Powerful Tower not for the faint-hearted
W HEN the Karl Strauss Brewing Company began in San Diego in California in 1989 it was the first new beer made in that city since prohibition.
San Diego is now one of the premier craft brewing destinations on the planet with more than 130-odd breweries, professional tours, and a Brewers’ Guild to coordinate the promotion of what has become a major industry for the region.
Interestingly, there is an Australian twist to the tale of craft brewing in San Diego, as it was on a trip to Australia that one of the founders of Karl Strauss Brewing, Chris Cramer, was so impressed by a brew pub he came across on his tour that he decided to give it a go in his home town back in the States.
Nowadays, Strauss is in the top 50 American breweries by volume, and turns out some genuinely lovely beers.
The regular reader may remember Hugh the Neighbour and me being suitably impressed with their Red Trolley Ale a couple of years ago.
This time around, we decided to give the Tower 10 IPA a go.
As with many craft beers, the name has a back-story – for it was at the number 10 Lifeguard Tower on Mission Beach in San Diego that Cramer and a friend from college, Matt Rattner, sat down and laid out the business plan for their craft brewing project.
Tower 10 is a worthy commemoration of those beginnings. It is the classically bitter and hoppy beer that we now associate with West Coast IPAs and pale ales, but it has an underlying maltiness.
It pours a golden orange in the glass with enough head to make it not look flat. On the nose you can pick up citrusy and slightly pine needle notes.
It comes in at 70 IBU on the bitterness scale so it does deliver a fair whack of hops, but somehow for HTN and me it did not seem as sharp as that would indicate.
Hugh reckoned it would be a perfect IPA to introduce lager drinkers to the delights of more complex drops.
At 7% alcohol content it is not for the faint-hearted, but it is worth giving a go for a special occasion.
My brother, who is not a great craft beer aficionado, was also there for the tasting and he said it was drinkable. High praise indeed from a man who will drink Crown Lager!
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