Somehow, I have never sampled beers from Karl Strauss Brewing Co., and I must admit, I would not be doing so today were it not for @biergirl. For some reason, I have always associated Karl Strauss with mediocre beer, and as we all should know by now, drinking mediocre beer goes against Article V, Section 1 of The Confession. Well, I’m here today to let you know that I was wrong in my assessment. It’s not the greatest beer in the universe, but it’s nothing to be scoffed at, either. It’s a great example of what a rye beer can be when hopped to exquisite perfection, and I very much am enjoying it! Much thanks to @biergirl for suggesting Karl Strauss as a worthy brewery! Hit the jump for the rest.
Appearance: Wonderfully dark with a rich, creamy head that had some staying power with great lacing. 4
Aroma: Complex, hoppy in the nose with a solid bed of malt underlying it. Roasted malt throughout, but floral and citrus notes also present; a gift for an ale this dark. 4
Taste: Wow! Roasted malt, some coffee bitterness accentuated by a beautiful hoppy bitterness! I am far more impressed than I thought I’d be! Finish is a lasting bitterness, which is hard to place: roasted malt, hops, or combination of both? Fantastic. 4.5
Mouthfeel: Rich and smooth, the mouthfeel is precisely what I was hoping for. Hops cannot completely overpower the malt, and the result is something that, while eminently drinkable, is also quite rich and creamy. 4
Overall: This has been my first experience with Karl Strauss, and I must say, I am surprised. How I let something like this go under the radar for so long is beyond me. Malty sweetness battles west coast hoppiness in this epic battle. Who will win? I will…because it’s quite good! 4