Category Archives: Kolsch

Yulli’s Brews ‘Gretchen’ Organic Honey Kolsch

Rating:

18034227_680290318821783_6860557138886070889_n“Gretchen is our take on a classic German style Kolsch, where a cold fermentation promotes a clean, lager-like finish to this early drinker. We sourced all organic ingredients for this one too. The beer finishes super clean and easy, with a lovely honey flavour on the back palate.”

Served in a dimpled mug. The light straw golden pour generates a two finger crest that holds together well. Steady reduction, working a patchy lace trail down the glass.
We certainly get a nose full of the pilsner malts initially; rice crackers and grains mainly. The honey aspect lends itself delicately with a somewhat nutty/woody note which leads us to think that either iron bark or yellow box honey was used. A soft citrus accent also makes up the aroma, balancing out the honey and grains. Not bad.
Very light, smooth and effortless in the mouth. Spritzy Co2 with a mild hop bitterness throughout (17 IBU). Mild body. Very accommodating.
It’s all very tame and inoffensive in flavour. Upfront its soft and subtle with hints of grain, straw and a mild honey sweetness. Hints of zesty orange blossom work in as it finishes on a kind of herbal honey note that pulls up a bit short on the back palate.
Just a tad too reserved for us. The honey element was a nice touch, although quite subtle. It’s one of those beers that would be perfect for an entry level craft beer drinker or even for an all afternoon summer shindig. Other than that it wouldn’t stand up in many other situations, in our opinion.

Bacchus Brewing Co Nitro Kolsch

Rating:

16602678_645801032270712_1088714627449222349_n“We’ve taken the finest, palest, premium German malt and gently spiced with German noble hops and fermented with a true German kolsch yeast to create this beautiful session ale, with its soft, rounded palate and delicate flavour.”

Served in a Stein glass. She offers a pale straw golden appearance with a quickly reducing head. It eventually settles to a ring with scarce lace work on the glass.
Smells nice and spicy with somewhat sweet and somewhat grainy malts at the forefront. Really getting those lovely Noble hop-like characters coming through. Hints of light florals, hay, white grapes and orange blossom hit a soft sweet note in its delivery. Light, crisp and approachable…exactly what we’re after in a Kolsch.
The texture of the beer is again light on, crisp in texture and super smooth in the swallow. Mild-medium body and finely carbonated. Mild bitterness (25 IBU).
Earthy/spicy hops and slightly sweet malts leave their impression on the front palate. The middle shows quite a direct floral tone as it leads in to the gentle finish that provides subtle sweet and spicy notes on a length.
We were really interested to see how these guys fared when the beer was stripped back to the bone without tonnes of sweeteners and other delicious additives that Bacchus has become so synonymous with. How did they go? Just as we thought….very well indeed. There is some serious skill involved with brewing lagers and this one hits its mark and drinks super easy with the delicate, sessional and well balanced character. Kudos Bacchus.

Green Beacon Brewing Co. ‘Cross Knot’ Kolsch

Rating:

14908206_593389587511857_7412357306410525600_n“Cross Knot Kolsch is a German style golden ale with clean, crisp flavours, restrained bitterness and a dry finish. An extended conditioning period and cool ferment yields a beer of refreshing subtlety.”

Served in a shaker glass. Cross Knot pours a somewhat pale golden hue with a thin wispy head laying over the top. As we imbibe it reduces to a fine film with scarce lace following it down. The nose is fresh, bright, citrusy and slightly grainy. One thing is for sure there is an excellent balance of lifted citrus notes against the grainy/cereal malt backing. Some grassy hops begin to come through in as we really dig our noses in. Really crisp and snappy, we like it. The mouth feel has a kind of mineral sparkle to it – a nod to the precise amount of Co2. It’s also light on, mild in body and extremely sessional. An approachable 4.7% ABV adds to its high drink-ability. Upfront the taste presents a malt forward profile with grainy cereal malts leading the subtle citrus notes through the mid. What we could only describe as a very mild bitterness (24 IBU) is picked up as the beer punctuates with crisp grassy hop characters and subtle cereal/biscuit malts. We’ve been impressed with this brewery ever since we visited it last year on a Brisbane brewery tour. Unfortunately this Kölsch wasn’t tapped when we were there so we’ve been wanting to try it ever since. And we must say it’s a superb interpretation of the style – light, crisp, fruity and grainy with that super sessional mouth feel. Solid drop.

