San Diego based Karl Strauss Brewing Company came to fruition after one of their co-founders, Chris Cramer, was inspired by a pub that he'd visited whilst travelling through this beautiful Antipodean country that I now call home. You can read all about the birth of the brewery and its early years here - well worth a read. A true success story if ever there was one.
I'd stumbled upon a Karl Strauss beer called Red Trolley Ale back in May of this year. It was labelled as a 'red ale'. Previous purchases of beers calling themselves red ales hadn't really set my heart quivering although Ranga Premium Red Ale by Ranga Brewing Co wasn't too bad. Tempted by the impressiveness of other US imports this year, I couldn't help myself and picked up a 6pack. It was good although it didn't make me dash back to the shop to buy more but it did enough to plant the Karl Strauss seed in my mind...
I'm riding an IPA wave at the moment and at the first sight of a Karl Strauss IPA, I immediately grabbed some and they went straight into my shopping basket. Just in case you are picturing the scene, I should confess that I was not wandering around the shops with a little wicker basket ala Little Red Riding Hood.
A classy, hoppy offering this one. Not overpowering like some IPA's can be and nowhere near off-putting either. At 7% abv, this is very easy to drink - there is no full-on alcohol kick.
I particularly enjoyed the light citrussy air to it. The Chinook hops are the reason behind the noticeable grapefruit tones. However, this drop is by no means a fruity number that many beer drinkers like to avoid. It contains minimal fruity characters.
The other noticeable element is the use of caramel malts. The malty after-taste lingers long.
It pours a delightful golden/amber colour with a solid head (see photo above - click for larger view). Carbonation is medium.
I had absolutely no hesitation in opening a second soon after the first. Go get some. No rush. Just make sure you try it some time.