Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Good Times at Karl Strauss’ 22nd Anniversary Party

San Diego. Let’s deal with it: most of us are afraid of stouts. Not because of the taste – in fact, we recoil from the darkish, kawfeeish hell’s brew in spite of the taste. Once we get past the word’s connotation – stout, burly, thick, fire hydrant-ish – and actually taste it, all doubts tends to disappear. Like going into a scary neighborhood and coming out with a new best friend.

I admit to such a bias. Never a fan of the stouts. But then I took the leap (I was pushed) and – Eureka! – I found it. I may have graduated, but not my Darling Wife. She’s cold on kawfee. And she of course assumed dark malted beer tasted like espresso. And then there’s that whole weight thing: drink this and your buttons will pop and your bra will snap.

So it was with great pleasure – like perhaps watching a problem child graduate with honors – that I watched my bethrothed belly up to the Stout line more times than I could count. Thank you Karl Strauss: you’ve shown another lost soul The Light and The Way. And still that girlish figure!

A big shout out to my friends Chris Cramer, Matt Rattner and Paul Segura down at Karl Strauss. We were fortunate to get through the velvet rope for a sampling of KS’ latest barrel aged stouts. Paul is truly breaking out with exciting new recipes that dazzle and delight. We sipped the bourbon barrel blended and unblended vanilla imperial stout and found ourselves inside our favorite confectionaire in Bruges, aglow in the creamy warmth of chocolate, raisins, vanilla and – yes! yes! – coffee.

Turns out the DW can enjoy coffee as long as it’s buttressed with vanilla beans, malt, hops and bourbon barrel aged!

As the band played and strangers became friends and the delicious hors dourves slowly disappeared, it occurred to us that we were having a peak moment inside what amounted to an unheated industrial warehouse. The only pretense of glamour was a red carpet, which was more parody that fashion. The stark surroundings drove home the cliché that great friends, food, beer and music make a great party, not a fancy ballroom or chic nightclub.

And yet… there is talk of remodeling the Karl Strauss brewery, building out a tasting room, adding a patio, and making the brewery a destination spot. As much fun as we had in the unvarnished brewhouse, just imagine the joy of tasting KS’s finest with old and new friends around a fire pit after a walk on the beach or exhilarating bike ride. The brewery is located smack dab on one of the most popular bike routes in San Diego.

I see potential.



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