Colonial Brewing Co. Draught Kolsch Ale

Rating:

13619949_545152445668905_5348809651003718798_n“Pale gold in colour, Colonial Draught shows hints of lemon sorbet and is complimented by a subtle background of passionfruit and green herb. The nose flows to the palate which is tight, spotlessly clean, fresh, zesty and focussed, delivering a very approachable beer.”

Served in a beer tulip. The pale golden pour produces a fizzy two finger head that holds up reasonably well. It eventually shrinks down to a fine overlay with scarce lace trails clinging to the glass. The nose is quite dry and dusty with elements of hay and grainy malts at the forefront. Lashes of tangy citrus and grapes give it an almost champagne-like character at times. Maybe a hint of herbal/floral hop notes coming through too. Pretty good, smells fresh and super clean. In the mouth it’s light and airy with a crisp texture. Carbonation is vibrant and the body sits around the mild-medium mark. So sessional. The taste follows on from the aroma nicely. Upfront we get dry straw-like accents over a subtle citrus tang. The grainy/bready malts pop up early in the mid as a gentle hop dryness carries it through. A fresh herbal note then leads in to the slightly dry and snappy finish that offers light fruity notes on the back palate. This is one of those times when you shouldn’t judge a book by its cover. The very plain and uninspiring label is the opposite of what’s happening inside the can. Which is a summery, light, crisp and uber sessional ale. This was our first crack at this WA breweries range and going off first experiences we’ll be back for a second. Solid Kolsch.

Big Shed Brewing Concern ‘Kol Schisel’ Kolsch

Rating:

13394074_528867880630695_7850640917237877320_n“This ale masquerading as a lager is a cracking beer for those unsure that they are into ‘craft’ beers. Subtle bready, malt flavours backed up with a hop spiciness that makes you want to come back for another. Its not too boozy so you can enjoy a couple after work, at the Sunday arvo BBQ or when you’ve just come off the beach.”

Served in a shaker glass. The characteristic hazy straw golden body is capped off by two fingers of snow white foam that retains quite well. It does gradually recede and settles to a fine overlay with some sporadic lace trailing it down. As far as Kölsch aromas go this one seems quite traditional. We get that starchy potato scent leading out along with doughy notes of white bread and crayons. It is lifted by a vibrant citrus accent that is underlined by a subtle crackery malt backing. Some light herbal undertones poke through as do hints of freshly cracked grain husks and straw. Not half bad. The mouth feel is über-light and maybe just a little too lean. Co2 is moderate and the body is mild. Just a tad too watery for our liking. Even though the texture was a bit thin it doesn’t affect the flavor in any way. The front palate offers up cereal malts and rice crackers but it’s this extremely subtle heat that has us intrigued. It’s similar to a red pepper but sharper like there were a few cheeky chili’s thrown in the fermenter. It’s an interesting touch. Once it passes through the mid there isn’t a great deal happening other than your standard sweet malts, grains and delicate citrus notes. A bold bitterness rounds it out but the finish is short and a little pedestrian. Look, it’s definitely got its pro’s and con’s but ultimately the beer as a whole is a little lackluster. The citrus and the grains just aren’t cutting through and unfortunately it’s a tad one dimensional. Other than the initial heat and being a great summer session beer there’s nothing really memorable about it.

Sierra Nevada Kolsch

Rating:

12821639_489610587889758_7255523672698113985_n“From Cologne to California, Kölsch-style beers are a favorite around the world. These light-bodied beers share the expressive character of an ale with the crisp, clean finish commonly found in lager beers. For our stamp on the style, Kölsch has a blast of floral and citrusy American and European whole-cone hops. This beer contains wheat malt to maintain the legendary drinkability of a classic Kölsch but adds a nod to our American brewing heritage and our love of hop flavour.”

