If you love to discover different beers but are at a loss as to where to begin, may I point you in the direction of this little gem? Introducing East West Kolsch by Boston Brewing Company (Samuel Adams).
Kolsch is a style of ale which hails from Cologne, Germany. It’s traditionally less hoppy than other German pale ales and is strictly defined by the Kolsch Konvention, an agreement between the Cologne Brewers Association.
In 2011 Samuel Adams attempted to put its own version of Kolsch on the map. In keeping with strict Kolsch brewing traditions, top fermenting ale yeasts were used and afterwards the brew was stored at cold lager-like temperatures to help impart a crispy after-taste.
It pours the colour of light straw chamomile tea. There’s not much head to speak of and the carbonation appears relaxed. It smells like elderflower cordial but there’s a definite jasmine kick as well which I imagine comes from the process of aging the beer on a bed of Jasmine Sambac, a night-blooming Asian flower.
First sup confirms that in terms of flavour, this one is all over the map. I get honey, caramel, lots of heavy jasmine, elderflower and the lemony taste which I assume is contributed by the Alsatian Strisselspalt hops. There’s a faint bitter aftertaste but nothing that detracts from the wonderful floral flavours. Any lingering maltiness is swiftly drowned out by the prominent jasmine notes.
Verdict: Pleasantly unusual. It might have been developed in Cologne and brewed in Boston but this beer is more like a summer day in an English country garden in a bottle. You have mellow hoppiness and fruitiness but it is the floral taste which dominates. This is better than soda if you want something refreshing and at 5.1% ABV you can happily enjoy a few. Samuel Adams recommends it be enjoyed with trout but I’d agree that it pairs with any seafood dish you might be enjoying on your travels. Frankly I’d gather this one by the caseload.