previous article, calibrating my palate and expanding my knowledge of beer styles is important to me. As a reviewer and consumer, I have a keen interest in tasting juried beers.
With that in mind, I paid a visit to Karl Strauss’ Main Brewery in Pacific Beach, yesterday. Main Brewery won three medals at this year’s Great American Beer Festival, while Karl Strauss La Jolla won one. Moreover, Karl Strauss won Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year. It was the perfect personal field trip for the end of San Diego Beer Week.
Although I ordered a flight of the four winning beers at GABF, Gold Medal winner Queen of Tarts (brewed at Karl Strauss La Jolla) was not available so I opted for Baltic Porter as a dessert beer.
Windandsea Wheat (5.1% ABV) was the first winning beer that I tasted. This Gold Medal winner is a Bavarian-style Hefeweizen, served unfiltered. It has big banana and clove aromas and flavors, and a crisp, clean finish. I am a big fan of Hefeweizens, and I loved this one.
The second winner I tasted, Liquid AC (5.0% ABV), is an English-style Summer Ale. It won a Bronze Medal. Slightly malty, but bright and crisp with a clean finish, it was perfect for drinking out in the beer garden on a warm, fall day.
Bronze Medal winner Mosaic Session IPA (5.5% ABV) was the final GABF winner I tasted. Quite hoppy, its grapefruit, pine, and tropical fruit aromas and flavors are pronounced. A very nice West Coast-style IPA.
If you have yet to visit Karl Strauss’ Tasting Room & Beer Garden and Main Brewery, I urge you to do so. Hopefully, all four GABF winners will be available for your tasting pleasure and you too, can calibrate your palate while quenching your thirst.
The brewery is a little out of the way at the end of Sante Fe Street, but it is worth finding. The tasting room is large, as is the beer garden which is shaded by the canopy of two large coral trees. The vibe is mellow, relaxed, and fun.