Entertainment & Events

Karl Strauss Beach to Brewery 2011: Celebrating 22 years with 22 beers

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Golden brown brews poured from seemingly unlimited supplies, yellow beach balls hopped over hundreds of people, and reggae beats burst from the stage at the Karl Strauss’ main brewery in Pacific Beach this past Saturday. The 8th Annual Beach to Brewery Beer & Music Fest welcomed San Diego locals and visitors alike in celebration by tapping into twenty-two beers to celebrate their twenty-two years of existence.

Upon entering, guests received a commemorative glass and a wristband which allowed them five tasters of the 22 brews on-site consisting of hefeweizens, IPAs, and ales. Since Karl Strauss has never let me down with their variety of delicious beers,  I was very excited to try the much talked about special 22nd Anniversary Vanilla Imperial Stout and I was not let down. Aged for three months in American oak bourbon barrels, this multi-layered complex brew is not for the light-hearted. With a slightly sweet aroma and resembled a fine cup of a dark Colombian roast (80 RSM), this Imperial stout contains a flavor just as robust (50 IBU). And considering it’s 9% alcohol by volume, I could already feel the effects after downing just half a pint.

Attendees could also walk through the beer-making process with complimentary tours through the Karl Strauss brewery led by the brewers themselves. The tour showed where the grain is received then worked through a series of what looks like gigantic  tanks and eventually stored into kegs or barrels to age. We also got to take a peek at what will be next year’s special Old Ale already packed inside their bourbon barrels and it already sounds like it will blow this year’s Imperial Stout out of the water. Finally, guests were taken to what I can only describe as “beer heaven,”  a giant refrigerated room stacked wall-to-wall and piled high with various kegs just waiting to be tapped.

In addition to the the tastes of barleywine, ale, and such was also a full line-up of live performances by local bands. Little Deadman and Cuckoo Chaos gave wonderful performances as the venue steadily filled-up with people shuttling or biking over. However, the country/blues boys of Blackout Party were lucky enough to have the the audience at prime capacity with a just the right amount of booze consumed. The show closed out with Stranger as their soulful beats and the calming timbre of lead singer David Ornelas’ voice compelled the lush audience into a collective reggae sway.

With the entrance fee being only $25 (or $30 at the door), this year’s Beach to Brewery Beer & Music Fest was a steal. Additional taster tickets were only $10 while full pours of the 22 brews as well as bites such as fish tacos or pizza were available for $5. The event was overall affordable and very much worthwhile, especially since the proceeds go to support of the local San Diego Surfrider Foundation. Several hours of great music, good food, and delicious beer surrounded by fellow enthusiasts made for a great Saturday afternoon. With that Old Ale aging in the barrels, next year’s festivities can’t come soon enough.

More photos from the 8th Annual Beach to Brewery Beer & Music Fest below:

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