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Karl Strauss Brewing Company

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Karl Strauss Brewing CompanyKarl Strauss Brewing Company
35 Ratings
Karl Strauss Brewing CompanyKarl Strauss Brewing Company

Type: Brewery, Bar, Eatery

901A South Coast Dr
Costa Mesa, California, 92626
United States

(714) 546-2739 | map

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Added by xlperro

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Ratings: 32 |  Reviews: 17
Photo of TNeedles
2/5  rDev -48.6%

Photo of Rollzroyce21
3/5  rDev -22.9%

Photo of PhillyStyle
3.35/5  rDev -13.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.25

Visited June 2015:

I can't really add much more color than the previous review. He nailed the look of the place. We sat outside and watched an NBA game, so we may not have gotten the full vibe of the place. I tried two beers while there: Windansea Wheat, which was really good, maybe one of the best American-made Hefe's that I have had; and the Red Trolley Ale, a red ale that was really not worth what I paid for it. The food was a step up from your typical pub grub, but I would probably not go back from the food...just to try other beers. The service was forgettable and our waitress took forever to bring the check...and she knew nothing about the beer that the place was serving. The place did have growlers...so it has that going for it. As I said, I would go back to try the other beers, but there is better food in the area.

 843 characters

Photo of jeff1973
3.5/5  rDev -10%

Photo of Gobzilla
3.58/5  rDev -8%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.25 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4

Photo of flexabull
3.63/5  rDev -6.7%
vibe: 3.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.25

Got off the plane at John Wayne, wanted a beer and grub, this was the closest place I saw so we checked it out.

Vibe... well... trying really hard to be SoCal but kind failing in my mind. Had a valet parking out front that seemed like a total joke. We pulled in, saw it, and drove about a hundred yards away and parked in the garage instead. The place itself felt like a chain brewery, with the only plus being a nice outdoor seating area.

Quality was good. Karl Strauss sometime gets a bad rap, but I've found them to be better than a lot of big breweries, and the Māori beer I had was pretty tasty.

Service was OK. The girl that served us was pleasant, but not all that fast, and messed up our order. But still, it was pretty good service overall, because she actually corrected her error quickly.

Selection was basic. Pretty much the standard lineup, two seasonals, and about 10 beers in total.

Food was a pleasant surprise. We all commented about how good our meals were.

Overall? Not bad, worth a stop if in the area and craving food and a decent beer.

 1,064 characters

Photo of HippieDave56
3.64/5  rDev -6.4%

Photo of g_jenkins
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of DotBier
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of 2beerdogs
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%
vibe: 3.75 | quality: 3.75 | service: 3.75 | selection: 3.75 | food: 3.75

Photo of acurtis
3.75/5  rDev -3.6%

Photo of FosterJM
3.8/5  rDev -2.3%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 4.5

Came to this KS for a friends 40th on April, 21st, 2012

Atm- A nice well designed well lit place. Lots of seating to accomodate large/small parties. In the corner is the smallish brewing room with glass windows for people to see. Also the bar is very large with ample TV viewing. More dark woods and industrial feel. TV's outside on the patio as well.

Quality- A pretty good overall effort on their beers. Most are brewed to accomadate the masses with lighter flavors and some base ingredients.

Service- Our server was nice enough but a little slow in his britches, took a good 5 plus minutes to get a beer and the bar was not that crowded. I ordered the Flanders and he actually asked if I knew what I was ordering. So nice to see someone keep a customer in mind.

Selection- Besides the flanders nothing really exciting on tap. Had the boardwalk Rye and their new Pintale pale, but the others were all super light or non flavor offerings. Ran out of the Wreck alley stout earlier.

Food- The party we attending was full of all the appetizers on the menu. Really flavorful and well presented. Next time I might just order them all again and call it a night.

Value- With the party being above 8 people tip was included. With that being said 3 beers and 1 snifter(23rd Anny Old Ale glass) total was $25. Not bad.

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Photo of BeerOps
3.89/5  rDev 0%
vibe: 4 | quality: 3.75 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75 | food: 4.25

Photo of PhiloPsych
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 3 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 4

The Costa Mesa Karl Strauss is located across the street from South Coast Plaza, so it is in a shopping area with a lot of glitz and with a pretty snooty clientelle. The atmosphere in the restaurant is a nice break from that. The people and attitude were down to earth and casual. I ordered a six beer sampler and the "taster" size beers were much bigger than any samplers I have had anywhere else. I didn't ask, but I bet they were six ounces or more; those at most other places are 3 or 4 ounces. It was nice to be able to choose six beers as well rather than getting a standard set of six. (At other breweries I've paid about $5 for six three ouncers, here it was about $9 for six six ouncers, which is a better deal.) I had the Windansea Hefeweizen, the Amber Lager, the Trolley Red, The DAD Brown, the Barleywine, and the Oatmeal Stout. I usually like Hefeweizen, but didn't like this one. It was stonger than most, both in flavor and alcohol. The Amber was better but not great. The Red was better than the Amber, but still not great. The Barleywine was strong and sharp, but not as good as the last barleywine I had (at Pizza Port in Carlsbad).

