I had to look this one up on Wikipedia, but Kölsch is a local beer speciality of Cologne, Germany. This, of course, made the title of Sam Adams East-West Kolsch make a whole lot more sense in its reference to Berlin. Further reading revealed that ordering a Kölsch in the wrong town or pub can lead to harassment and has led to violence in the past. Oh those crazy Germans.
I found a couple bottles of East-West tucked away in the Sam Adams Summer Variety pack. I had originally intended to use these bottle to make some bratwurst, but thought it couldn’t hurt to give one of them a try.
Kölsch beers are typically poured into tall, thin glasses because the taste deteriorates quickly in this style and less surface area means the beer lasts longer. I used the thinnest pilsner glass I had in this spirit.
East-West pours a clear, straw yellow that is nearly translucent. There was very little carbonation in East-West (although my picture did catch a beautiful array of bubbles rushing to the top) and virtually no head formed. The only aroma that emerged from East-West was a clean hop taste with very little else present. My first taste revealed what my nose detected – clean, fresh hops, not extremely bitter like a pale ale, but still prevalent. I detected a floral under note somewhere, but it was not strong enough for me to identify. The finish was clean and refreshing.
Generally, I would say this is a light, refreshing beer with a decent flavor profile. On the Sam Adams website, they indicate that this is only the second year East-West has been brewed. They also explained that the floral note I detected was jasmine. They age East-West on a bed of Jasmine flowers to extract a light trace of the flower’s aroma. This is the only Kölsch style beer I have ever had and it makes me want to try others to compare. That said, I can’t say East-West is anything special. East-West is a good beer – well balanced and refreshing. I like it as part of a variety park, but I can’t see myself purchasing a six pack separately.