Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Letters, E-Mails: Looking for Kolsh in the USA

By William Brand
Sunday, February 24th, 2008 at 3:47 pm in Uncategorized.

Steamworks BrewingHi Bill, I read your column regularly in the Argus, and thanks for all the great recommendations. I spent the weekend with my in-laws, who live in Durango, CO. My brother-in-law brought me a couple bottles of Steamworks Kolsch, which I’ve enjoyed while in Colorado.

This probably isn’t the best time of year to be chasing locally-brewed (or at least available), but I’ve finished off my stash of Anderson Valley Winter Solstice ale and am looking for something new.
I searched the blog and didn’t find any kolsch listed. Do you know of any good locally brewed (or at least available) kolsch? I hear the Mammoth Brewing Co. makes a good one but am not sure where to get it locally (East Bay, but I’m willing to drive). Thanks Greg

Hi Greg…. well, the best place for Kolsch is in Cologne or within 50 miles of there. No comparison between what American craft brewers make and the real thing. The combination of ancient yeasts, the particular water and recipes make it special. However,. there are a few quite drinkable around, although they tend to be summer beers here. Pyramid makes Curve Ball in late spring and summer; if you can find it now, it’ll probably be fairly old.

Drake’s San Leandro makes Drake’s Blonde Ale in the Kolsch style. I like it; it’s got a nice malty taste with a crisp hop finish. Believe it or not, Beverages and More usually stocks it. The head brewer, Josh Miner, also has just created an Imperial Kolsch. Won’t be bottled, but it’s going to make its way into pubs around here. Loved that one.

Another I’ve tried that I like is Flying Dog Tire Bite. But again, it’s usually around in the summer. People tell me Victory (Downingtown, PA) makes a nice Kolsch, but I’ve never tried it or seen it around here

Dave McLean at Magnolia’s on Haight in S.F. makes Kalifornia Kolsch, a hoppy, American version. Again, probably not on tap these days. b

Hi Bill, Well, if I can make it to Köln just to try the beer, I certainly will. :) I’ve had a couple bottles of the ‘real’ stuff imported from Germany, but it’s hard to find.

Thanks for the recommendations on the local ones. I actually travel several times a year to central Pennsylvania on business, so maybe next time I’m there (especially if it’s closer to summer), I’ll try to find the Victory one (if I succeed — and remember — I’ll bring one back for you). Greg

I’m counting on that one Greg. b

Know of a good Kolsch-style ale? Let us know. Post a comment here. wb

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  • brewnot

    Faultline brewing in Sunnyvale often has a Kolsch on tap. They also have an Alt (Kolsch’s cousin) on tap regularly.

    Cask conditioned Ales are also available.

    Good beer to be had at The Faultline. They are open Monday-Friday, closed on weekends.