It’s officially summer and in my books that means it’s time for kolsch. Although we can enjoy this wonderful light and refreshing style year round in Hawaii, I tend to crave a kolsch most when it’s hot and humid. Lucky for us, it seems that the kolsch style is the new it beer with dozens of breweries putting out their own version of the classic German ale. American brewers love to put their own twists on classic styles and with the kolsch it tends to be the use of bright and citrusy American hops.
Here’s a list of a bunch of great kolsch style beers available in Hawaii this summer. You can pick up a copy of the Star Advertiser today for more insight on the style and a quick review of Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei Kolsch (pictured above). This is an amazing locally brewed kolsch style that will be my go to beer for the rest of the summer.
Ballast Point Pale Ale – A kolsch is a pale beer and you’ll commonly find American versions labeled as a pale, like Ballast Point’s Pale Ale. Brewed with kolsch yeast and lagered cold like a traditional kolsch, the brewers at Ballast Point put their San Diego touch on this beer with a nice addition of hops.
Breakside Post Time Kolsch – Limited availability right now. Excellent version from Portland’s Breakside brewing that comes in 16 ounce cans.
Clown Shoes Mango Imperial Kolsch – Far from traditional this kolsch clocks in at over 6% abv and is brewed with mango flavors. Should be available in Hawaii later this summer.
Freigeist Ottekolong – A kolsch from Cologne that oddly enough isn’t legally accepted as a kolsch because it’s breaks some traditions (the brewery was created to brew unconventional beers in Germany). It’s unfiltered, highly hopped and incredibly flavorful for a 4.8% abv beer. If you find this, get it and try it!
Mission Brewery Blonde Ale – Don’t be fooled by the blonde ale part. Just like the use of Pale Ale a lot of American breweries call their kolsch style beer blondes because it’s more consumer friendly.
Occidental Brewing Kolsch – Traditional kolsch from the German beer focused Portland brewery. Excellent version that is widely available in Hawaii.
Rogue Brewing Honey Kolsch – Another American interpretation of the style with honey from bees housed on the Rogue Farm in Oregon. The honey adds a touch of residual sweetness and complements the fruity aromas of the kolsch yeast nicely.
Sam Adams East-West Kolsch – A traditional kolsch except for the East part. Jasmine Sambac (jasmine flowers) are used in the brewing process that really punch up the floral nose of this beer.Sierra Nevada Kolsch – Available in Sierra’s summer mix 12 packs, this kolsch is punched up with a good dose of citrusy American hops. Super crisp and thirst quenching with a nice dry bitterness on the backend.
Gordon Biersch Sommerbrau – Traditional Cologne style kolsch from one of the best German beer brewers outside of Germany. Can’t go wrong with GB’s Sommerbrau.
Sunner Kolsch – If you’re looking to try a traditional kolsch from a brewery in Cologne then this is one of your best options. Sunner is the oldest brewery in Cologne and is credited with creating the modern kolsch style. Sunner is one of only about 20 breweries in and around Cologne that can legally call itself a Kolsch brewery. The style name is protected by a regional appelation, similar to that of distinct wine growing regions like Chianti Classico, Châteauneuf-du-Pape or Champagne.
Worthy Brewing Easy Day Kolsch – Another great option in a can from the Bend based brewery. Love the crisp slightly hoppy finish to this version. Total lawnmower/beach day beer.