Karl Strauss – PorchDrinking.com
You know the scene in Pee-Wee’s Big Adventure where he’s saving pets from the burning pet store, and he keeps passing over the snakes because they gross him out? Eventually he bites the bullet, grabs the snakes and runs out screaming. Sometimes that’s how I feel about the Sours in my cellar. I know I’m going to drink them all eventually, but aren’t there any Barrel-Aged Stouts I can rescue first?
That’s probably a little dramatic. Just like with Sours, some snakes are pretty cool. I used to have an empty field by my house where we’d go and collect garter snakes to take to school and put them in teachers’ desks. That’s not really relevant other than now you know I was kind of a dick as a kid. I’m sure I’ve outgrown that through the years. Anyway, to push myself out of my cozy, hoppy, comfort zone, several times a year I like to sit down and get personal with a bottle of funky tartness. This month’s offering to the Sour Gods is Karl Strauss‘ fan-favorite Queen of Tarts.
Once in a while, some news story comes out talking about how the Northern Lights are visible from not-too-far away. This excites us sky geeks. For most of us in the U.S., unfortunately, the caveats are extreme (e.g. hiking three miles into un-mapped forest in the hopes that the sky is clear enough during the five-minute window when the Aurora Borealis can actually be seen). Finding a good location that’s dim enough to see this spectacle of nature is a challenge if you live in the lower 48.
On the other hand, if you live in a hot craft beer city like San Diego, it’s real easy to find quality beer. So save the skywatching for your bucket list vacation to Iceland, or if you have to lay low for a while and need to move to Alaska. We’re not here to judge; what you do in the privacy of your own back-alley gambling hall is your own business. Beer though…that’s our business. And business is booming, dammit.
It’s not often two giants in the beer industry get together to collaborate on a singularly fantastic beer, but that is exactly what Karl Strauss and Russian River Brewing did to make what they call the New California IPA. This beer has a piney and resinous front with hints of dank greens in the back. It has firm but not overwhelming bitterness and a palate cleansing kind of clean on the tongue. The IPA is complete with faint raspberries and rhubarb as it warms for a refreshing summer crispness. After talking with Matt Johnson, Brewmaster of Brewery Operations at Karl Strauss, and Vinnie Cilurzo, Co-Owner and Head Brewer at Russian River, I was able to get some insight into this wondrous amalgamation of talent and hops!
In the late 60’s and early 70’s, the music of the West Coast had a distinct sound. This sound was ringing down from Laurel Canyon in the Hollywood Hills. This music was complex and challenging, bringing the flavors of folk, bluegrass, country, funk, Latin, rock and roll, and the blues and blended them all together into something big. This stuff was smooth, it was easy to listen to, but it still had some soul and some groove. The era of Yacht Rock was here.