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Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego

Not Rated.
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San DiegoKarl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
BA SCORE
89
very good

42 Ratings
Ratings: 42
Reviews: 29
rAvg: 3.9
pDev: 11.54%
Taps: --
Bottles: --
Cask: N
Beer-to-Go: N
[ Bar, Eatery ]

1157 Columbia St
San Diego, California, 92101
United States
phone: (619) 234-2739

visit their websiteWebsite view map and get directionsMap 

Notes:
None, yet.

(Place added by: BeerAdvocate)
Place: Ratings & Reviews
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Ratings: 42 | Reviews: 29 | Display Reviews Only:
Photo of Durge
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Stopped in here for a leisurely Tuesday lunch last week and was quite pleased on all counts. I was able to enjoy their IPA, DIPA, a bock & their Imperial Amber Lager, the first three being very enjoyable, the lager OK. I thought they all tasted like pretty good quality brews. I had their fish & chips as recommended by the bartendress, and that also was very satisfying, excellent cole slaw and a sizeable portion for lunch. The service was very friendly, helpful and reasonably quick. The bar itself is a somewhat dark, wooden old fashioned feel with some outdoor sidewalk tables surrounding the front entrance. It's located right in the heart of the down town, only 10 minutes from the airport or the ocean. Not much else to say, no complaints. I definitely recommend this location and imagine their other sites around San Diego must be decent as well.

Photo of cggarcia
4.38/5  rDev +12.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5

Came in rather late on a Monday night, but was greeted nicely. Just came for the beers, so didn't try the food. 10 beers on tap dominated by lager styles, with an ale or two and 2 IPAs. The Dbl IPA was awesome. Hops hit hard, of course, but the brewer hit a great balance w/ malt to make it easy drinking. The std IPA was very good also w 3 NW hops. The Dbl IPA had hops from New Zealand so had a citrusy smack on the finish. Also tried the the Octoberfest and found it very nice after all the hops of the IPAs.

The staff was very knowledge about the beers and the brewing process. They also have a cask night on the 1st Thurs of the month. I would come back here.

Photo of OlieIPA
3.2/5  rDev -17.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3

After a long day of visiting several breweries, a whole bunch of my friends decided to grab some grub and beers to end our day. We went on a Saturday night and I was expecting a wait, but I was suprised to see that the restaurant was half empty. The atmosphere was nice and the game was on...so most of my attention was focused on that. The quality was pretty good as well as the selection of beer. The food was also good, but nothing special. My overall impression...a nice place to hang out, but again...nothing too extrodinary. Worth a visit if your in town and are looking for a place to chill.

Photo of BigMcLargeHuge
3.75/5  rDev -3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3 | food: 4

This is where it all started for me. Around 1990 domestic beer was just beginning to come out of the dark ages. This place was an oasis. They always had an excellent selection on hand listed from the light in color beer to the dark. The food was pretty good. At this time it was really happening. Some nights it was tough to fight through the crowd and get a beer. The people that worked there were great and more than happy to talk about beer. I loved the $1 beers on Tue nights. It doesn't look like they do that anymore. Sometime when I'm back in town I need to go back and re-rate it. This place rates high for what it gave us back then.

Photo of m1ked
3.83/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

It is interesting to me that there haven't been any reviews from any San Diegans of a SD classic. While Karl Strauss has not historically been much to brag about, or go out of your way for, I do think that they have made improvements. I think that I really appreciated this at the most recent Karlfest. Anyways, the downtown restaurant is not somewhere I frequent, but I will go midday on a weekend to fill my 1 gallon growler for about $12...that is pretty awesome. They have scheduled rotationals, and their classics. Food is pretty decent, I have had their burgers and other meat sandwiches which were very good. I persoanlly go there for the growler fills, and occasionally get some food. Good place to check if you are from out of town, have guests from out of time, or you like their beer (I do). While they are not the best in the SD area, they are good, and add to the variety of the SD beer scene. If you haven't been there, or haven't been there in a while, check it out.

