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Karl Strauss Brewery & Grill Restaurant Review: This downtown location is the original in what has become a mini-empire of restaurant-breweries serving Cal-German food and beer. The brewing vats (where the very respectable house lagers, ales and Pilsners are hand-crafted) are visible through thick glass walls behind the bar. Popular with the downtown work force, tourists and beer aficionados, Karl Strauss usually draws a crowd every night of the week. The menu is unfocused, but usually dependable. There are plenty of small snacks such as ahi poke, boneless chicken wings, and nachos with black beans and chicken if socializing is your game, but for a real meal we like the beer-battered fish ‘n’ chips with slaw, beer-brined pork chops with spicy mustard and “the works,” and the double cheddar burger with grilled mushrooms and onions. The brews themselves can’t go unnoticed, as the menu includes favorites such as amber lager, hefeweizen and pale ale. One standout is the Endless Summer Light, a blend of Vienna malts and pale barley.