Karl Strauss amps up the arts


It just doesn’t seem that long ago. 1989. I mean, that’s only 26 years ago. But in American craft brewing, 1989 is the equivalent of ancient history.

That’s the year Karl Strauss Brewing Co. opened the first-ever brewpub in San Diego. The city has since gone on to become a pillar of craft brewing in the U.S., while Strauss has expanded throughout southern California, from Studio City to Sorrento Mesa.

Keeping with traditions like the decade-long Beach to Brewery Beer & Music Fest, Karl Strauss introduced its first, and smaller-scaled, art and music series last year. Initially billed as BAM (Beer, Art and Music), the name was changed when a Los Angeles fest with the same moniker was discovered.

Now known as Arts & Amps, the four-part series is taking place at the Strauss tasting room and beer garden in Pacific Beach.

“This is an evolving event,” said Strauss event marketer Brian Skarin. “We want it to be something that will continue to grow while showcasing local bands, local artists and a few special beers.”

After kicking things off in May with music from Blackout Party and Low Volts, as well as artwork from the La Jolla-based Thumbprint Gallery, Arts & Amps (Volume 2) returns June 27.

The prints of local photographers Drew McGill, Chris Hill, Jessica Boranian, Scott Murphy, Robert Goodman, Brakovision and C.J. Thomas will be featured, and the venue will be tapping a special, barrel-aged blackberry sour. San Diego Music Award winners Rebecca Jade and The Cold Fact will handle the music portion of things, a first for the band’s singer and namesake.


Arts & Amps

When: 5-8 p.m. June 27, July 25 & Aug. 29

Where: Karl Strauss Pacific Beach, 5985 Santa Fe St.

Cost: Admission is free

More info:

“I haven’t ever been a part of an event like this,” Jade told DiscoverSD. “But I’m a lover of all art forms. Even the crafting of beer is an art form in itself. They’re creating something, too. So it’s definitely going to be a new experience, but I’m looking forward to that.”

In addition to music, photographs and beer, three food trucks - Chubby’s, Chop Suey, and Ms. Patty Melt - will offer food for sale during the event, which runs from 5-8 p.m.

The final two installments of Arts & Amps will follow on July 25 and Aug. 29, with the surf-themed July date scheduled to feature the instrumental guitar and drums duo, The Mattson 2. Plans haven’t been finalized for the August finale, but that hasn’t stopped Skarin from thinking about what they’re going to do in 2016.

“We’ve supported the local community for a very long time,” he said. “Instead of doing one giant event, we wanted to concentrate on a few smaller iterations of the same thing. We’ve had some solid shows thus far and are hoping to continue it all again next year.”

Scott McDonald is a writer, on-air personality and consultant with 15 years of experience in the San Diego music scene. He has interviewed hundreds of artists, from the legendary to the underground, for print and television. Follow McDonald and his melodic musings on Twitter @eight24_ or Instagram @scotteight24. Send your music musts to

Source: DiscoverSD