Pow­er­ful Tower not for the faint-hearted

Life & Style Weekend - - TASTE - with Si­mon Ir­win

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!

For more go to [email protected]­re­gional­me­dia.com.au.

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