River Horse Wuddermelon Kolsch

Val read on Facebook awhile back that this was released on draft at the brewery. We decided to take a trip out so I could give it a shot. It’s been a few years since the brewery moved to my town and the space is awesome. They do a lot of cool events, especially the craft fairs, that we find ourselves going to for a few hours. Even when nothing is going on, the tasting room is usually quiet and comfortable.

ABV: 4.1%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: This beer is to benefit the Philadelphia Zoo, which I’ve never been to before.

Random: One of my biggest pet peeves is when people intentionally misspell words to be cheeky. Not my thing.

The beer poured with a half a finger of off white head. It dissipated slowly and still managed to leave some lacing on my fancy plastic cup. The body was cloudy and bright orange. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose had notes of watermelon Italian ice and wheat. The taste was much of the same. It was all of the good parts of a watermelon ice with some wheat as well. The yeast came through next with a touch of mineral water. The body was thin and had a lot of carbonation. The finish was quick with watermelon. The cup cost me $3 at the brewery, which broke down to $.25 per ounce. I don’t know if it’s because I had this while it was hot out, but it just hit the spot for me and I really enjoyed it. This could easily be a Summer go to for me.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Harpoon Captain Kolsch

Val and I are back from our honeymoon and took the day after we landed off to relax. I’m busy doing laundry and updating the blog while Val naps.

ABV: 4.8%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “We were pumped when our friends at Trader Joe’s asked us if we’d like to brew a beer with them; like us, they’re always up for having fun. As we threw around different styles, the idea of a twist on the traditional Kolsch style had everyone jazzed. The name itself is not only a nod to the super beer inside the bottle, it’s also a nod to both the Trader Joe’s Captains who welcome customers to their stores each day and the Harpoon Beer Captains who welcome beer lovers to our breweries every day. A superhero among beers, Captain Kolsch packs a subtly sweet, slightly hopped aroma and a light body. But before you can say “to the Kolschmobile!” Captain Kolsch swoops in with a crisp hop bitterness and balanced finish. Crimson-hued, refreshing, and moving even faster than a Trader Joe’s Captain, this is not your typical Kolsch. It’s a beer! It’s balanced! It’s….Captain Kolsch!”

Random: This was first brewed in 2017.

The beer poured with a finger and a half of off-white head. It went away quickly and left limited lacing on the glass. The body was an unexpected reddish-brown and clear. It had some carbonation visible. The nose started with a lot of toasted malt and brown bread. It had a nuttiness to it as well with some floral hops. The taste was nothing like I expected for a kolsch. If anything, it reminded me a lot more of an Amber. It had a lot of malt and nuttiness, specifically hazelnuts and almonds. The brown bread note that came out in the nose was present in the taste as well. The floral hops came through as well with some bready yeast. The body was on the heavier side, especially for a kolsch. It had a decent amount of carbonation. The finish was quick and nutty. I think I picked this one up at Trader Joe’s, but I don’t remember how much it was. Either way, this beer was a miss for me. If you’re looking for a kolsch, this isn’t what you want.

Untappd Rating: 2.5/5.0

Manor Hill Katherine’s Kolsch

It’s been awhile since I’ve had a kolsch, especially one that I can’t get in Jersey. Let’s get to it.

ABV: 5.1%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Like most roads on the journey of life, this adventure has been full of twists and turns. Mary and Randy Marriner, with their two daughters, Rachael and Tori, own Victoria Restaurant Group. They opened Victoria Gastro Pub in November 2007. It would remain the only restaurant operated by the Victoria Restaurant Group until 2017. Manor Hill Tavern in Old Ellicott City would become their second restaurant in February 2017 and will be followed by the third concept, Food Plenty, later in 2017. The journey toward brewing beer started in earnest in late 2011 when the Marriners sold their home in western Howard County and purchased, a 54 acre working farm in Ellicott City. At the time, there was no home on the new site, just an old block barn and a single wide trailer that housed the farm hand. The farm was half field crops and half beef cattle. After taking possession, Mary began designing the house and fixing the barn: evicting the raccoon tenants, replacing the leaky roof, putting a new skin of stone and stucco to the grey block building, pouring concrete floors where there had been just dirt, adding wooden garage doors, and re-grading the surrounding land with berms and retaining walls. Construction of their house began shortly thereafter. The Marriners were seemingly content to maintain the farm and operate Victoria Gastro Pub as they had been, until Mary read an article in Food Arts magazine. The article featured Oskar Blues Brewery in Denver, CO and its owner, Dale Katechis. They learned that he also has a 50 acre farm, half in field crops and half in beef cattle. And his farm is located in between two restaurants. As Mary read on, she kept saying, ‘This is us, this is us’. Randy responded, ‘What? We have one restaurant, a 50 acre farm, but no brewery!’ Soon after that conversation, Randy discovered that the 2012 Maryland General Assembly recently passed legislation that established ‘Farm Breweries’ who by definition would feature home-grown barley, hops, and/or fruits in their beer. So, in September of 2012, Randy filed for a Farm Brewery license. Following nearly 18 months of legislative hurdles and permitting obstacles, Manor Hill Brewing became official, making it Howard County’s first farm brewery on February 1, 2014. Brewing began in small test batches in early 2015, with full-scale production launched in May, 2015. In addition to the beef cattle and fields of planted feed corn, wheat, and soy, Mary has a garden that produces tomatoes, herbs, squash and squash blossoms, zucchini, asparagus, blackberries, blueberries, and much more. The crops from Mary’s garden are used at Victoria Gastro Pub, Manor Hill Tavern, as well as ingredients for Manor Hill beers.”

