San Diego Serenade

Karl Strauss redefines “Shitty Beer”

Posted in Uncategorized by Conor on the August 9th, 2007

Karl Strauss Logo

What is it about the new beer from Karl Strauss, the “Hot Karl Double IPA” that offends my sensibilities more? The fact that they’re trying to capitalize on all the national attention being given lately to the San Diego IPA style of beer, or the fact that they decided to name the beer after a sex act that wikipedia defines as: “a sexual act in which one partner defecates directly onto the face of their partner, sometimes with the mouth open.”

You know what? I’ve decided what offends my sensibilities more: Karl Strauss naming their beer after a sex act where people shit on each others faces. Just imagining the mental giants that have snickered about that joke for the past five years and finally got corporate approval to slap it on kegs of beer.

“Get it Gary? People will say ‘I’d like a Hot Karl!”
“I don’t get it.”
“I hate you Gary.”

The best part of the whole story is is that they waited until Karl Strauss died, (back in December), and then trotted out the Shit-on-face beer with his name on it! They didn’t even have the balls to go through with the joke while the man was alive!

I saw Karl Strauss once during my time in San Diego. He took the stage before the Sex Pistols played at Street Scene in 2003. He was a bent over, frail old man, who I’m quite sure wasn’t aware of the reputation of the band he was introducing. It sort of put in perspective the entire organization: get a respected guy, slap his name on your product, serve the beer at the Street Scene, Del Mar and the airport and through sheer force of marketing and will, gain the reputation as a local San Diego “tradition.” If you have to trot the guy out in front of the Sex Pistols, or use his name for a frat boy joke every now and then, whatever. He’s old and dead. Cut his estate another check.

I can fortunately think of dozen of other IPAs, Double IPAs and other San Diego beers from breweries that are smaller, tastier and more deserving of our business than Karl “Think of people shitting into each others mouth when you drink our beer” Strauss.

Source: Liars Club Newsletter, 8/9/7 - “Draft beers coming soon: Racer 5, and unbeknownst to Speed – his brother Racer X, something really cool from Jeff Bagby, Unibroue Maudite Strong Red Ale, Karl Strauss Hot Karl Double IPA, Sierra Nevada Anniversary Ale, Coronado Hoppy Friar Belgian-style IPA, Toronado 20th Anniversary Ale, Avery Piglet Purgatory, Cucapa Pale Ale, He’brew Origin Pomegranate Ale, TJ Bufadora Bock (soon), and (eventually) Russian River Procrastination.

3 Responses to 'Karl Strauss redefines “Shitty Beer”'

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  1. Worthog said,

    on August 29th, 2007 at 9:43 am

    Conor - first of all you’re wrong. The name of the beer is Karl Strauss Double IPA. I had it at Hamilton’s and it’s damn good. Maybe the Liar’s Club newsletter was trying to say it’s “hot” as in new. Maybe you shouldn’t take everything you read so literally. I don’t know why you’re “offended” about them brewing a San Diego style beer. They are a San Diego brewery. Seems to make sense to me. Why don’t you go try the beer and write something intelligent about it instead of going on a rant when you don’t even have your facts straight - not to mention you seem to know way too much about a “hot carl.” Are you speaking from experience, buddy?

    As someone who loves good beer, I don’t care who brews it or why. I just want to try good beers. You obviously have some personal hang up with Karl Strauss. Sucks that you’re so narrow minded that you’re missing out on trying some new things. You need to let it go and grow up.

  2. Conor said,

    on August 29th, 2007 at 9:39 pm

    To address your concerns, first most, all it takes to be familiar with the term Hot Carl is to be a viewer of South Park. But I appreciate your insinuation. Nothing instantly reduces the validity of an argument better than making claims about the sexuality of the person you’re arguing with.

    Secondly, if you’re drinking at Hamilton’s, I’m surprised you would leap to the defense of Karl Strauss. Karl Strauss is known for producing mediocre beers whose goal is widespread drinkability rather than experimentation and inventiveness. Tom Nickel, the proprietor of O’Briens even seemed to be offering an apology when he announced that they would carry the beer: “And there are lots of great new beers on tap at the pub. We have tapped a keg of the new Karl Strauss Double IPA - you read that right, Karl Strauss is on tap at O’Brien’s. ” (I find it tough to believe that the Liars Club just made the name of the beer up. It certainly wasn’t their attempt to indicate that this was a HOT NEW BEER!!!)

    For information about their self stated goal of mediocrity, please see the UT’s appreciation column from after Strauss passed:

    “The microbrew movement was started by the home-brewer,” he once told The San Diego Union-Tribune. “But the home-brewer likes hops. He will use more hops and more hops and more hops. The neighbors don’t like their beer. But they do.”

    His goal, he noted, was “not to make a bland beer – but not one so distinctive that only 5 percent of the people drink it.”

    The beers that I enjoy drinking at the Liars Club, Hamiltons and O’Briens are all hoppy beers in the San Diego IPA style, a style that has begun to attract a great deal of attention nationwide. I don’t think it is a coincidence that Karl Strauss would decide to reverse its anti-hop stance right around the time the SD IPA style has gotten writeups in San Diego magazine and Beer Advocate.

    Your statement that “as someone who loves good beer, i don’t care who brews it or why” seems about as ignorant a contradiction in terms as you can get. A lover of good beer should care quite a bit about how his beer is brewed. It’s the only natural reaction to liking a beer to want to find out more about where it came from. San Diego has many great small breweries that pride themselves on producing some of the nations finest beer. The fact that they make beers that only 5% of the population might like shows that they make beer for reasons other than the bottom line: they do it for the love and the craft. I’ve gotten to meet the brewers of Stone, Coronado Brewing Company and Ballast Point, all of whom care deeply about what they do. Karl Strauss has never demonstrated that they want to do anything other than make a a beer to be consumed by the masses. I consider them no more a “San Diego” brewery than I would consider Budweiser to be representative of St. Louis. When they attempt to associate themselves with the fine craft brewers of San Diego, I find it insulting. When they name their beer with a frat boy name, which obviously they’ve thought better of, it’s even worse.

    The beer may be good, but I’d rather support the people who helped put the style on the map, not those who jumped on board after the hard work had been done.


  3. Jon said,

    on September 2nd, 2009 at 4:49 am

    I don’t live in San Diego and have not tried this beer and the only reason I came upon this was due to this blogs music content over the years. However, I felt compelled to write since I am a beer lover and home brewer with aspirations in the very near future of opening my own craft brewpub. I agree fully with Conor about the contradiction of love of beer and carelessness of who brews it. As a craft brewer we rely on the “fringe drinkers” the true beer lovers that want taste, bod and flavor rather than something cheap and mass produced. Our stories and our processes are- and consumers caring about them are an essential part of our success. As a beer lover, I want to try almost everything but I gravitate back to a beer because of quality but also because of a connection with the person and people that are taking risks and doing something the love. Might be a bit of a ramble but I think you know what I mean. If I ever come across a “tasteless joke” IPA I will try it, only because of reading this post. Cheers.

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