Dismiss Notice
Subscribe to BeerAdvocate magazine for only $9.99! (Limited time offer, US delivery only)

Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego

Your Rating: None
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San DiegoKarl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
BA SCORE
3.94/5
Very Good
58 Ratings
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San DiegoKarl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego
PLACE INFO

Type: Bar, Eatery

1157 Columbia St
San Diego, California, 92101
United States

(619) 234-2739 | map
karlstrauss.com

Notes:
No notes at this time.

Added by BeerAdvocate

PLACE STATS
Reviews:
31
Ratings:
58
pDev:
10.41%
 
HISTOGRAM
 
View: Place Reviews | Events
User Ratings & Reviews
Sort by:  Recent | High | Low | Top Raters
first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Ratings: 58 |  Reviews: 31
Photo of rocket182
4.75/5  rDev +20.6%

Photo of Fabric8r
4.72/5  rDev +19.8%
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.

 1,094 characters

Photo of Swimsum
4.55/5  rDev +15.5%
vibe: 5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Went here for lunch on my birthday. Stopped in around noonish. It's downtown SD and so of course there were lots of business persons on their lunch breaks eating here. It is a very nice place and the inside is very cool. There are pictures on the walls of Karl Strauss and beer related items. There is a few tables outside but most of the seating is inside. The bar is decently long and has a good amount of seating. There are 5 TV's that you face if you sit at the bar with different things showing. It was an awesome atmosphere, not too loud.

The service was awesome. Our waiting was very cool and a super nice guy. He brought me four samples that I didn't even ask for and was quick to get anything that my girlfriend or myself needed. For how busy it was, I thought it was impressively fast and friendly.

There is happy hour week days from 4 to 6:30 pm and every Thursday nights they have Cask Night. I thought that was pretty cool, sadly didn't come in on a Thursday. They had 10 beers on tap. Six of their normal beers, three seasonals and a tenth "brewers choice" tap (was an Oatmeal Stout). I had the Tower 10 and the Altbier (a seasonal), both were very good. Can get free samples of any other the beers at no cost.

The food was very good and a good variety to choose from. I had a burger and the girlfriend had some Mac and Cheese. Both were very good and very filling. You will not leave this place hungry that is for sure.

Half gallon and one gallon growlers were available for purchase as well as other swag (shirts, pints, etc). I went here on my birthday and got a free beer and pint glass. If you are in downtown SD or near any of the other Karl Strauss brewpubs/restaurants I suggest that you stop in and have a beer and grab a bite to eat. I will be back here the next time I'm in SD for sure.

 1,816 characters

Photo of SkiBumbo
4.53/5  rDev +15%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4.75

Photo of Beer_Trotter
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Photo of myelo
4.5/5  rDev +14.2%

Seems primarily a restaurant with good beer selection. Convenient to downtown. The food is better than a lot of brew pub places and atmosphere is upscale casual. Tried the chili, fish tacos, and the squid and ahi poke appetizers and they were all excellent. Service is very good and servers knew about the beer offering, which was about 10 beers on tap as well as some bottles. Also fill growlers. Tired the Belgian IPA, Octoberfest, Red Trolley ale and one other that I can't recall and they were all nice. Most main dishes were in the $15 range so figure $25-30 with a few beers.

 583 characters

Photo of KevBrews
4.45/5  rDev +12.9%
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.

 1,504 characters

Photo of clager
4.43/5  rDev +12.4%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.75 | service: 4.75 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.5

Photo of cggarcia
4.38/5  rDev +11.2%
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.

 665 characters

Photo of Siggy125
4.3/5  rDev +9.1%
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!

 886 characters

Photo of drummerdwzp
4.28/5  rDev +8.6%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 4

Bonnie was a great bartender

28 characters

Photo of sunny289
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%

Photo of jjboesen
4.25/5  rDev +7.9%
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.

 1,245 characters

Photo of exodus1369
4.22/5  rDev +7.1%
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.

 598 characters

Photo of Davepoolesque
4.15/5  rDev +5.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Decent atmosphere, friendly bar tender and flights of beer. Food looked good. Not the most amazing beer selection as they had only Karl Strauss offerings.

 156 characters

Photo of mdfb79
4.14/5  rDev +5.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4

Photo of chrisjws
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of Durge
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 855 characters

Photo of oggg
4.13/5  rDev +4.8%
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.

 1,692 characters

Photo of MikeyGCAP
4.1/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

A must visit if you are in Gas Lamp area.

41 characters

Photo of socon67
4.09/5  rDev +3.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4.25 | food: 4.25

Location in the downtown area. Always have a Brewer's Choice and a barrel aged tap option. Also saw they do a cask on Thursdays. Went with a flight that had the peanut butter cup porter and the Oktoberfest. Food was good (I recommend the west coast carbonara).

 264 characters

Photo of magictrokini
4.08/5  rDev +3.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4

Good place to grab a beer. Renovated warehouse next to the W Hotel. Food is upscale but edible. Better than standard bar fare. Like the Cuban sandwich. Beer selection is all Karl Strauss. Most of it is average, some awful, but once in a while you can find a diamond in the rough. Their IIPA is above-average, as is their barleywine. Problem is that these are not produced in large quantities. Kind of pricey and can be crowded on the weekends. Parking sucks, as in you can valet it for $15, park for $10, or take the trolley.

 525 characters

Photo of rousee
4.05/5  rDev +2.8%
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.

 1,153 characters

Photo of kingpin1010
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25

Photo of GarthDanielson
4.03/5  rDev +2.3%
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.

 842 characters

first ← prev | 1-25 | 26-50 | 51-75  | nextlast
Karl Strauss Brewing Company - Downtown San Diego in San Diego, CA
Place rating: 3.94 out of 5 with 58 ratings
  • About Us

    Founded in Boston in 1996, BeerAdvocate (BA) is your go-to resource for beer powered by an independent community of enthusiasts and professionals dedicated to supporting and promoting better beer.

    Learn More
  • Our Community

    Comprised of consumers and industry professionals, many of whom started as members of this site, our community is one of the oldest, largest, and most respected beer communities online.
  • Our Events

    Since 2003 we've hosted over 60 world-class beer festivals to bring awareness to independent brewers and educate attendees.
  • Our Magazine

    Support uncompromising beer advocacy and award-winning, independent journalism with a print subscription to BeerAdvocate magazine.