Served in a footed flute glass. The body offers a pale straw-golden hue with a compacted one finger head forming on top. It’s not retained all that well as it settles to a ring with scarce lace trailing it down. The aroma is immaculate, crisp and refreshing. Vibrant herbal hops at the forefront with a soft citrus note over a light crackery malt base. Mild fruity undertones of pear and grapes also work well into this subtle and sweet yeasty hay character. Lovely aroma. Light, summery and well balanced. The texture of this Kolsch in the mouth is super clean and effervescent with a discernible bitterness developing toward the back palate. Geez you’d have no dramas pounding a six pack of these! The taste buds enjoy a harmonious fusion of herbal hops, grainy malts and subtle crackers upfront as they flow effortlessly across the mid and pick up hints of sweet citrus and a pinch of spice. The finish is light, dry and uber clean with a contained grassy bitterness enduring nicely between sips. Now we kind of wish we had a six pack of these! Such a simple beer but it’s been executed perfectly. As our 2016 summer draws to an end this Kolsch will be one of the standouts in terms of pure session ability and flavour. Thank goodness we can type quickly because at the pace this beer was consumed we would have needed a six pack! Solid drop.

Josef Fruh Kolsch

Rating:

12705755_479718935545590_855351043302286901_n“The popular beer of Cologne, with its delicious palatable taste the specialty Kölsch – and an original. The Cologne understands just to enjoy life and always finds a reason with a breakfast Kölsch abut. Even today it is brewed according to the original recipe by Peter Josef breakfast – the best ingredients and according to the German purity law. 1969 led the popular early Kölsch in the bottle a. So you could enjoy at home, too. That has not changed until today.”

Served in a shaker glass. The crystal clear golden pour whips up a meagre fingers worth of snow white foam before collapsing to a halo with scarce lace trailing behind it. As far as Kolsch aromas go you can’t get much more classic than this. Some bright floral hops work into a slightly estery pear/apple note initially. A somewhat grainy, hay-like malt also vies for attention as a hint of that dreaded wet cardboard aroma creeps through. Starchy undertones of crackers, white bread and raw potato round out a quintessential profile for a German Kolsch. In the mouth it’s incredibly light with a thin-ish texture. Co2 is vibrant though, really lending a boost of life to the mild body. Ultimately it’s crisp and super sessional. The flavour practically mirrors the aroma with a light floral hop note on the front palate. Certainly a hint of sweet malt here as a grainy/crackery malt carries through the mid. A subtle note of pear/apple leads to a crisp and dry finish with reasonable length to the back palate. At the end of the day it’s really one of those beers that’s just good without being great. Brewed for mass consumption so it would be perfect for Oktoberfest or even a long session on a hot Aussie afternoon. Tasty and very palatable but it’s nothing to write home about.

Shark Island Brewing co. ‘El Mono Bolas’ Kolsch

Rating:

12091409_442772119240272_2945307323000039397_oWe had the good fortune of meeting Dion (head brewer) when we popped in to their temporary HQ in Kirrawee and sampled a few of their beers a couple of weeks ago. This Kölsch was one of them and we were intrigued by the artistic label. The main influence is a tribute to 2 venues in Cronulla (beach side suburb in Southern Sydney) – Brass Monkey, which is an alternative little live music bar, and El Sol, a Mexican themed bar/restaurant. It uses the taboo 3 monkeys dressed as bandits to say “c’mon cerveza drinkers, here’s a refreshing crafty ale for you that won’t shock the taste buds.” We do love a good label. OK on with the review.

Served in a shaker glass. It pours an attractive, rich amber hue with decent clarity. A tightly compacted finger and a half of white foam hangs about for a couple of minutes before settling to a thin overlay. Laced minimally. One of the features we really like about this Kölsch is the use of traditional Kölsch yeast. We are getting a clean, grainy sweetness with a touch of orange blossom, hay, spicy hops, dried leaves and a light floral undertone on the nose. The texture of the beer in the mouth is super smooth and quite light on. A lively Co2 level adds a little tickle to the tongue as it breezes down with ease. Although the body is light there is a subtle yet commendable succession of flavours that opens with a sweet, biscuity malt. A dash of tangy orange cuts through the malt and flows on through a grainy mid palate. Finishes slightly dry and super clean. Length is pretty good too. We’d have to say that this is a fine way to kick off proceedings with this local brewery. Clean, sessional and flavoursome. Perfect summer session beer.

