Beer: Good Eating

Karl Strauss celebrates 20th anniversary with beer-pairing dinners

1989 was a good year for beer. Homer Simpson first showed us his love for Duff, and Chris Cramer and Matt Rattner co-founded Karl Strauss Brewing Company. To celebrate two decades of hoppy days, the latter is holding a series of anniversary beer dinners. One was held last night at the La Jolla location.

This four-course dinner is the kind that lingers on your palate (and hips) for longer than just the night. Imagine tender seared salmon paired with Karl Strauss Amber Lager. And mussels, shrimp and bay scallops soaked alongside Andouille sausage and complemented by Tower 10 IPA (named after a Mission Beach lifeguard tower and replacing Stargazer IPA on the brewery’s roster).

That’s just half the menu. Save room for marinated pork chops paired with toasty and rich Karl Strauss Altbier. For dessert -- yes, beer can be a dessert -- there’s Beer-n-Bananas Foster. Homer, eat your heart out. It's vanilla bean ice cream, spiced biscotti and plantains matched with 20th anniversary bourbon-aged Belgian trippel beer.

This brewski, aged for nine months in bourbon barrels and weighing in at 10.5 percent alcohol content, is only around for a limited engagement. But Karl Strauss, the company, appears to be here for the long haul. The craft-beer specialist recently completed a brewery expansion and is now capable of producing 60,000 barrels annually.

At last count, there were six Karl Strauss restaurants, including four in San Diego (La Jolla, downtown, Sorrento Mesa and Carlsbad). If you can’t wait for the next beer-pairing dinner, check into Thursday Cask Nights. Brewers create special small batches of beer. June 6 will beget a Rye IPA. As Mr. Simpson might sum things up: “Woo-Hoo!”

Ron Donoho is a regular contributor to and a contributing editor to His Web site ( is dedicated to news, sports, culture, happy hours and all things downtown.

Send Ron a Tip or Invite Here

Contact Us