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 21st Anniversary Ale is deep auburn with faint ruby highlights. “When you sip this beer, you get a wine-like sweetness from the old vine Zin grapes with hints of blackberry, and toffee,” says Paul. The beer finishes at 10.2% ABV, but goes down with a smoothness more reminiscent of wine than strong ales.
“This is a great beer to enjoy after dinner with some friends,” says Paul. The peppery character and wine-like flavors also make it a great companion to grilled steaks, mushrooms, and tangy cheeses. The toffee flavors bring out the natural sweetness in caramelized meats while the earthy and peppery tannins of the Zinfandel grapes complement mushrooms and fresh herbs. The dried fruit character will contrast tangier cheeses like chevre and gorgonzola.
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.
10.2 % ABV
“Now that we are 21, our palate has matured like a fine wine. So we created something unique with old vine Zinfandel grape juice added during fermentation to give this brew a subtle vinous quality. Belgian yeast imparts hints of dried fruit in the nose, while a big dose of Vienna and Caramel malts yields a dry warming finish. Aged a month on American oak to take the edge off, this is one to share with friends.”
About Karl Strauss Brewing Company
This year Karl Strauss Brewing Company turns the big 2-1, the most important year in a beer drinker’s life. This coming of age will be celebrated throughout 2010 with a diverse lineup of 35 beers, including 6 year-round favorites, 3 seasonal offerings, and a host of innovative special brews. Located in San Diego and distributed exclusively in Southern California, Karl Strauss currently ranks #39 on the list of Top Craft Breweries in the country. In addition to handcrafting quality beers, Karl Strauss is a leader of the beer and culinary connection at their six local brewery restaurants. For more information visit karlstrauss.com or call the brewery at (858) 273-2739.