Stone Brewing ‘Spröcket Bier’ Black Rye Kölsch

Rating:

image“Rick and Robbie’s Spröcketbier is the first ever winner of the Stone Spotlight Series brewing competition. A black rye Kölsch-style ale, it arose victorious over 18 other impressive entries ranging from barrel-aged stouts to fruit-laced sour beers and nearly everything in-between. A uniquely dark spin on this traditionally light-bodied German beer style, Spröcketbier delivers mild roast, effervescence and floral yeast presence in tremendously balanced form with the high level of drinkability that is the Kölsch style’s hallmark. Look for it on draft and in bottles in select markets throughout the country, along with the duo that created it, Quality Production Assurance Lead Rick Blankemeier and Production Warehouse Lead Robbie Chandler”.

Served in a snifter glass. We’re met with a mat black hue with a subtle edge of deep crimson that’s covered by a modest finger and a half of tightly packed tanned foam. The head gradually reduces and settles to a halo with reasonable lacing to show for it. The nose is nicely dominated by roasted chocolate malts, cocoa, licorice and a mild hint of coffee. Like Stone always do, a good hop presence is here, offering a suggestion of grassy/herbal notes along with a lick of tropical fruits. As it warms a complex Jaffa/Cointreau-like liqueur aroma creeps in. Unfortunately no rye is coming forward which is a shame because that extra touch of rye spiciness really would of rounded out this aroma. Still nice though. In the mouth it’s really light on with a dryness that develops late. Texture is quite thin with a low carbonation level. Light-moderate body with a well hidden ABV (5.4%). So smooth, really drinkable for a dark beer. Upfront we get roasted grainy malts and chocolate with a mild hop bitterness that forms early on the mid palate. This surprisingly sessional brew concludes with a light roasted bitterness and a touch of hop dryness on the tongue. We could easily imbibe this brew on a warm day despite the dark colour. No surprises though, this American brewery is one of the best in the world for a reason.

Sunner Braurei Kolsch

Rating:

imageBrewed in the long Sunner-brewing tradition, after the Reinheitsgrebot of 1516. Spicy, aromatic, traditionally hopped, full bodied and tangy. A real product Kolscher life.”

As far as Kolsch beer goes, we’ve been told, you can’t get any more original than this. Sunner was the first German brewery to brew the style that is now known today as Kolsch (it wasn’t until 1918 that the name of this style of beer was changed from ‘Wiess’ or ‘White’ to Kolsch). OK that’s our history for the day, let’s crack on with the review. Served in a shaker glass. It pours with a pale straw-golden hue and magnificent clarity. Only a modest fingers worth of foam is generated but it’s well retained and draws some streaky lace trails as we imbibe. Really clean and crisp on the nose, it reminds us of smashing down stein’s of German Pils at the snow. We are getting lifted cereal malts, bubblegum, hay, soft citrus notes, grains and a kind of dried tea leaf spiciness. The brewers have done well to pack in a good bouquet but still keep it light and summery. Theres a lovely freshness to the feel in the mouth. The texture is soft and crisp with a vibrant Co2 level, lending the palate a real liveliness. ABV sits at 4.8% and expectedly makes no appearance. The flavour profile is inititated with a delicate blend of grainy/cereal malts and lemon which develop a mild leafy hop bitterness through the mid. A subtle Noble hop spiciness is formed as a hint of underripe pear delivers a clean and super smooth finish. We don’t claim to be Kolsch experts but from the six or seven that we’ve reviewed, this one definitely takes the cake. Well, when you’ve had 185 years to perfect your recipe then we guess it should. Classy drop.We really liked it.