The bartender was great (and his assistant bartender was beautiful!). There was some kind of keg tapping party going on when I got there. Apparently they made a special dry hopped keg of their IPA where they put a bunch of hops directly into the keg. The bartender brought me a taster of this creation for free (and re-filled it later--for free again). I don't usually like IPAs all that much, but this was very flavorful, very, very hoppy, darker than most IPAs and probably the best, most interesting beer I had all night. With the two extra tasters I wasn't even able to finish my brown ale and my oatmeal stout. Neither of them was fantastic, though, so I didn't mind.

I had the BBQ pork sandwich and liked it a lot. I have to say I was a bit disappointed in the beers. Several of them had a kind of dirty aftertaste that I didn't like. I'll try it again in a year or so and see how I like it then.

 2,060 characters

Photo of rowew
3.9/5  rDev +0.3%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 3.5

Located in an outdoor mall area, so it can be a bit hectic finding parking, etc. Modern decor with a nice large patio area. Bartenders were very friendly and attentive. Decent happy hour specials, but the sampler was a bit pricey. All of the beers were quite tasty - even the golden had a bit of hop flavor to it. All in all a decent spot to grab a beer. The food menu looked outstanding, but we didn't actually try it. If you are dragged to the shopping area, you definitely should stop by. Modern feel is a bit stand-offish, but the quality of the beer and the friendly staff make up for this.

 595 characters

Photo of npslaugh
3.93/5  rDev +1%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 2.5

Well I went to Karl Strauss brewpub after finding it listed in the Beer Advocate directory. Overall I liked it, but there were a few things about it that I disliked.

The good: food is decent in quality, good selection on the menu. Beer: As mentioned by others, the sampler is not only a great sample of the beers available but it is also cost effective ($6.95 for it all). You get 6 3-4 oz pours (you really don't want more than 24 oz of beer at once) which includes 5 standard brews and one seasonal. Each beer had its ups and downs, and I've certainly had better beers, but I will say the IPA was good and the Pilsner was easy to drink. The amber was horrible (tasted like water), but they have a darker higher alcohol amber made with more caramel malt that was tasty.

The bad: A beer is $5.50. $5.50! That's a lot, and that doesn't include tax and gratuity. A typical beer should cost $4.25, taking into account the recent spike in beer prices. My Pastrami sandwich was $12.95! For a sandwich! And it didn't even have veggies on it. But hey I guess you get what you pay for at a brewpub... you gotta pay up if you want good beer and good atmosphere.

 1,155 characters

Photo of Halcyondays
3.95/5  rDev +1.5%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4.5 | selection: 3.5 | food: 3.5

Visited the Karl Strauss locale in Costa Mesa on 8/7/08 at about 4:50 during their monthly cask night. Located just northeast of the Fairview exit off the 405, it is very easy to find off South Coast drive. Parking is free, parked in the lot, much like an exagerrated strip mall. Had 2 pints of the Stargazer IPA on cask and a pint of the Black Lager on-tap, both solid brewpub offerings. For food I had the calamari, tasty, but nothing to blow your mind, just a good appetizer. Service was great, the bartender was attentive, engaging and on the ball with my order. 3 pints, 2 on cask and food only cost me $20, granted it was during happy hour, but it was a great deal. Will definitely go back to this locale.

 711 characters

Photo of AlexM
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of ejimhof
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of aoampm
4/5  rDev +2.8%

Photo of SwillinBrew
4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I went to dinner here the other day and thought i'd do a review since i forgot how much i do like this place. Some folks dont care for Karl Straus because it's too corporate per se, but this place good.

When you walk in the bar area is right in front greeting you like a big horseshoe with dining areas to both sides. The bar always seems to be busy with a good vibe and always seems to be pretty gals around. I certainly dont mind. The waitresses are nice and actually somewhat knowledgeable of the brew. The beer selection is that they have about one of every style. Everytime i've been here they always have one of their brewers selection on tap, whether it be the barelywine, special stout or whatever and that's what i drink. I havent been let down yet... maybe i'd better review the brew next time. The food is good and the portions are adequate with the price not being cheap but reasonable. Good place to have a pint before you go see a movie next door... or bring a date here. She'll like it and you can have a good brew.

 1,033 characters

Photo of slander
4/5  rDev +2.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4

Took the rental out again ‘cause I could and should. Not really sure where I’ve gotten off to; could be Irvine, wait, I think it’s Costa Mesa, yes, it is. And found it stand alone off the corner of points mall shortly after opening; the valet thing kind of threw me off, as did the overly enthusiastic smiling upbeat happy girl on greeting, and the server of the same right behind her. Too chipper, too early, for my east coast cynical sensibilities, so please knock it off…

Beige walls & ceilings save that rose colored section over the bar. Panel wood floorings with tilings around the bar, slab beyond, and even some carpeted areas. Flatscreens everywhere, drop single spots & recessed others, an expansive snowflake looking piece over the bar, and growlers & six packs displayed about. Bar is a marble topped horseshoe with black strips along the way, cool & colorful, and a slate tiling base and a foot rail for where feet go. Seating for 2 dozen+ on leather stools, I survey the surroundings from there. The ends of the bar meet at a wall thru piece. Slight pieces shelved to both sides; 22’s, jarred things, and ‘Karl’ growlers above, with flatscreens & stemware dangling the undersides. Openish kitchen behind the back there to the rear.

