Brew Review

Beer Review – Karl Strauss – Endless Summer Light

On a trip to San Diego, we stopped at one of the six Karl Strauss Brewing Company restaurants and while I opted for the sampler my better half selected the Endless Summer Light.

From the Karl Strauss site.
“Endless Summer Light tastes refreshing whether you like putting your toes to the nose or just in the sand. A blend of Vienna malts and pale barley give this flavorful low-calorie lager a firm malt center and golden color. Noble Saaz hops provide a subtle hop character and crisp clean finish.”

The Endless Summer Light has the following characteristics

  • Appearance: Clear, golden color. Good foam. An average amount of lacing.
  • Aroma: A light malt scent with a hint of hops.
  • Taste: Slight carbonation and thin mouthfeel. Thin body with very little flavor a weak finish.
  • ABV: 3.4%

When sampling a craft brew, I try to pick a quality name product that the brewer is attempting to replicate. In this case, Karl Strauss may have been aiming for an Amstel Light but made something a little closer to Coors Light and not in a good way. Fortunately, our server, Di noticed that the Mrs. was not making much of a dent in her glass and promptly brought out a Conquistador Dopplebock.

21 replies »

  1. Amstel Light is a quality name product? What’s next Skinny Margaritas? If you’re gonna drink, drink. Water is a better alternative to light beer and it tastes better too.


    • I didn’t say drinking light beer was a good idea. But if you are going to drink a light beer, Amstel isn’t a bad choice. It sure is better than anything put out by Bud, Miller or Coors.

      I actually believe my better half ordered a light beer by accident and was relieved to replace the ESL with the Conquistador.


      • Whisk(e)y is a better low-cal option when good beer is unavailable. Is The Better Half still a Jameson fan? And then there’s Guinness. 12 ounces = 150 calories. Less calories than a Twix bar and “better” for you.


        • I don’t think she was looking for a lower calorie option. To be perfectly honest, I think she misunderstood the name of the beverage and thought it referenced the endless summer daylight not light beer. And, I’d rather not have her shooting Jameson. The trash talking and taunts are bad enough when she is sober.

          Why not have the Guinness and the Twix bar. Chocolate + Beer = Good


          • I like how you think! Dark beer and leftover Easter chocolate pairings perhaps? Then again… whisky and chocolate is even better.


  2. Oh Lord…

    Where to begin…

    First of all, no legitimate craft brewery sets out to “attempt to replicate” somebody else’s brew – ANY brew – and especially a “quality name product” which, in all likelihood a craft brewer might intent NOT to recreate. That’s the whole point! Karl Strauss is a well respected craft brewer, not a newbie homebrewer who probably should, in learning the basics of brewing, attempt to replicate some selected standard beer. That said, you may or may not enjoy Karl Strauss beers. The fact that they are well respected in the creative epicenter of the West Coast craft brewing scene doesn’t guarantee that you, or anyone else, will like their beer. Again, that’s another of the 1000 points of craft brewing light. No one craft brewer has a lineup that appeals to everyone.

    Next, Amstel Light as a “quality name product?” G-LO is on the mark for the most part. From a craft beer geek’s perspective – and one with less respect for my former physique than I should have – I don’t drink light beers. However, I also recognize that the craft brewing industry is a business and the light beer drinking demographic can’t be completely ignored (even if it can’t ever be served with truly flavorful beers). So given the legitimate business purpose for the existence of light beers, I think the issue I take with Amstel Light as a “quality name product” is simply the fact that it is a “low quality name product.” Forgive me for admitting so, but Sam Adams Light is a quality name product light beer. If the beer coolers at a tailgate were stocked with only macro swill (not light) and SA Light, I’d grab the SA Light in a heartbeat.

    So, here’s the take-aways:

    1. Karl Strauss isn’t attempting to replicate anything

    2. Amstel Light is just another spelling for Miller, Coors or Bud Light (though admittedly superior to Natty Light)

    3. OK to be less than thrilled at the brew (or any of them) but not OK to be less than thrilled because you think they failed to recreate something else that they weren’t trying to recreate anyway.

    4. Not OK to be the site’s West Coast Scout without me from now on.




    • Do you feel better now?

      If I may respond

      1. In my less than beer geek state, I look to a name product that would approximate what the brewer has made and assist my limited taste buds in a point of reference. Obviously, the brewer is not trying to replicate the product. What would be the point?

      2. I think you and G-Lo should take Amstel Light for what it is, a good light beer. Not a good beer but a good light beer.

      3. I did not care for the ESL not because it didn’t taste like an Amstel but because it didn’t even taste as good as an Amstel. Again, I use the product to sort of set the bar and hope that the craft brewer at the very least clears the bar. In this case, they didn’t even come close.