Mornington ‘Sorachi’ Kölsch

Rating:

imageHere we see Japanese hops meeting German brewing styles coming together to be brewed in Australia. It’s like the tri-nations of craft beer!! Should actually be an interesting match up too because the Sorachi hop isn’t usually one used for Kölsch. Let us see.

If we had a proper tumbler we would use it but for now we’ll serve this in a shaker glass. Aggressive pour, we want a nice big head which isn’t really what we get but a fair 7-8mm which retains quite well. It does slowly peel away with some random spotted lacing clinging to the glass. On to the aroma where we are picking up a light herbal presence along with lemon, grain, tea leaf, hay and sage. The Sorachi hops are well presented and do take the front seat in this otherwise very gentle, summery aroma. In the mouth it’s really light on…almost airy, sliding right off the tongue. Mildly carbonated. Not a great deal of flavour happening here. Again, the Sorachi hops are doing all the work with soft hints of lemon and coriander coming through the strongest. Some grain is detected through the mid, leading to a light, bitter finish. Reasonable length as we enjoy a delayed bitterness on the back end. 5.2% ABV is nicely disguised, and to be fair does work with what the brewers are obviously going for here – which is a light, refreshing beer with a slight buzz. Not their best beer ever but an easy summer-sessioner.

Blackhorse brewhouse Kölsch

Rating:

image“You’d be forgiven for thinking an ale that comes from an inland German factory city wouldn’t be suited to our Aussie beach lifestyle. But you’d be wrong. Kolsch originated in the city of Cologne, and much like a cologne it has a distinctive aroma –  thanks to the type of hop; Tettnang. It has a light straw-like complexion and an equally light, easy to drink body – making it perfect for those long summer afternoons which into lazy evenings. Despite its German lineage, Kolsch gets along just fine with others – notably pork and fish”.

This is our first review of this brand new breweries range. The brewery first opened it’s doors to the public in early-mid 2014 and have a core range consisting of a Kölsch, Aussie (pale) ale, red ale, a stout and a seasonal. Traditionally the Kölsch should be served in a tumbler (a really small, roughly 20cl glass) but we don’t live in Cologne so we will serve this in a shaker glass. From the pour the transparent pale gold appearance knocks up a thin white cap that reduced to a halo around the edge of the glass. Some streaky lace trails follow the beer down. Our first thoughts of the aroma are grain, slightly funky lemon, wafer, grass and subtle citrus. In the mouth it’s light and airy with little fizz. The body is mild and highly sessional and the 4.5% ABV emphasises this. The first few sips yield plenty of sweet malts and grain. Once the beer starts to warm up, more savoury hints of corn and subtle lemon unfold delivering a soft, crisp finish. A very welcoming beer, not really pushing the craft envelope but no harsh or unwanted flavours, just a light, refreshing and highly sessional ale. A good start to this breweries range.

Red island brewing co. ‘Quiet deeds’ Kölsch

Rating:

image“Even though it sounds like a heavy beer the Kolsch is actually less ‘over-weight-German-man-with-a-foot-long-moustache’ and more ‘straw-blonde-chicks-enjoying-a-crisp-beer-on-a-hot-summers-day.’ The lightest of our beers,
it has a bright pale gold colour with a subtle fruity aroma. Tasting this crisp brew you notice the delicate flavours, which allows it to get mistaken for a light lager. Whether you’re on the beach or in a beer garden with your mates on a sunny day, our purple-labelled ‘crispy’ brew will keep you fresh and slightly confident”.

This is our first crack at this little known, Aussie microbreweries range. Served in a shaker glass the hazy, pale straw-golden pour struggled to generate the meagre head which collapsed to a patch of foam in seconds. Laced poorly. A vigorous whirl of the glass produces sweet, malty aromas. Kind of like a breakfast beer with cereal, grain, honey, toast and corny DMS emanating the strongest while undertones of the grassy noble hop sit almost dormant in the background. Oily feel, but a little too slippery in the mouth. Hardly any carbonation and the body is weak and watery. The taste buds aren’t really abuzz with flavours but a malty sweet front palate is paired with hints of cereal and corn. This trio literally encompasses the whole palate as nothing is added to the flavour profile from start to finish. Very mono tonal and far from a traditional Kölsch. The 4.4% ABV is about on par. To be fair, it is a German style of beer and not many Aussie brewers have passed the taste test, although 4 pines’ Kölsch would surely get a few Colognian heads nodding. We weren’t expecting much and that’s what the outcome was. Average at best.

