Isomerizer IPA from Karl Strauss Brewing Company: What the Ale!


Isomerizer IPA by Karl Strauss Brewing Company. Photo by Robert Flores.

In 1989, when friends Matt Rattner and Chris Cramer decided to bring local craft beer to San Diego, they had little idea they would be pioneers of the scene that has taken over Southern California.

Cramer’s cousin Karl Strauss—yes, THE Karl Strauss—was originally from Germany, but after fleeing the Nazi regime, he became a brewmaster and worked his way up with Pabst Blue Ribbon. In fact, he is responsible for redeveloping the beer’s formula into what we drink today. He had retired after 44 years with Pabst, and Rattner and Cramer turned to him for help in creating the recipes for the core beers at the duo’s Karl Strauss Brewing Co. Though Strauss passed away in 2006, he left a wonderful legacy, as his namesake has helped other breweries and trained many brewers in San Diego.

Paul Segura is the brewmaster in charge of research and development at Karl Strauss Brewing Co., and for the company’s 29th anniversary, he has come up with the single-hop Isomerizer IPA. “Mosaic is such a beautiful hop—the best one I’ve seen come along in a while,” says Segura. “So we wanted to make an IPA that really showcased its full spectrum of flavors. We kept the malt profile subtle, which allowed Mosaic to shine through the beer with its flavors of grapefruit, passion fruit, mango, blueberry and all of that goodness.”

At 7 percent ABV, Isomerizer is a very approachable IPA, super-clean tasting with juicy tropical notes. It’s named after the chemical reaction that occurs when the alpha acids in hops are converted to iso-alpha acids, which provide a bitter flavor. Make sure to ask for one at the Karl Strauss Brewing Co. across from Angel Stadium this season, as it pairs well with victory. Cheers!

Karl Strauss Brewing Co., 2390 E. Orangewood Ave., Ste. 100, Anaheim, (714) 940-1772;

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