Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
Taps: - / Bottles: -
Cask: N / Beer-to-Go: N
Ratings: 32 | Reviews: 26 | Show All Ratings:
4.25/5 rDev +9.3%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25 | $$
Overwhelmed by choices during my recent San Diego Beer Week sojourn, I did not give much thought to Karl Strauss; however, an exhausting trip to the nearby Maritime Museum, as well as an overwhelming thirst, led me to this downtown venue. Located on a generic block, the building can be spotted immediately identified from the massive leaf drapery that festoons its’ façade. Thus began, my tenth stop of the trip.
Entering into the dimly lit interior, which has plenty of wood décor, can be found in any other restaurant in the city, I found a seat at the sparsely populated bar and was greeted by the cheerful and very exuberant 14-year old server (she was young, to say the least, but certainly not a pre-teen).
Karl Strauss offers a wide range of brews; during my lunchtime visit, I was proffered with their Red Trolley Ale, Tower 10 IPA, Pintail Ale, and yet-to-be-named amber taken directly from the fermenting tank. While the beers cannot be compared to many of the local hop bombs, the beers here were pleasing and good accompaniment to the big and juicy cheddar burger.
A pleasant experience nonetheless: decent beer, hearty chow, a friendly server who was liberal with samplers and another day in America’s favorite beer city.
03-25-2013 23:25:00 | More by jjboesen
3.75/5 rDev -3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 3.5 | $$$
This is a cozy little place kind of away from a lot of the action. Still right downtown though. It is on a quiet corner. I went in the evening it was happy hour so the bartender convinced me to get boneless wings, they were nothing special but good. The bed of spicy as fuck mustard and cabbage was the best part about it. I had a sampler of a few of the beers. They were decent. Nothing stuck out, I think this brewery has more beers to offer but they run a pretty limited selection at the pub. Only about 5 taps total. Overall a god stop in SD.
07-26-2012 15:14:23 | More by crossovert
4.22/5 rDev +8.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 4 | $$
Great place wonderful location, not huge not to small. The quality was outstanding. The service was great, out standing waitress! Besides being HOT she new a ton about beer and loved to talk about it. Selection is not huge of cores it is a single Brewery. The food was great! and every thing was very well priced. No complaints at all, they have growers that are priced very well. They have monthly beer pairings witch is nice. Not a huge menu but every thing I have tried has been great. They have a nice selection of food made in a beer sauce. If ever in San Diego a wonderful place to check out.
01-26-2012 04:35:16 | More by exodus1369
3.86/5 rDev -0.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | $$$
I came here based upon last year when I was out here and had a really tasty bottle a their brew. And that it was just off the trolley route which for a lazy fuck like me adds a lot of charisma. They have a smallish patio in front which had an employee enjoying whilst he did some sort of arcane paperwork. Got a spot at the far end of the bar by the tap tower and immediiate service. Easy going bartenders and customers. Bartenders went from very accomodating to work a day. There’s a view of the brewery behind the back bar and a wide range of beers to look at from my spot. Great garlicy aromas in the air. Just got a very polite sniff an sample of an obscure tequila plata from the gracious bartender. Nice large oak bar, overhead is old school commercial, good lighting, sports on TV, growlers to go. I think my score should be better. But there you go.
11-09-2011 16:45:31 | More by drpimento
New Brunswick (Canada)
3.25/5 rDev -16.5%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2 | selection: 4 | food: 2 | $$
Dropped in for some food/beers after being at DJB's for a couple of hours...
A: What you'd expect. Lots of tables, big bar, high ceilings... not very many people there at 10 or so on a Monday night.
Q+Selection: Several of their beers on tap (about 10)... I only tried the IPA, but it was very fresh and tasty.
Service: Blech. We had one of those young, so-snarky-I'm-cool waitresses. I'm not your best friend, no need to be sarcastic with me from the very beginning. And when I showed my AHA card (website says it gets happy hour prices on beer all day), she takes it to the bartender, who tells her they only honor it during Beer Week... wtf?
F: Had some wings and garlic fries which were subpar.
O: The beer was good, the rest wasn't. I wouldn't return.
09-30-2011 19:23:27 | More by berley31
4.3/5 rDev +10.5%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 5 | $$
I get to visit San Diego on business every few weeks and this has been a favorite lunch spot for some time. Being that it's lunchtime and I'm supposed to be working, I enjoy 1 brew each visit.
The restaurant is located downtown and parking can be a challenge unless you arrive a little early. But then you still have to fumble for change to feed the meter, This joint has no parking lot.
Pretty diverse menu, geat food. Burgers, pastas, pizzas , sandwiches, etc.. Food quality has always been solid. They have a pretty full list of beers from lighter Hefs and pale ales to stouts and porters. Something for everyone. They usually come around the restaurant and offer small tasters of their beers complimentary. Nice touch.
Service is pretty solid, staff pretty friendly. I've never ran into poor service here. Good spot if the food is just importatnt to you as the beer. Recommended!
07-16-2011 03:07:23 | More by Siggy125
4.03/5 rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5 | $$
Went to this place pretty late at night, but were surprised how well and smooth our visit was. Some places seem to change within an hour of close.
The place was very relaxed. Great, open areas for seating and a nice, long open bar. Our bartender was great. She was very helpful describing the beers, as well as the rest of the pub's offering.
