In 1989, Karl Strauss shared a passion for beer that changed brewing in San Diego. He believed that behind every beer worth drinking was an inspiration and behind every pint was a story waiting to be told. Karl spent his life making beer, but more importantly, Karl spent his life telling stories. His beers were his stories and through his generous wisdom, he taught us how to brew our own. Karl inspired a new generation of brewers, and today San Diego is America's finest city for craft beer.
If this isn't the best beer you ever tasted, my name isn't Karl Strauss.
No matter where I go, people recognize me by my accent. Whenever I open my mouth, I'm in trouble.
Just surprisingly funny in many, many, different ways.
Karl was actually a very German congenial, charismatic gentleman.
In his lifetime Karl Strauss brewed more than seven billion beers.
I do remember his very distinct voice, beckoning me to drink.
He'd always say the proof is in the glass.
We brewed top notch beer. I mean I'm convinced of that.
He was always about sharing, sharing the beer.
You'll agree it's the best beer you've ever tasted or my name isn't Karl Strauss.
We're coming up this October on the one hundredth anniversary of Karl's birth.
I was born in the middle of a brewery and most of my life I've lived in the brewery.
You know, you think about a young man growing up in Linden, Germany in Feldschlosschen Brewery, where his father was the president. He believed in old world principles of hard work and ethical behavior.
And then from there I went to college in Munich and studied brewing.
And it was the Kramer family that sponsored Karl and his sister to get out of Germany back in 1939, and if you know your history 1939 was a great time to get out of Germany. After the Holocaust, we were the closest relatives that Karl had.
I was visiting friends of the family in Milwaukee on my way to San Francisco when I was offered a job by Pabst.
He started in the cellars and he worked his way up, and became over time the vice president in charge of all production. In the last 25 years of which he was responsible for every drop of beer that Pabst Brewing Company made, running five major breweries across the United States, with peak production at more than 17 million barrels of beer a year.
As it turned out I spent 44 years with Pabst. I felt quite at home.
And he retired in the 80's and then began a second career consulting on this microbrewery revolution that was starting up, and he helped a lot of great breweries get off the ground, and start making great craft beer.
He went back to his roots, and his focus was great beer here in America, and I think that's part of Karl's legacy. Across America, people drink better beer because Karl Strauss lived.
San Diego had nothing like it. That's why building a brewery here had to be considered a big gamble. But a couple of guys just out of school have turned the idea into a real success.
I think they were young, and they were eager. Karl had a great pedigree.
So when they convinced Chris' cousin Karl, a long time brew master to help out.
The first thing was will you help me with the beer? And I said, "Sure." Then the next thing he asked me could they use my name? Then could they put my picture on the labels?
He is so accessible and passionate about his craft, and about sharing great beer, and how beer could elevate your life.
Karl Strauss was very important at setting a tone. Some of the craft breweries didn't understand initially, how important it was to be consistent.
Karl taught us to be able to take the quality assurance programs in big breweries and bring them down to a craft brewing level.
And then all the brewers that we trained here, that have gone off to start other breweries, everyone's focused on quality.
The highest compliment you can pay any brewer is to say that their beer is consistent and clean and you know of high quality.
Karl Strauss was literally one of the three most famous brewers in the world.
You still seem to have a passion for this.
Oh yeah, that's the only thing I know how to do, and I like to do it.
He is the only person ever to have won the Master Brewer's Association's three highest honors. He was someone who set the standard, and because of that, he was acknowledged as the godfather of beer. Karl's world of doing things right, of using science to enable you in the art of brewing we are taking that philosophy of the next generation of brewers.
And when he passed, people came out from all these different brewing companies, big brewers, to say that Karl Strauss was the best brewer they had ever known.
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