Summit German-Style Kölsch

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Beer Profile

  • Brewery: Summit Brewing Company
  • Website:
  • Country: United States
  • State: Minnesota
  • Style: Kölsch
  • Malts:
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  • Tasting Notes:
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  • PHM Grade: B+

Summit German-Style Kölsch

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Yet another strange tale from the annals of German beer. This Kölsch isn’t really a Kölsch. Neither is any Kölsch you’ve ever had…unless it was brewed in Colgne (Köln), Germany (following certain brewing instructions, of course). Yet clearly, German regulations about only brewing a certain style of beer in a certain city aren’t about to stop American craft breweries. This unique style is being copied all over the US, and we should be thankful for that.

Summit’s offering poured a somewhat cloudy straw color…although no wheat malt is used in the brewing. The smell was fruity and fresh, and there was loads of carbonation. You can tell just by looking at it that this is a summer beer through and through.

Apparently Kölsch isn’t really a lager, though. Or perhaps it’s more of an ale-lager hybrid. It’s top fermented at a warmer temperature, and then lagered later in the fermenting process. I’m interested to know what subtleties this creates that are unique to the style…but as for my still developing taste buds, it was all lager to me. It’s nicely balanced, and therefore a great session beer. This one has mild toasty malt upfront and some spicy, grassy bitterness from the hops to finish; flavorful, but not overpowering in the least. The yeast used also adds a nice little “fruity” crispness, although I’m not sure what fruit, really. But it doesn’t matter. In the 5 to 10 minutes I spent trying to determine what exactly it tasted like, I drank three quarters of my glass. Probably the most refreshing beer I’ve had since last Fall.

I’m actually left wondering whether the refreshing factor could/should push this beer into A- territory. Kölsch seems perfectly suited for the dog days of summer, and Summit’s is extremely palatable. Unfortunately, I don’t have a plethora of Kölsch (Kölsches?) under my belt to compare it to. And the sweltering Chicago heat isn’t here yet. Still…bravo, Summit.

ABV: 4.7%

Grade: B+

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Comments
  1. Thanks for the review Noel! Did you just taste the Kolsch? I’m curious because it is a bit past it’s prime-it was brewed at the end of last summer! Good to hear it can still rate a B+!

    Carey — March 24th, 2010, 11:06 am
  2. Carey,
    Yes, the Kolsch was perhaps past its prime, but I still enjoyed it. I’d love to get my hands on some from a new batch…

    Noel — March 24th, 2010, 10:37 pm
  3. I discovered Kolsch style beer a couple years ago and I found all 4 of them I tried to be similar in refreshment on a warm summer day. Good flavor without being overpowering and not wimpy like they could have gotten. I eagerly await another summer of Kolsch from a number of local breweries. Summit seemed to have a pretty good run last summer and I extended its season until late November. Still pretty good on those cooler fall days too.

    Randy — March 26th, 2010, 4:31 pm
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