San Diego's Karl Strauss Brewing Company has opened a brewhouse in downtown Los Angeles. This is the 10th brewpub for the company, which was awarded the Mid-Size Brewing Company of the Year honors at the Great American Beer Festival in October.
The 12,000-square-foot downtown L.A. space features an on-site 7-barrel brewhouse that shares a head brewer with the newly-opened Anaheim brewpub. In addition to the 35 experimental "small batch" beers brewed on-site throughout the year, the house-made offerings are supplemented with a long list of Karl Strauss beers brewed at the San Diego production facility. Favorites such as Mosaic Session Ale, the seasonal Peanut Butter Cup Porter and the venerable Red Trolley Ale are available in 4-ounce tasters, 9-ounce half-pints, and full 16-ounce pours.
The menu is extensive and covers ground from bar snacks (duck fat pretzel balls) to Prime cut steaks, alongside a dozen burgers and sandwiches, entree-sized salads, and many dishes that feature the house beers in the preparation (carnitas brined in Mosaic Session Ale shows up in a few dishes). Pairing beer with your food is a focus, and Karl Strauss makes it easy with on-menu suggested pairings and a staff trained to offer suggestions for beers to match with your order. The staff actually takes the pairing recommendations a step further and will deliver a small taste of a brew that they think will pair with whatever food you order, and their suggestions are often spot-on.
On the corner of Grand Avenue and Wilshire Boulevard, the main entrance first leads into a bar zone with televisions and 24 taps of Karl Strauss beers. There's a main dining and also a separate dining room concealed behind a roll-up door that opens into the main restaurant for private parties or special events. The brewhouse is tucked into the back corner behind a glass wall and is surrounded by windows. It's visible from the sidewalk along Grand Avenue. There's Karl Strauss merchandise and beer to-go available in six packs, large-format bottles, and 2-liter growlers filled on-demand.
Karl Strauss isn't the first major craft beer operator to move into Los Angeles (most recently, Ballast Point opened a Long Beach brewpub in July), and it won't be the last. San Diego's Modern Times Brewery is also planning a satellite tasting room in downtown L.A., and the next Mikkeller Bar location is slated to open on Olympic Boulevard in early 2017.
600 Wilshire Blvd., Ste 100, Los Angeles, (213) 228-2739, www.karlstrauss.com.