Photo of LethargicAvenger
3.95/5  rDev +1.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Was here on a tuesday night, not too crowded but enough for the waiters to piss off the barkeep. Seemed like a place for trendy 20-something groups but there were a few regulars watching the game. The food was good but very typical for Socal and even breweries in general: a sampling of burgers, sandwiches, steaks and fish -- nothing too daring. Tried an octoberfest which seemed a bit too bitter for me, their DAD ale which was good but it didn't really fit my mood. The IPA however was delicious and surprisingly not recommeded by the bartender. Very light and citrus-y, it fit the bill after the previous darker beers.
All in all, a solid brewery with good beer and good food - nothing to stand out though. One thing, becareful when ordering beer, I though I was loaded until I realized my pint glass really was bigger than usual. They have a 16oz and a 22oz "pint" glass and I was never offered a choice. Maybe I look like a drunk?

Photo of KevBrews
4.45/5  rDev +14.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 5 | food: 3

Was in San Diego for a convention and was pleased to see that the town has so many breweries and brew pubs (lowly Dayton, OH has NONE!). Karl Strauss was within walking distance of my hotel, so I did a little research and decided to give it a try.

The wait staff was very friendly and seemed knowledgeable about the beers. I tried the sampler special, and was able to sub in some of the beers not on the list for some that were on the list but I wasn't interested in. My waitress even threw in a free sample of the "tenth beer," which was a delicious oatmeal stout.

All of the beers I tried were at or above average. There wasn't a single beer I wouldn't try again. I really liked the Windansea Wheat Hefe, which I thought hit the style well. Also among my favorites were the citrusy Pintail Pale Ale and the woodsy Stargazer IPA. The IPA is touted as an "English-style IPA," which the menu defines as less over-the-top than most West Coast IPAs. At first I was concerned that it would be too tame, but I was not disappointed--it was very good. The Pale Ale and the IPA made for an interesting comparison--one more citrusy, while the other more woodsy.

The oatmeal stout was also excellent, with hints of coffee, chocolate, and caramel malt.

The food was average--nothing stellar. And overall, the price was kind of high ($8 for the sampler). But still, I had an excellent time. Tomorrow they tap a firkin of a special dry-hopped version of the IPA, so I'll be heading back over for a taste.

Photo of rousee
4.05/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Another fine brewpub in San Diego--just a little ways from the Gaslamp qtr--next to the W hotel. It is a little off the beaten path though. Not exactly a bustling neighborhood.

You walk in and the bar is good size immediately in front of you on the right side of the place. Very nice standard decor--woody and sunny lots of natural light coming in the place. Nice plasma TVs for watching the games.

The bartender was very nice and gave me samples of anything before buying a full pint. Beers were (and I could be forgetting a few) Woodys Gold (very solid) , Karl Strauss amber (another good one) , Oatmeal stout (excellent), Red Trolley ale (Avoid), Stargazer Ipa (decent) and the Windansea Hefeweisse which was also pretty nice. They had a few others too which I cant remember and I believe they also had guest taps which is really cool in a brewpub.

The food was excellent and reasonably priced just like the beers. We had some tuna 3 way combo thing and some spicy beef skewers (tremendous). San Diego seems to be quite a great beer city. Another impressive brewpub and there are 3 or 4 other locations of the Karl Strauss brewery I believe.

Photo of oggg
4.13/5  rDev +5.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.5

We easily found parking about a block away on a Saturday night at around 6pm, despite the proximity to Gaslamp. The front of the place is not exactly a showstopper, so they have a chalkboard standing out front on the sidewalk to pull more ppl in. There's a handful of outdoor tables to walk past to get inside. Once inside, there's a long bar in this typical diner style restaurant. It's actually not that fancy looking, despite the prices on the menu. There's like 2 normal size TVs. Nice comfy booths and candles at each table, but otherwise standard. The atmosphere is regular diner style, not a pickup joint, not a quiet foo foo place either. Clean restrooms.

The waiter had to think for a bit to recall the "10th tap" beer. On 3/6/04, it was the Hefeweizen. The sampler has 6 beers, not including the Strauss Stout or the 10th tap. It does however include the golden lager (or whatever) and the Trolley lager(or whatever). Anyways, I asked the nice newbie waiter if I could substitute the Stout and the Hefe in for those 2 piss beers, and he was said ok. Sweet! The beers were pretty good. Not intensely flavorful but pretty good. Pretty surprising for a chain that ppl consider to be too mainstream. I would definitely return for the Del Marzen, the Downtown After Dark, and the Strauss Stout.

