A mere two courses into Karl Strauss Anaheim’s fall beer dinner, my stomach sends morse code to my brain, “b-b-beep, beep beep beep, b-b-beep!” Translation, S.O.S… there’s no more room to fit the next three courses! After a brief panic and a quick stretch to get the juices flowing, I show my middle region who’s boss by pouring one more beer down to prep for the next course.
To recap, I’ve eaten two huge shrimp from a low country shrimp boil with jalapeno andouille hushpuppies with a glass of Helles to pair, a big crispy fried chicken biscuit slider with a buttermilk-cheddar biscuit and hot honey paired with a Fair Dinkum Aussie Pale Ale, and just like that, course three is delivered. Crazy Eyes Coffee Bock paired with coffee-rubbed wild boar ribs. “These have been slow-roasting for around five-hours,” notes chef Kevin Jones of Karl Stauss, a mad lad experienced chef, no doubt excited to stretch his creativity for the night.
I haven’t been to a beer dinner in 2019, which is quite the slow-down from the events of yesteryear, where it seems like beer-diners would seemingly take in excess of 10K calories in the span of three hours. This is my first go at one at Karl, and I have to hand it to them, all of these dishes thus far are worthy of a full-time menu spot, including these deeply crusted finger-sized boar ribs – that you can disrobe the meat by flicking each one ever-so-slightly.
Being the first day of actual Oktoberfest, I’m sort of surprised at the lack of pork shanky German-style fair, and this trip around southern food is completely unexpected. At least a couple of the beers are plays on German classics, including this Crazy Eyes Coffee Bock.
Now, we’ve all had coffee added to a myriad of beer styles, but I can’t think of one that’s been added to a German-style bock. Bock beers are traditionally bigger in alcohol, a bit more malty German lagers that have flavors that lean anywhere from toasty bread to figgy fruits. Adding coffee to one adds a roasty-richness that makes the flavor and mouthfeel ride like a zippy trip around the Autobahn. Paired with the ribs, it really brings out the big glazed bark and smokey flair.
Only two more courses to go…send help.
Karl Strauss is at 2390 E Orangewood Ave #100, Anaheim karlstrauss.com
Greg Nagel has been writing about beer since 2011, is an avid homebrewer of wine, cider, and beer, is a certified Cicerone Beer Server, level 1 WSET in Wine, a podcaster with the Four Brewers Show, and runs a yearly beer festival called Firkfest happening on June 29th in Anaheim!