The Best Kölsch-Style Beers For Summer ’19, According To Brewers


It’s only early June, but we’re already deeeeep in the summer mood. Honestly, why do we have to wait until June 21st to make it official? We should start a petition to make Summer begin on June 1st. Or mid-May, even. The weather already feels like summer and hot days are just around the corner. Who needs “late spring” anyway?

On humid, heat-filled days, most of us reach for lower alcohol content, lighter, more refreshing beers. No one wants a heavy, dark, rich beer that’s going to slosh in your belly like maple syrup when the weather demands a subtly sweet, drinkable beer like a kölsch. This low ABV, German-style ale is perfectly suited for drinking on sweat-stained, sun-soaked summer days.

Originating in Cologne, Germany, kölsch-style beers are sessionable, crushable, light, and subtly sweet. It’s the kind of beer you want to reach for to ruin your diet after a long-distance run on a hot day — thirst-quenching to the max. The Gatorade of the beer world. Brewers enjoy this style just as much as we do, so we asked some of our favorite brewers to tell us their go-to kölsch beers for summer drinking.

Terrapin Golden Ale

Jason Santamaria, co-founder and brewmaster at Second Self Brewing Co.

What’s my favorite Kolsch/Blonde ale I don’t make myself and why? Terrapin’s Golden was one of the beers that first got me into craft beer. It’s light, crisp, clean and refreshing.

pFriem Kolsch

Rhett Dougherty, head brewer at Veza Sur Brewing Co.

My favorite thing about Kolsch is its inherent sessionability. We are following suit in Miami with our Lagers being served in the traditional Brazilian form of Chopp. For Kolsch, pFriem Family Brewers Kölsch is setting the highest bar in my opinion. Extremely clean and sessionable, this beer redefines summer beer refreshment.

Prost Kolsch

Mike Stoneburg, brewmaster at Blue Point Brewing Company

My go-to Kolsch to drink in the summer? Prost’s Kolsch out of Denver, Colorado. Prost brews some awesome traditional German beers like their Kolsch. Light, refreshing, and hits the spot.

Future Primitive Moment Blond

Josh Waldman, brewmaster at Elysian Brewing Company

What’s my favorite Kolsch to drink in the summer? Future Primitive – Moment Blond. So good. Delicate, floral, low phenols, perfect bitterness. The blond I want to brew.

Elevation 8 Second Kolsch

Cody Reif, research & development brewer at New Belgium Brewing

What’s my kolsch/blonde ale I don’t make? Elevation’s 8 Second Kolsch, I’m not sure how they made this beer both super complex and also incredibly clean. You can bury your nose in the glass and pick out all the aromas or you can session it for an entire evening. I like to do both.

Reissdorf Kölsch

Scott Ungermann, brewmaster at Anchor Brewing

My go-to Kolsch for summer is Reissdorf Kölsch. It’s a classic from Köln which I was lucky enough to have there many years ago – another that stands the test of time.

Von Trapp Kolsch

Chris Rockwood, head brewer at Magic Hat Brewing Company

Von Trapp Kolsch: The team over at Von Trapp Brewing put their focus on brewing lagers and the results are always splendid. Their Kolsch may only be offered in the summer season, but it is a fantastic representation of such a delicate style.

Ska True Blonde

Tim Matthews, head of brewing operations at Oskar Blues Brewing

I love it when malt shines through in a blonde. Ska’s True Blonde has a beautiful breadiness that reminds me of chewing fresh malt at the malt house.

Firestone Walker 805

Joe Connolly, director of Springdale Beer

Firestone 805 because If I’m drinking it, I’m probably in California. What good New Englander doesn’t dream of 60-degree weather, all the time?