The food is somewhat expensive, but they give you huge portions. My girlfriend ordered the nachos, which were really delicious, but way too much in quantity. I ordered the Beer Brined Pork Chops (2 large chops) with a special spicy mustard sauce, with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans. The plate was huge, and the sauce was magnificently done. Best food at a brewpub by far, IMHO.

Photo of AtLagerHeads
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

One of the fine Karl Strauss locations, this one being the major unit for downtown San Diego. A large and well appointed restaurant with a substantial bar area and large seating areas, this location ,as others, sports the Strauss line of fine lagers. Difficult parking in this area and the spot is fairly pricey as are the line of Strauss stores. Quality, comfort, and fine food are the obvious trademarks of the Strauss locations, each one quite different in look and feel, but clearly high end and upscale for the beer seeking diner.

Photo of Fabric8r
4.72/5  rDev +21%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5

Stopped in here while on vacation because it was on this beer fly list of brew-pubs. While trying to navigate downtown San Diego (one of the hardest cities to get around in) we finally found this place and parked OK. A little bit uneasy walking up to the place, wondering if the car would be the same when we came out, etc, but once we got inside we were pleasently suprised. The waiter was very friendly and I ordered the 6-taster, to get a feel for the different brews. Each beer was true to the style and I enjoyed each one. The Red Trolley was my least favorite as I had a hard time considering it as an ale, but it went down just fine. Their beers are wonderful, although not anything to write a rave review about.
The food, wow, that was the best meal we had during our week visit to southern Cal. The three of us each really enjoyed our meal and we got to taste each other's.

This place is a must-visit for anyone interested in good beer and good food. I wish they would open up one here in Bozeman, we sure need a quality place like this!

Oh, the car was just fine when we left.

Photo of TheLongBeachBum
3.7/5  rDev -5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5

The 5th of the stops on a recent San Diego Pub-Crawl by a small, but highly select (even if I say so myself), bunch of So. Cal. BA’s. As we headed downtown from the Princess Pub & Grill, we hit this place. I had actually been here many, many years ago, and the memories flooded back. I stayed in San Diego for a weekend in 1995, whilst I spent 10 weeks working in the States. I quite enjoyed this place when I was last here, and although the surroundings have changed considerably (there seems to be construction work and new buildings everywhere these days it seems); the Karl Strauss appears to have changed little.

An imposing frontage, which is hard to miss, quality fittings abound inside. The Bar is to your right as you enter, with some tall seating in front of the bar, and more expansive restaurant seating on a various raised levels taking up the rest of the floor space. I get the impression, as I did in 1995, that this place is really orientated around the food crowd. However, it was rather quiet on our visit, so we were quiet lucky and enjoyed a few beers.

A small group of us elected to sit at the Bar, and the Bartender was very friendly and even helped to explain each of the offerings that they had on Tap. Service was good and attentive.

The beer range on tap was varied, but served a little too cold for my liking, but it soon warmed so it was no big deal really. I tried a couple of the beers, the most memorable of which was the Black’s Beach Extra Dark, an above average offering that was rather drinkable and a bit of a quaffer at just 4.4%ABV.

We gave the food a miss and basically elected to stay sat at the Bar and enjoy our Beer as well as each others company, which was becoming rather hilarious as time and the effects of the several pitchers of the Oak-Aged Stone Arrogant Bastard that we had sampled earlier in the day started to take hold.

I rather like the Karl Strauss for some reason, not sure why, it is not a bad place at all. Sure, it has the Karl Strauss corporate lines akin to those of the Rock Bottom, but I felt as though this place had a little more character and individuality about it. It most certainly had a more adventurous beer range in both style and flavor than the RB and out of the two downtown chains, I much preferred Karl Strauss.

It was quite expensive from memory, but certainly worth a visit if you are in the area.

Last Visit: 12th July 2003.

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Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
89 out of 100 based on 42 ratings.