Karl Strauss Brewing Company- Downtown San Diego
In 1989, Karl Strauss Brewing opened their first brewpub in downtown San Diego. I started going there right after they opened and frequented the location for many years. Although I have visited their other locations in San Diego County, the downtown brewpub remains my favorite. I just happened to drive by on the way to another brewery when lo and behold there was an empty parking place right in front of the brewpub! Taking it as a sign from the beer gods I quickly parked the Silver Bullet, fed the meter, and hopped inside. Another sign it was good that I stopped was there were numerous vacant stools at the bar!
Booths and tables were packed with the lunch crowd, but the bar was not crowded. As I sat down I was quickly greeted by long-time Karl Strauss beer ambassador, Bonnie (check out the video below about Bonnie making a special beer to celebrate her 25 years at Karl Strauss). I told her I wanted to taste the Wreck Alley Stout, but first she provided me with complimentary tasters of that brew plus two other special releases, one of which was a double chocolate version. It happened to be cask-conditioned, so I took that as another sign. I was really impressed with this beer, so I ordered a pint and rated it. Here is my description of this fine example of a special stout:
Turbid dark brown color, with a frothy head which lingered to a medium lacing. Expressive chocolatey aroma and sweet malts. Slight amount of vanilla flavor with subdued roast coffee and toffee undertones. Tiny bitterness. Full-bodied in appearance and low carbonation flavors. Clean and velvety mouthfeel with creaminess as it warms. Overall, a complex flavored luscious chocolate cask-conditioned stout. Would be excellent with desserts, especially vanilla ice cream, tiramisu, cake, or brownies.