Green Beacon Cross Knot Kolsch

Total Score: 7.55/10 Lemon1Flowers1Bread1PokalStange1

Kolsch (or “Kölsch” if we’re going to name it correctly) has always been a hit n’ miss Ale for me. Some have been delightful with floral/citric notes and a reasonable body, and others have been no different to a typical adjunct Lager. I’m talking about actual German (not just Aussie) brewed ones too! So really I go into a Kölsch review with no expectations lest I am disappointed again and again. However now I’m reviewing Green Beacon’s take on this maligned style, and they really know how to put up excellent examples of any style they touch – so I’m looking forward to a good Kölsch, one that isn’t trying to be an insipid Lager without any body. Cheers to GB!

Poured from a 375ml can into a stange (the traditional drinking vessel for a Kölsch).

A: Hazed golden-straw yellow body with a nice white 1 centimetre sea foam head that crests and quickly dissipates to a thin lace ring. Tried to agitate the head, no dice… so yeah, head retention could use a little work. 7/10.

S: Bread yeast/dry cracker forward with a light grainy note… look it’s not the best aroma for a Kölsch (or any beer)… at least it’s not offensive or skunked, but it could perhaps be a bit more in your face – this is a beer that needs something bolder aroma-wise. However I’ve smelled far worse… then I bought some deodorant, which seemed to help. 5/10.

T: Then: BOOM! In comes Captain flavour to give old man aroma a kick up the backside, with notes of: Lemon, floral hops, dry cracker/bread yeast, slight grainy note, and a hint of crisp apple peel (just a hint!). Finishes slightly dry with a tinge of citric hop bitterness. For a 4.6% ABV Kölsch this bad boy means business! [what type of business?] Something e-commerce… with hats… yeah, that. 8/10.

M: Mid to light, almost medium bodied, with a sharp but light carbonation. 8/10.

D: Mmmm, lemony… GB brought the goods yet again! This is one Aussie Kölsch that I could definitely see myself partaking in on yet another hot Queensland summers day. The question is: When is it no longer considered a heat wave but normal summer weather when we keep getting days like today? Who knows… [a meteorologist perhaps?] All I know (apart from a great many things) is that as these summers grow longer my taste for Lagers/Pilsners/ Kölschs grows with it. If this keeps up pretty soon I’ll have to give up reviewing Russian Imperial Stouts [NOOooo!!!] – but let’s not forget the words of Ned Stark: “Winter is coming!”. Damn hope it is! 9/10.

Food match: Something light and summery – grilled chicken salad or seafood.

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Colonial Kölsch

Total Score: 6.85/10 Lemon1CutGrass1Barley1PokalStange1

So we had the Small Ale, and t’was good, decent for a mid-strength, though that was also its weakness – being a mid-strength to begin with. Now time for a stab at reviewing their Kölsch, a classic German style of Ale that originates from Köln (or Cologne – you know that stuff you slap on your mug after a nice shave). Kölsch (actually pronounced “kurl-sch” but no one outside of Germany seems to get this) is intriguing in that it’s a style of Ale that comes across as more of a Lager, not unlike Steam Beer. Flavours to be expected include: Lemon, citrus zest, grassy hop notes and a dry white wine overtone, mmm, thirst quenching aiight!

Poured from a 375ml can into a stein.

A: Cloudy pale straw body with a wispy bright white head that thins out rather quickly leaving splotchy patchwork on top. Apart from the non-existent head which a traditional German drinker would shun like the bubonic plague it looks ok. I like cloudy brews, however Kölsch’s are also traditionally clear – this is more of a Wieß (or “white”) in that respect. 6/10.

S: Hits with straight up 100% lemon juice, then it leads into doughy bread characters with a lingering hint of grassy hop notes towards the back. A fairly standard Kölsch aroma, though it is a tad on the muted side. 7/10.

T: As above – lemon juice and grassy hop notes swirl about on the palate (lightly!) with a bread basket centre and some touches of grain. Came out of the fridge ice cold because it was sitting at the back in front of the chill vent, but even so there could be a bit more flavour knocking about (though I could quite easily down this as an after-lawn-mowing brew). 7/10.

M: Mid to light bodied with an over-carbed gassiness that distracts somewhat. 6/10.

