What to Drink after a Day at Legoland: Karl Strauss Brewing Company

I’m the best father on Earth. Really! Just ask my son. But do it quickly, because the thrill of being taken to Legoland in California for his eight birthday may wear thin soon. If you have young children, chances are this theme park is on their radar. If you are like me, you will relish a day of watching your kids go nuts over every new Lego adventure. If you are like me, you will want a beer in a big, bad way when the sun starts to set.

Never fear! If you go to Legoland, there is a treat for you at the end of the day. After a full day of giggling on kiddie rides, you can head across the street to the Karl Strauss Brewing Company brewpub in Carlsbad, Calif. It is one of five Karl Strauss brewpubs in Southern California, which opened its original location in 1989 – the first brewpub in San Diego since Prohibition. It has 10 beers on tap with full menu of forty-some rotating beers including six regulars, seasonals and special release. They also have a full gastro-pub grub menu, including kids’ eats.

Before I had even got the kids into the door of the pub, Beautiful Wife was already bellied up to the bar and ordered a Karl Strauss Amber Lager for herself and a Red Trolley Ale for me, both classic beers on the menu. She must have been thirsty because the sample glasses they provided and a three-finger measure of her beer had already evaporated. Both of our beers were Legolicious.

Red Trolley Ale

Look Deep copper red-head with a finger depth of creamy off-white head and decent lacing.
Smell Full snout of malt, caramel and grainy mown grass dried in the sun.
Taste It packs a wallop of malt like a toasted oat sweetened cereal with toffee, brown sugar and slight fruitiness. The rich color and full maltiness doesn’t mean this is a bold beer. It’s actually quite light in body and flavor. It has fizzy effervescence, but it doesn’t quite equate to a smooth or creamy mouthfeel. It’s a good beer to suck back after a long day in the sun.


I also had a pint of the Pintail Pale Ale, a citrusy, floral session beer that went really well with seared tuna. It had just enough Cascade hops to give it a crisp, dry quality. Quite refreshing.

When you are done with Dune Raiders, DUPLO Village, Lego Technic Coaster and The Dragon, go grab a beer. You’ve earned it.

What are you drinking?

The Devolution of a Classic Cocktail: the Singapore Sling

You know a place is pretty special when it has a classic cocktail named after it. If you want to drink your way around the world, you can have a Manhattan, a Moscow Mule, a Cuba Libre, and of course a Singapore Sling. I have to have a local drink every time a visit a different city, so while visiting Singapore this week I made a point of ordering the national drink.
There is a lot of legend surrounding the Singapore Sling. It was created  sometime around 1900 b the bartender, Mr. Ngiam Tong Boon, at the Long Bar of the Raffles Hotel in Singapore. It originated from a request of a British Colonial officer to create a tropical cocktail suitable for a lovely woman in the bar. That’s a damned good reason to craft a cocktail.
The original recipe has been lost, but there are versions floating around that are thought to be fairly true to the first. One recipe that is thought to be close to the original is the Straits Sling:
  • 2 shots gin
  • ½ shot Bénédictine
  • ½ shot dry cherry brandy
  • ½ shot lemon juice
  • 2 dashes orange bitters
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Shake well with ice and strain in to a Sling or highball glass. Top off with soda water.

* Source: “Cocktails and How to Mix Them” by Robert Vermeire (1922)

Unfortunately over time the drink has devolved into something almost unrecognizable. It’s been sweetened so that the true character has been lost. In more recent versions pineapple juice and grenadine syrup have become an integral ingredients. These additions definitely keep a tropical feel, but also tends to dominate with sweetness that obscures the complexity of the other flavors.

The Sling I had at local hot spot KPO and it was an overly syrupy concoction. A few of us passed it around and eventually drank most of it over the course of the evening. Here’s what they put in it:

  • Gin
  • Cherry brandy
  • D.O.M
  • Cointreau
  • Pineapple juice
  • Lime juice
  • Grenadine syrup
  • Angostura bitters
  • Top with soda

This is not a drink I would order twice.

If you go to Singapore, consider drinking a local beer instead of a sickeningly sweet sling. My man Slats took me to Brewerkz Singapore, a local micro-brewery with a scenic view of the Singapore River at Riverside Point, which makes more than a dozen craft beers. The open architecture lets you enjoy your beer in full view of the fermentation tanks where the gorgeous stuff is made. I sampled my way through Kolshe, Pilsner, India Pale Ale and Double IPA as we watched State of Origin Australian rugby league matches between Queensland and New South Wales.  I would definitely go back for more of those excellent beers.

What is your favorite drink in Singapore?

What are you drinking?




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