Liz Swain 4:24 p.m., May 24
Big Upgrades in the Works for Karl Strauss
Soon, fans of Karl Strauss Brewing Company will be able to get their brews straight from the source. San Diego’s eldest craft brewery is revamping its production brewery in Pacific Beach to be visitor-friendly.
They’re not just putting in some picnic tables or clearing out a miniscule space in a corner somewhere. This is a massive construction project that will create a wealth of options for those interested in experiencing Karl Strauss from tun to tank to tap.
The company hired Public Architecture to help develop a design motif that incorporates brewery elements—stainless steel, reclaimed materials, glass, wooden barrels and palettes.
Elements of the project include installation of a tasting bar, outdoor beer garden and reconfiguration of existing space to facilitate brewery tours. Regular tours will be a first for the company. Up until now, they’ve only invited people into their PB brewhouse during their annual Beach to Brewery and Changing of the Barrels events.
Once construction is complete, visitors will be ushered inside and up an elevator shaft to a second story space where they can sample beers before heading out to a pair of platforms jutting out over the brewery (one platform is by the brewhouse, the other by the fermenters).
Post-tour, they’ll exit out to the beer garden, which will be outfitted with plenty of seating for downing beer around a fire pit or taking in a game of bocce ball from the newly installed court.
The beer garden also features a “pallet room” made completely of pallets tied together and reinforced with wires and strung lights, which can be rented out for private parties.
From there, it’s on to the tasting room where a 20-tap horseshoe bar, a “growler room” featuring walls made out of amber glass growlers, and a “barrel room” featuring a long communal table.
The latter is a space where Karl Strauss will store barrels filled with an assortment of aging beers that will feature a movable wall to transform it into another space for private parties.
The tasting room will be designed to have a “brewery vibe” with industrial elements, custom art and a “Karl wall” that tells the life history of the company’s original brewer (owner Chris Cramer’s cousin, who, before coming to San Diego, was the brewmaster at Pabst Brewing Company).
Beer will be available to-go in kegs, six packs and 22-ounce bombers, but it’s not all about the brews. There’ll be food options available from an on-site prep kitchen and an outdoor pizza oven.
The expanded parking lot will also feature a permanent space for food trucks, and catering will be available for private events via Karl Strauss’ brewery restaurant in La Jolla.
Additionally, the company hopes to partner with artisanal food purveyors to supply picnic-type items such as cheese, chocolates and breads.
The entire project is projected to be completed in late summer or early autumn. Before being converted to a brewery in 1986, Karl Strauss’ brewery was a greenhouse.
From plant nursery to a craft beer destination at which to nurse many a hand-crafted beer. Uncle Karl would be proud.
Karl Strauss’ production facility is located at 5985 Santa Fe Street.