D: A fairly decent interpretation of a classic German style – this is a Kölsch that feels like it could impress with just a little bit more flavour. Overall it’s not bad, a good hot weather beer when ice cold, but I’ve been drinking beer for a good while now and if I’m to be honest to myself this brew isn’t wowing me or taking me on a journey to beervana – it’s simply OK. But hey, all beers can’t be awesome – we need some OK filler beers out there, and at the price of $20 a 6-pack of 375ml cans Colonial Kölsch is an easy option to unlade the wallet for a no-frills simple brew, and to that I say “Prost!”. 7/10.

Food match: I know it’s Bavarian cuisine but a Münchner Weißwurst mit ein pretzel und senf would sit well with this Kölsch.

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Früh Kölsch

Total Score: 6/10 GreenApple1 Barley1 WhiteWine1 PokalStange1

Kölsch, a style I have touched on before with Australian renditions but have never had a traditional one from Köln (where it originated), is an interesting style. It is top-fermented (i.e. an Ale) with Lager characteristics. If done well it makes an excellent summer Ale for long hot days, however if it is done badly it can become quite drain-pour worthy. As Früh Kölsch is my first real German Kölsch it will henceforth be my benchmark of this style. I hope they set that bar high.

Poured from a 500ml can into a Stange (or “test tube glass” the traditional glass for a Kölsch).

A: Presents a clear pale straw body with a cappuccino foam white head that soon reduces to a light lace on top. Spot on colour for a true Kölsch. 8/10.

S: Fresh cider apples in the aroma provide dry and vinous characters, there is hints of a grain base and slight metallic note from the can, overall a pretty decent and Lagery aroma. 7/10.

T: Crisp, dry and cidery… in fact it tastes light a glass of dry apple cider more than a beer. Then the grain flavours kick in… then you have a burp because of the dramatic carbonation, with a finish and aftertaste that is mildly bitter, very crisp and oh so dry. Another sip reveals white wine characters with some light honey sweetness. 6/10.

M: Waaay over-carbonated, it’s been a while since I’ve let off this many belches, with a mid to light body. 3/10.

D: It can be said that a good Kölsch is a perfect pairing for a hot summers day and Früh is a good enough Kölsch, though my scores do tend to show a bias against Lagers in general (I’m an Ale-man, and a Hophead, this is true) – I still believe my scoring of this beer is relative to how good it actually is. That said, with flavours like a typical cheap German Lager, there is little reason to seek this beer out and fork over the $5.50/500mls I paid for it – this is a sub $3/500mls can at best. 6/10.

Food match: A Köln specialty Himmel un Ääd (or Heaven and Earth) roasted apple and semi-mashed potatoes, with fried onion topping, served with the classic blood sausage is a definite great pairing for this brew.

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Kooinda Converter German Ale

Total Score: 6.95/10 Nut1 GreenApple1 Earth1 Stein1

For those who live in Canberra: On tap at The Durham, get it now before they change kegs! This beer is a bit of an anomaly, Kooinda (not unlike the CIA) seem to have disavowed any knowledge of this brew as there is nothing on their website, no marketing, no label to refer to, nada. They call it a “German Ale”, a very non-descript term, and the only thing it comes close to is a Kölsch (but it isn’t really a Kölsch). IMHO Kooinda need to update their website.

Poured from tap into a nonic pint.

A: Hazy Pale straw body with a nice firm half centimetre white head. So it definitely looks like a straight up Kölsch, which is why (until Kooinda say otherwise) I am calling this beer a Kölsch. 8/10.

S: Fruity esters of overripe apple and a distinct earthy note caresses the nostrils. There is a touch of nuttiness milling around as well. A tasty almost farmhouse ale nose. This is where Kölsch gets left out on some desert highway to hopefully hitch its way back home. 6/10.

T: Nice! As above only the apple esters take the back seat while the nuttiness comes to the fore. It’s sweet but not cloying. Touches of earthy hops provide a light bitterness and we are greeted by that classic German long dry finish that says “Guten tag! Haben sie bitte noch einen schluck”. 7/10.

M: Smooth, medium bodied with a creamy carbonation. There is the tiniest touch of prickliness there as well. 8/10.

D: Pretty nice drop, also an interesting change from all the APA’s I’ve been drinking. Kooinda hit that tasty spot yet again. However their lack of presence on their own website is a bit of an annoyance for beer reviewers, specifically me right now. It’s not a Kölsch in aroma or flavour but it is enjoyable nonetheless. Only detraction of points from me is due to my personal beer taste preferences being towards bolder, hoppier, and darker beers. As they say “Horses for those things they go round”, prost! 7/10.

Food match: German styled cuisine; I was imagining this with roast pork, apple sauce, fried potato with chopped bacon and onion, and some spätzle (a type of German pasta).

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