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The 8 Best Kolsch-Style Beers to Drink All Summer Long


Like many beer styles, the Kölsch can trace its origins to Germany. But that’s not the only connection to the country. This beer was created in Cologne, Germany, and technically can only be made within 31 miles of the city, according to its 1997 protected geographic indication. That doesn’t stop brewers from all over the United States from making Kölsch-style beers, though.

A great beer for the spring and summer months, Kölsch is known for its crushable, malty, sweet flavor profile featuring fruity notes, gentle spices, and floral hops. It’s crisp, refreshing, dry, and hoppy. What’s not to love on an unseasonably warm spring day or hot summer night?

Instead of making you peruse online retailers or stare gap-jawed in the cooler at your local beer or grocery store, the work has been done for you. Below, you’ll find some of the best Kölsch (true to the geographic region and from Germany) and Kölsch-style (made in America) beers you can find right now. All are refreshing and seasonably appropriate.

Prost Kolsch
Prost Kölsch

This sessionable, 4.8 percent ABV Kölsch-style beer is brewed with Weyermann Premium Pilsner malt and Weyermann Cologne malt as well as German hybrid ale yeast. The hops included are Hallertau Mittelfrüh and Callista. The result is a well-balanced beer with notes of orchard fruits, sweet honey, pilsner malts, and floral, herbal hops. It’s crisp, refreshing, and easy-drinking.

Buy: $10.99
Exhibit A Goody Two Shoes
Exhibit 'A' Goody Two Shoes

If you’ve never tried Exhibit 'A' Goody Two Shoes, it’s time to try it. This award-winning, German-style Kölsch was crafted to pay tribute to the German-born Kölsch beers that came before it. It’s brewed with Weyermann Pilsner malt, Valley Malt Warthog Wheat, Valley Malt Vienna Malt, and as well as Tettnanger and Mandarina Bavaria hops. This creates a clean, very crisp session beer with a ton of citrus flavor, honey, cracker malts, and floral hops.

Buy: $15.49
Fair State Kold
Fair State Köld

This year-round love letter to the city of Cologne is brewed with Sterling hops, Kölsch yeast, Carafoam malt, and North Star Pils malts. This crushable refreshing beer is known for its balance between malts, yeast, and hops. Flavors like fruit esters, honey, citrus peels, and floral hops make for a memorable beer. The finish is crisp, and dry, and leaves you craving more. Just crack open another can. You know you want to.

Buy: $10.99
Reissdorf Kolsch
Reissdorf Kölsch

No Kölsch list is complete without a traditional favorite from the city of Cologne. One of the best is Reissdorf Kölsch. Founded in 1894, this top-fermented beer is then cold-matured to give it its distinct, crisp, refreshing taste. The result is a highly flavorful, thirst-quenching beer with notes of bready malts, candied orange peels, honey, and floral, earthy hops. The finish is dry and gently bitter. It’s the kind of beer you’ll go back to again and again.

Buy: $12.99
2nd Shift Kolsch
2nd Shift Kölsch

St. Louis-based 2nd Shift has been cranking out great beers since it opened in 2010. One of its best spring and summer beers is 2nd Shift Kölsch. Brewed with Saaz hops, it’s known for its aromas of bready malts, orchard fruits, honey, fruit esters, and floral, piney hops. The palate is filled with bready malts, yeast, citrus peels, orchard fruits, honey, and more floral hops. The finish is crisp, and refreshing, and leaves you wishing you had a few more cans.

Buy: $7.99
Notch Kolsch
Notch Kölsch

This 4.5 percent ABV, crushable session beer is brewed with pilsner malt and Kölsch yeast, and gets its hop aromas and flavor from the addition of Spalt hops. This creates a thirst-quencher perfect for the warm spring day and hazy summer nights ahead. It’s loaded flavors that include yeasty bread, cracker-like malts, orchard fruits, grape peels, honey, light spices, and herbal, piney hops. It’s crisp, dry, and highly crushable all year long.

Buy: $13.99
Dovetail Kolsch
Dovetail Kölsch

Dovetail is the kind of brewery that seems to make nothing but thirst-quenching, memorable beers. One of the best warm-weather sippers is its Dovetail Kölsch. This sessionable 4.6 percent ABV take on the classic German style is known for its well-balanced flavor profile featuring notes of ripe fruit, citrus peels, orchard fruits, bready malts, and herbal, spicy hops. It’s so refreshing and drinkable that you just might crack open one more (or two) after your first pint. Don’t worry, there’s no judgment here.

Buy: $8.99
Von Trapp Kolsch
von Trapp Kölsch

Before we go any further, you should know that the von Trapp family who owns and operates the von Trapp Brewery in Stowe, Vermont, is the same family from "The Sound of Music." That being said, their beers are anything but a musically-driven gimmick. They’re crafting authentic European beers and one of the best is von Trapp Kölsch. This 5 percent ABV, year-round offering is known for its balance of German malts and hops and its crisp, refreshing flavor profile. What’s not to love?

Buy: $12.99
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