      4. While I am certain that I would learn a lot from a West Coast trip, given my fondness for eggs, meat and cheese, I’m not sure that you would enjoy a scouting trip with me.


      • It appears as though only the text features of the phone are disabled when lowered in the basket…

        I do not feel better – I feel catharcted (and you didn’t wait for a response to your request to respond before responding). Now you’ve opened a crooked worm hole in the interwebs….


      • For my two cents:

        A – I don’t think there are any rules to craft brewing and I think there is a lot of “replication” in the industry. Be it trying to resurrect a 5000 year old Sumerian beer (Dogfish Head) or trying to replicate a “T.V.” beer (most brew pubs).

        B – Amstel Light is a fine light beer and better than most non light T.V. Beers. It is light, crisp, and refreshing. Good beer doesn’t need to be barrel aged or over hopped to be good.

        C – The Monger won’t eat cheese …. his palate therefore cannot be trusted.


      • You raise some good points, but I must disagree with one of them. Amstel Light and all of it’s brethren suck. I drank more than my fair share of light beer in college (Not by choice of course. It’s what they were giving away at the all you can drink events.) and I am not going back. I will repeat what I said to Limpd: if you’re gonna drink, DRINK!. Light, refreshing and alcohol infused = Cuba Libre, Gin + Tonic, Paloma, Tom Collins, etc.. If you want to avoid alcohol, have a lemonade or an iced tea.

        And speaking of lemonade… Summer Shandy season is fast approaching!


      • A – Everything we do is by choice. So don’t say that you didn’t drink light beer “by choice”. Be a man and take responsibility for your crimes.

        B – You, and the Ale Monger, might want to reconsider your position on Light Beers or buy stock in companies that make “stretchy pants” …. just saying.

        C – Don’t try to “fruit up” LimpD with your mixed drinks. Keep your metrosexual Cuba Libras, Appletinis, and tiny umbrellas to yourself.


        • A – Fair enough. I drank it cause I was broke at the time.

          B – What’s wrong with pants that have some give? For the record, I own no such things. Not yet anyway.

          C – You have claimed, on numerous occasions, to be drinking Kraken Rum and Coke whenever we’ve seen you carrying around that plastic jug of yours during the summer months. Am I mistaken or is it just the boozedancing?


      • A – Cheapness is not excuse for buying light beer. There are plenty of cheap non-light beers

        B – Draw-sting Guinness “Lounge” pant count as stretchy waist and on numerous occasions you have been seen wearing them well before bedtime.

        C – Do not call down the wrath of the KRAKEN! It will crush any your fruity drinks. RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!


        • Now, now. No need to release the Kraken.

          I would suggest that G-lo and the Monger do a blind test of several light beers that pass their beer snobby muster and Amstel and see if they still have their opinions. Also, as swimsuit season is fast approaching this could be seen as a public service.


          • While I agree that I should cut back on my high test beer and high calorie food consumption in preparation for swimsuit season (or at the very least, for the sake of our already plummeting property values), my dislike of light beer is not about snobbery. It’s about drinking something that I actually enjoy. Would I drink a “light” wine or a “light” whisky? Hell no! So why would I drink a beer that I don’t enjoy? If YOU like it, then by all means, drink it. Under most circumstances, I will pass. Unlike The Wookie, I do not subscribe to the “no beer left behind” philosophy, and would rather dump it (or use it as a bug repellant) then drink it. I’m sure The Wookie will suggest cooking with it, but if it’s not worth drinking, what makes you think that it’s worth eating?


  3. What did I tell you people about the wormhole he ripped into the interwebs????

    See what it’s done? Now all of you are missing the point and somehow you managed to get one of mine wrong….
    G-LO is the light beer hater, not me. I don’t drink it but I understand why it’s out there. I also said that there is at least one light beer that’s far worse than Amstel (Natty) and I’m sure Keystone & Busch are just as awful.

    Oh, and what’s wrong with Sanz-a-belts? I think the powder blue pleated ones are rather snappy.


    • OK, new rule … if you consider your powder blue Sanz-a-belts to be a “snappy” fashion statement, you are no longer allowed to offer opinions on … well … anything.

      Natty, Keystone and Busch were our softball beers. If we won, we got full-strength. If we lost, we got the light variety. Losing was very, very painful.


  4. Actually, I have to admit that ‘my’ powder blue Sanz-a-belts have seen better days. They are, unfortunately, not snappy (especially with the wide white patent leather belt – well – not exactly a belt either because it’s permanently affixed to the front of the pants as more of an ornamental fixture. I guess it’s more of a pants dickie than the real thing.

    Anyway, I was referring to the Sanza-a-belts I saw in the clearance rack at Kohls…or maybe on an inventory control specialist at Walgreens (they need to beef up security in advance of their stocking that Amstel Light killer of theirs).


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