I’ll be honest. I did have to look up what a Kolsch was exactly. I can only recall coming across it once before at the Local Taphouse in Darlinghurst. That time, was an Illawarra Brewing Koelsch and it went down pretty well I seem to recall. I also recall having had five pints beforehand so I may not have been in top form as a nose and tongue.
Anyway, a Kolsch is a very specific type of lager from Cologne. That’s in Germany (like you needed telling), which means we’re off to a pretty good start. The Kolsch has a great deal of tradition around it, which is strange because its not like Germans to take their beer that seriously, and the main gist is that its the local style and lighter than its Bavarian counterparts. Scrolling through the Wiki article, it’s clearly been written by a fan and there’s a few gems:
Karl Marx once famously remarked that his revolution could not work in Cologne, since the bosses went to the same pubs as their workers
I think perhaps that the emphasis should be on citation needed in that quote. Nonetheless, 4 Pines, who have recently been in a bit of a sticky situation regarding one of their promotions, have this to say about their beer:
Kolsch: Light straw in colour with aromas of lemon and lime. A light malty palate finishing crisp, clean and showing hints of spice and citrus.
That more or less ties up with what Wikipedia had to say, Marxism aside. The beer does pour out a light straw colour and if it weren’t for the existence of hay, I’d say that it embodies the very definition of the light straw colour. It’s carbonated but not too a significant degree and doesn’t retain it’s head. The first hint of aroma is stale XXXX. This is not a pleasant reminder of past nights out. Is there light citrus maybe? My nose may be a bit destroyed after the last few reviews having covered stronger flavoured ales.
The taste is immediately refreshing and yet unlike most beer styles in the market today. It’s almost like what the Australian lager should be but isn’t. It’s light on the bitterness (22 IBU according to the label) but balances the dryness and the sweetness in a very appealing way. There’s un petit peu of citrus but it’s not a radler. There’s a touch of wheat beer about it but doesn’t reek of that beer’s characteristics. After a few mouthfuls, the glass shows little to no trace that it was ever full.
All in all, highly recommended for what will no doubt but in an exhaustingly hot and drunken Australia Day tomorrow. However, the question remains: do I assess this as a beer or do I assess it as a Kolsch?
To be perfectly frank, I have no idea how good it is as a Kolsch. As a beer, I find it enjoyable but lacking in physical, not tasteful, body. I suspect that’s down to the brewing style but I’m still inclined to penalise it on the ratings for that.
Remind me to re-visit this when we next have a Kolsch on.
- Genre: Germano
- Regionality: Manly, NSW
- Strength: 4.6%
- Rating: 2.5 / 3 taste + 1 / 2 ancillaries = 3.5 / 5
- Plus: Refreshing, unusual flavour that is not terribly common in a sea of ales that the craft market skews towards.
- Minus: My preference is for headier and more aromatic beers and these are not the Kolsch’s strong suit.