Karl Strauss Turns 21

Karl Strauss Brewing Company is turning the big 2-1 and celebrating with an innovative beer to showcase its maturing palate.  When the company first opened its doors in 1989, craft beers were the exception, not the norm.  Today, tastes have evolved and beer enthusiasts now seek out bold and inventive brews.  Karl Strauss has answered the call with its 21st Anniversary Ale—a Belgian strong ale brewed with the juice from old vine Zinfandel grapes for a distinctive wine-like complexity.

“Last year we were busy with a brewery expansion and getting our new bottling line up and running.  Now that we’ve got all the hard stuff behind us, we’re ready to have some fun!” says Paul Segura, Karl Strauss Brewmaster.  “We wanted to brew something you really don’t see—a blend of wine and beer.” 

The 21st Anniversary Ale begins with a strong ale base, loaded with pale two-row, a touch of caramel malts, and enough Vienna malts to support the high alcohol content.  The beer was then fermented with the juice from Californian old vine Zinfandel grapes—known for their intense peppery and deep berry flavors.  A combination of Chico and Belgian yeast were used to create a muted Belgian character, enhancing the spicy and peppery notes from the old vine Zin grapes.  “We wanted to age the beer, but kept the aging to a minimum because we didn’t want the oak to overpower the subtleties of the grapes.  We chose American oak known for its deep graham cracker and caramel notes,” says Paul.  Finally, a dose of champagne yeast was added to make the beer very effervescent, helping to accentuate the wine-like flavors.  The beer finishes at 10.2% ABV, but goes down with a smoothness more reminiscent of wine than strong ales.

The 21st Anniversary Ale is available on tap at select beer bars across Southern California and in 22oz bottles throughout Southern California.  For more information and a video about making the 21st Anniversary Ale, visit www.karlstrauss.com.