Brewed For Battle: Kolsch

Categories: Brew Review

Jonathan McNamara
Erica O'Neil holding this week's winner.
At what point does one elevate from merely drinking beer to being a full-on beer snob? Answer: when you feel compelled to tell other people what to drink. And the inevitable result of this peculiar ailment is the beer argument.

In the spirit of all great beer-related discussions, we present Brewed For Battle; a new series of Chow Bella blog posts that pits a selection of brews from a given style up against each other and lets the taste buds of one layman battle them out. Multiple beers go in. One beer comes out the victor.

This week's battle: Kölsch

The name Kölsch is an appellation -- much like Champagne or Bourbon -- meaning for the beverage to carry the name, it must be brewed in a specific region. In the case of Kölsch, this region is the German city of Cologne, or Köln. Many American brewers, however, have adopted the designation for their own brews.

Regardless of the place of origin, a good Kölsch is clean, crisp and delicate. In truth, the flavor isn't too far in flavor from most light lagers -- though the ale yeast used to create Kölsch imparts subtle fruit flavors and aromas. It's traditionally served in a tall, narrow glass called a Stange.

Zach's Pick: Ballast Point Yellowtail
Ballast Point first confuses with their labeling of Yellowtail: in big letters on the front they call it a pale ale, but explain in the description on the back it was brewed to fit the Kölsch style. One sip of the brew clears up the confusion, however, as this beer can rightly be called a combination between the two. Brewed with more malt and hops than the other offerings, Yellowtail exhibits a nice toasty biscuit flavor balanced by hefty German hops.

Shannon's Pick: Four Peaks SunBru
I get it Four Peaks and I forgive you. You needed a beer to quiet the Bud Light swilling masses that flock to your place in droves wearing maroon and gold. To appease those with no sense of adventure and only know how to order a beer by using the phrase "something light" and Sunbru happened. That being said, I'm not going to bash Sunbru. It's one step up from water and is just a tad too bitter in the end but it does it's job. It's a beer for people that don't drink beer (at least not good beer). And it's not horrible. It's just forgettable. BUT, I will admit it would make a good "river" beer and I'm sure my opinion will change the fist time it hits 115 degrees.

Jonathan's Pick: Reissdorf Kölsch
One can always trust the Germans to make sure a brew is packed full of flavor. Unlike the more pedestrian varieties of Kolsch, the Reissdorf packs a malty, delicious punch. Somehow, though, the beer remains perfectly refreshing; at least enough that you won't mind going through a session of them.

The Layman's Choice: Reissdorf Kolsch

Chow Bella contributor Erica O'Neil preferred the Reissdorf. Here's why:

"In a blind taste test, I wouldn't be able to tell SunBru apart from any other Bud, Miller or Coors. It's not bad; it's just not anything. Yellowtail tasted a bit better, without the weird bite I noticed in the other beers. But it was overly carbonated, and the body wasn't as creamy. The Reissdorf made me want to raise a stein and eat meat off the bone. It's silky, smooth and not overly carbonated."

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Eric P
Eric P

Well, i see that this is a new series, but that was kind of a crap experiment. No mention of the ABV% or IBUs. Nary a mention of appearance or aroma or flavor. Poor explanation of the Kolsch style, which is very little having to do with mass-produced American fizz. I suggest that maybe you rally by sampling Kolshes natural rival, Altbiers, next.

Also, does SunBru even come in cans for river consumption? If not, that was a pointless statement.

Also, if you need a beer researcher -- I'd love to be your guy :) Sorry for the apparent harsh criticism.


Yes Eric, Sunbru comes in cans. I didn't just throw that out there for no reason.


Can't speak for the SunBru, but I know Kilt Lifter is available in cans.

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