2 double table booths behind me on the near wall; the sills lined with growlers and cool mosaic tilings above. Front corner room forward there holding booths on 3 walls and tables down the center, a dozen mix & match in all. Wood paneled walls, blinded windows with prints in between, and drop martini glass lamps. There’s a smallish party room off it with a bunch of suits doing a ‘lunch meeting’. I can see the ‘operations’ slide up on the big screen; operating a sampler, me thinks, and are you hiring? Loooong bar counter table on the other side of the bar seating a dozen or more, and another pair of double table booths beyond. Seating area behind that sectioned holding 6 booths, 3 shortys, and 3 party sized tables. A row of 4 hightops up front adjacent to the front corner brewroom behind glass, and an outside seating space runs the length of the place, holding just shy of 3 dozen tables.

Tower of 10 taps on the bend, another on the other end, and a handpump mid way, pouring nothing today (‘cause they only do cask night Thursdays, and that ain’t today). I got tasters of a few things, did a sampler of 4 of my choice, and then did another sampler of 4 to get at a few others, not that I have to explain shit to you. 10 beers on tap (Endless Summer Light, crisp & easy drinking; Woodie Gold, Noble & Saaz, spritzy, crisp, not bad, but I was hoping for a better Pils; Windansea Wheat, good cloveyness, a solid Hefe; Karl Strauss Amber, crisp, Cascade hop, toasty malt; Red Trolley Ale, a deeper red, caramel, but somewhat misses the malt for an Irish Red; Pintail Pale Ale, Cascade & Motueka from new Zealand, not too shabby; Flan-Diddly-Anders Red, um, it’s something sour, meh; Tower 10 IPA, 7%, Chinook & Cascade, pleasant; Off The Rails, 7.5%, a Double Trolley strong ale, way too boozy for me; Boardwalk Black Rye, 7%, oh fuck yeah, roasty, black IPAness, very nice). Endless Summer Light, Windansea Wheat (Hefe), Tower 10 IPA, & Boardwalk Black Rye were the best of the lot. They’ve also got the Wreck Alley Imperial Stout in 22’s only (9.5%).

Fooded with something called Piri Piri wings; done in a west African piri piri chili sauce (oh, so that’s why there’s heat), over arugula (it’s a veg-e-ta-ble), and shaved fennel (one of earth’s greatest resources). They, boneless, arrived as a mountain, stacked, which I promptly took down. It was a good easy bite and enough that I didn’t need to explore the Ahi Poke.

Server guy was helpful, knew his game, had his likes. A couple of good beers and the food was on. Comfortable enough on a I have no idea what today is, somethingday, maybe, and tunes, tunes, tunes. Cool place in a chain of events.

 3,958 characters

Photo of cdkrenz
4.05/5  rDev +4.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5

Location is in a bit of an akward spot but I got there. Walking in opens you up to the bar area, which was completely packed on this Thursday night with the exception of one stool off to my right. There were three bartenders working this Cask Night. They were friendly and entertaining in their speeding around behind the tighly fit bar. The food was good but a bit on the pricey side. I had an appetizer that was being featured that month. I think it was around $10, which overall was one of the cheaper food items on the menu. The beers I enjoyed were a Black IPA poured from cask. The other was a Belgian Brown Ale. Both were certainly worth drinking. The selections were adequate and the styles didn't overlap one another. Next time I'm back in Southern CaliforniaI'll do my best to get back to the Karl Strauss Brewery Restaurant.

 835 characters

Photo of gabeerfan
4.18/5  rDev +7.5%
vibe: 3 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4

I used to be semi-regular at the KS in downtown San Diego when we lived in that area, but would visit this one when splitting the distance between SD and the in-laws in Ventura Co.
Somewhat typical sports-bar/suburban restaurant feel. Lots of booths, tables and outdoor seating. We sat at the U-shaped bar to get tastings and a snack.
The standard taster is their 6 year-round beers and more can be added on request. Our gracious bartender even gave us a bonus tasting when we asked for the other more specialty beers and didn't charge us for any of the extra tastings we asked for and gave good flavor descriptions of the beers.
The selection is good with 6 beers (Amber Lager, Red Trolley, Hefe, Tower 10 IPA, etc) on all the time with 3-4 specialty/seasonals available most of the time.
We had the Firecracker boneless chicken wings for our snack. They were good and a decent value. Fairly typical bar type food with burgers, sandwiches, salads and pastas. All good and seemingly fresh, if a bit "corporate kitchen."
Karl Strauss doesn't get a lot of respect outside of SoCal, but their beers are very solid and to style. Definitely recommended either this location or any that you come across.

 1,197 characters

Photo of Opie1knoche
4.25/5  rDev +9.3%

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Karl Strauss Brewing Company in Costa Mesa, CA
Brewery rating: 3.59 out of 5 with 35 ratings
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