Rogue farms honey kolsch

Rating:

image“Situated just across from 40 acres of Rogue hops, 7,140,289 Rogue Farms bees are carefully kept and fed and the honey is uncapped, extracted, filtered and finally infused into a refreshing Honey Kolsch Ale”.

We like where Rogue is going with these new hyper-coloured bottles. Very eye catching. This release pours from a unique yellow bottle and offers up this slightly cloudy straw golden pour with a roughly 2 finger snow white head which maintains nicely. Gradually reducing to a firm layer over the top. Laced reasonably well. The nose is providing a subtle herbal hop aroma with undertones of honey sweetness, lemon citrus, husky grains, light florals and cereal malts. Soft on the nose but there is certainly some nice fragrances coming forward. Medium carbonation and body. Palate is very light on and super sessional. With mild biscuity/cerealy malts and moderately bitter hops upfront, suggestions of crisp, grassy hops and honey sweetness develop through the mid and linger delicately on the back end. Length was OK for it’s light body. 4.8% ABV is perfect for this beer. We could easily sit on this beer for a long afternoon session although the price would surely force us to think twice. Really clean and refreshing drop this one. Not bad at all.

Hunter beer co. kolsch

Rating:

imageThis style of brewing, originally from Cologne, Germany, is one that is either hit or miss. We’ve had quite a few over the years and the best Australian representation of the Kölsch is brewed by 4 pines in Manly, NSW. This Kölsch by Hunter beer co is a part of their simple, yet very true-to-style core range that we frequently stop in for on our trips to the Hunter Valley.

Anyway, on with the review. On tap in a pint glass. Clear pale golden pour offers up brilliant clarity with a bright glow. Nice 1 and a half finger head that stands up well and maintains for a couple of minutes but eventually collapses to a collar with reasonable lacing to show for it. Quite malt forward on the nose, we’re initially detecting some biscuity/cereal malts, straw, lemon, wet paper, light florals and grain.  Nothing too out of the ordinary. Quite thin in the mouth with a silky smooth texture. The carbonation levels are mild and the body is light on. A gentle hop bitterness pairs up with hints of lemon and grain on entry. Through the mid a suggestion of hay and some syrupy/honey sweetness begins to develop leading to a delicate, malty finish with a touch of hop dryness on the rear palate. 4.5% ABV. Brewed for session ability, not really for flavour. To sum up, it was a little too malty sweet for our liking. A stronger presence of fruity hops or citrus to balance it out would have gone a long way. It’s certainly an enjoyable beer, just one we wouldn’t go back to in a hurry. Not bad.

4 pines kolsch

Rating:

4 pines kolschMost probably Australia’s best representation of a Kolsch. We can say this before the review because we have had many a session on this classy brew. All one has to do is have a look at the awards – “Gold!!! Australian International Beer Awards 2010 Silver!! Australian International Beer Awards 2012. Bronze! Australian Craft Brewing Awards 2014.”

If we were in Cologne we’d be asking for the traditional glassware, which would be a tumbler, but unfortunately we don’t have that luxury so this we served in a shaker glass. The translucent straw-gold pour produced a snow white one and a half finger head that eventually settles to a light covering over the top. Average lacing. Off the nose we’re getting dominant grainy wafts of cereal malts, oats, spice, a touch of honey and toast. A subtle dash of citrus and herbs liven it up a little but the pale and wheat malts take center stage. Mouth feel is smooth and airy with mild-medium carbonation. Very light on. Slightly watery upfront as the flavour seems to slide right off the tongue. Gentle grains and a hint of corny DMS in the mid-palate are complimented by a mildly bitter finish. Some dryness on the tongue along with a light, fruity back end does somewhat display mediocre length. 4.6% ABV is about the standard for Kölsch. Look, it’s not a German Kolsch but it certainly goes down very easily. A good session beer.