Last night we tasted 3 different versions of Kolsch at the brew club meeting. Kolsch is not my favorite style, it is really just another pilsner style but made in Cologne, Germany. A true Kolsch must be made in Cologne, but like champagne, it is made all over.
The first sample was Alaskan Brewing's Summer Ale. It was a drinkable beer, but really kind of 'yeah, it's beer, but nothing special'. I realize my tastes are for more flavorful, hoppy beers, and this one would be good on a hot summer day. Lawnmower beer comes to mind.
The second sample was brewed by Rob, a member of the club. This one was best in my mind. The first taste reminded me of apples. It has a nice color and a good flavor, and is a beer I'd like to have had more than just a small sample.
The third beer tasted like it had been in the bottle too long. Kolsch should be fresh, this tasted like it had actually come from Germany and wasn't handled well in transit, and that in fact was the case. I didn't catch the brand name, but I've had this experience with other German beers. When I was stationing in Germany, the beer was excellent. When I got back to the States and tried to find those same beers, the quality was definitely lacking.
So good job, Rob, local is best!