They have their standard flagship beers available on tap, plus 3-4 seasonal and limited brews. They also have bombers of some of their out of season beers, as well as some guest taps.
The food was decent. Desert was fantastic. They do a "Shake and Cake", where they make a milkshake with one of their beers, and pair it with a lovely, rich chocolate cake. That alone is worth a trip.
All in all, with the beers and the food, the pricing wasn't bad at all. I would definitely make a return visit.
12-31-2010 01:28:45 | More by GarthDanielson
3.4/5 rDev -12.6%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5 | $
This place is located downtown. There was some seating outside, which in hindsight, I should've gone for since the weather was so nice. However, there were few people outside, there wasn't much of a view, and I was alone, so I took a place at the bar.
As you walk in, there are tables and booths in the front and to the left. The brewery is behind glass on the right and the bar is also to the right a little farther back. Lots of wood, fairly dark inside, and a long bar--typical brewpub.
The place had a decent amount of business for a Monday during the summer. This was probably explained by all of the TVs showing a Monday night preseason NFL game as well as a Padres game.
Happy hour was still going on when I was there, and I was imprssed with the low prices on some of the food at that time. There were 8 taps with a couple of there seasonals/specials. I had the Oktoberfest. I also had the spicy sweet potato fries. Warning--very spicy. Outside of that, a ceviche and a couple of other fish dishes, the food is just standard bar food. They sell growlers, and they advertise a cask night on Thursdays. They also had several bombers available to take home.
The service is the worst part of this place. The bartender was nice enough and attentive at first, but she slacked off because she just had too much going on. The bar area was full when I got there, and she was the only bartender working. Not only was she working a large bar (which had full taps at both ends), but she was the only one pouring beers for all of the waitstaff who were taking care of the customers sitting at the tables. They should either have another bartender or allow the servers to pour their own beers. There was also a fair amount of chit chat between the bartender and the other employees; all the while ignoring customers.
I might come back here to try some of their other beers or food, but I definitely wouldn't go out of my way to make it back.
08-28-2010 03:04:27 | More by theghost3
3/5 rDev -22.9%
vibe: 3 | quality: 3 | service: 3 | selection: 3 | food: 3 | $$
The atmosphere is is pretty much like any other brewpub and for a chain brewpub its even more cookie cutter. As you walk in you can see the brewery behind some glass walls. the resturant is pretty narrow as the building isn't all that big.
Quality and selection are pretty average they have eight beers on tap six of which are their year round beers and two seasonl or brewers choice beers. Their beers range from mediocre to pretty good so to me that makes their beers fairly average then.
Service is like just about every other restaurant around the Gas Lamp pretty shitty but for the area its average so if everyone elses service sucks then Karl Strauss has average service. I asked the bartender what special beer they have on tap while pointing to the brewers choice beer and he told me they're all special and I've must have never been to a Karl Strauss. What a douche I then tell him I've been to their other brewpubs and clarify that I wanted to know what the brewers choice was so he says there isn't one right now. So I order the DIPA only to hear the other bartender tell a guy a few seats down they have an ESB as the special.
The food was hit and miss on my plate here. I ordered the sausage plate one was very good the other was horrible so yet again that made my food average.
Overall I'd avoid this place everything is average at best and a few blocks a way you can go to Rock Bottom which has better beer and food.
04-23-2010 22:23:37 | More by armock
4/5 rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4 | $$
Having enjoyed a couple of the Karl Strauss beers over the last couple years I was pleasantly surprised to find one of their brew pubs beside my hotel (W not recommended) in San Diego last week. Arriving late Sunday evening I was disappointed that they close at 10 pm, 11pm on weekends with the bar being open an hour later. Hours of operation aside I convinced the guys we should check it out the next night after work. This was the first of two visits over three days so we got to try a number of items as get a good feel for the service.
Since the two guys I was traveling with are not as much beer hounds as myself we started with the tasting menu for beers and spinach artichoke dip. Both were very good. The dip was one of the better SA dips I have enjoyed and the tasting menu opened up the variety of beers for the guys. All in we all enjoyed the staples and each found one to really enjoy. Our server started out strong but she faded as time progressed and became a bit lax by the end of our visit. One thing that did disappoint was the lack of information available on the beers. The only material available was menu and the brief descriptions provided on the tasting matte. Our waitress on both occasions was big on the one or two beers they liked but knew little about the other beers and did not seem to even have tried them all.
Over all atmosphere was fun and lively, dinner Monday night did not have a busy crowd but staff and patrons seemed to be enjoying themselves, and lunch Wednesday was busy but the staff was attentive and helpful. I did notice that unlike my native Dallas better than half the patrons were enjoying beers during our weekday lunch which leads me to believe there must have been a number of out of town guests like myself enjoying lunch at the brewpub.
Beer: Seasonal Oktoberfest was a great find and fits the style well for an Oktoberfest Lager, slightly nutty, deep golden color, light on the palette with a smooth malty finish.
Double IPA (Fall) nice and hoppy with good color, slightly sweet with good citrus notes, nice pale amber color.
Food: En Fuego Jalapeno Burger, Spinach Artichoke Dip, and don't miss a pairing of the Roasted Pork tenderloin wrapped in bacon along with the Oktoberfest.
Good job over all Karl Strauss. Next time I am in San Diego I will try and hit the brewery to where it all happens.
10-20-2009 19:41:43 | More by jnezda
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
88 out of 100 based on 32 ratings.