Random: This beer is listed in the “Special Release, Limited and Retired” section, so I’m not sure if they are still making it.

The beer poured with a huge, four finger white head and it took forever to dissipate. Lots of lacing was left behind on the glass. The body was hazy and bright yellow with light carbonation visible. The nose was filled with lemon zest and lemon balm. It had a powdered lemonade note to it as well. I’m not used to a kolsch having this much lemon. The taste had just as much lemon and was bordering on tart. It had grass and leaves and finished with some yeast. The body was heavy for style with light carbonation. It had a lengthy finish with yeast. This was another beer that I bought in DC and I forgot how much it was, but this beer was a complete miss for me.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0

Beau’s Haters Gonna Hate

I’ve never heard of this brewery, so I was curious to see how it was. Let’s crack it open.


ABV: 8%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “Haters Gonna Hate is an extra-strong interpretation of our flagship beer Lug Tread, which is a Kölsch-style lagered ale. Tropical aromas and a mildly ‘catty’ character are contributed with the addition of some Nelson-Sauvin hops. Haters Gonna Hate is a tribute to the very first batch of Lug Tread, which ended up getting accidentally imperialized – that is, brewed to higher strength and intensity – due to some faulty beer-making equipment. The results were super tasty and ended up winning ‘Best of the Fest’ at the Golden Tap Awards. Ten years later, we’ve recreated this happy accident with Haters Gonna Hate. Haters Gonna Hate is unfiltered, strong, and has a golden orange hue. The aroma suggests funky tropical fruits such as mango or papaya, and is also enhanced with some mildly musky Nelson Sauvin hops. A clean malt presence allows for full display of the hop-driven fruit flavours and balanced moderate-to-high bitterness.”

Random: I never get sick of watching “Top Chef.”

The beer poured with a two finger, white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was very floral and fragrant with some pilsner malt. The taste had a little bit of funk with flower petals and mineral water. It had some tropical fruit as well with mango. The alcohol was well-hidden. It had a moderately thick body with high carbonation. The finish was lengthy and floral. A bottle of this was $8.99, which came to $.41 per ounce. I enjoyed this beer a lot and the label being adorable was just a bonus. If you see this on the shelf, I would give it a shot.

Untappd Rating: 4.0/5.0

Land-Grant 1862 Ale

This was another one of the beers that I had out in Ohio that I can’t manage to find a picture for. Can you tell yet how much it’s irritating me? The Virgo in me is being driven absolutely insane about the fact that the pictures disappeared off my phone.


ABV: 5.3%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “In 1862, President Lincoln signed the Morrill Act into law, giving the American populous the opportunity to seek a higher education. It called for one great state university in each state, and inadvertently led to tailgate parties, marching bands, fight songs and Bowl Games. Our 1862 Ale –a dry-hopped American take on the classic German beer– combines the crisp clean flavor of German Noble hops with the floral aromatics of American hops.”

Random: I’ve been watching a show about women in prison on Netflix while Val is at work.

The beer poured with a half a finger of white head. It dissipated slowly and left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body had a lot of floaties in it. The color was straw-yellow and it had a lot of carbonation. The nose was crisp and clean with grain and not much else. The taste was a lot of crystal malt up front with some mineral water. It also had white bread crust too. It had a medium thick body, which is much heavier than I’m used to for the style, but still had a lot of carbonation. It had a lengthy bread crust and white flour finish. This was a good beer, I just wish that it was lighter.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

2 Tones SunRaze Hoppy Kolsch

This was another selection that I had in Ohio. One of the managers that I was training wanted to come out for a beer, so I took him to Hop Yard 62. He lives in the Short North, which is a really cute neighborhood in Columbus that he took me to watch a Blue Jackets game. One thing that struck me at the bar is how many random conversations I had at that bar. Everyone in Ohio is ridiculously friendly, which I’m not used to, but was a welcomed change. I had a lot of great conversations about beer at the bar.


ABV: 5.7%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: This comes in at 42 IBUs.

Random: The bar also had a great soundtrack going. One afternoon, we played “Guess That Tune.”

This beer poured with a quarter of a finger of pure white head. The head was really thick and took awhile to dissipate. It left a decent amount of lacing on the glass. The body was slightly hazy and bright yellow. There was a lot of carbonation visible. The nose was filled with grass, river stones and mineral water. The taste had a touch of citrus, but was dominated by a grainy malt. It also had mineral water and river stones. The body was light and bright with lots of carbonation, making it very drinkable. It had a quick finish with mineral water. This wasn’t the best kolsch that I’ve ever had, but was a great beer to kill during Happy Hour. I would have this one again.

Untappd Rating: 3.5/5.0

Devils Backbone Ale Of Two Cities

I’ve been getting into lighter beers lately. I’ve heard the evolution of the craft beer drinker discussed on many a podcast and I definitely fit that. I started with the big hoppy beers, the higher the IBUs the better. I transitioned into the barrel aged beers and then the funky, sour ones. Now, I’m back into the land of pilsners and kolschs. A really good pilsner or kolsch is quite refreshing and I’m hoping this one is up to the challenge.


ABV: 4.7%

Style: Kolsch

Trivia: According to the brewery website, “The next beer from the family brew project is a Kolsch-style ale using American hops, with the two cities being Cologne in German and Lexington, VA where our Outpost brewery is located. Enjoy this crisp golden ale.”

Random: This beer came in at 18 IBUs.

The brew poured with a finger of white head that dissipated quickly, but left a lot of lacing on the glass. The body was a clear, straw yellow with high carbonation visible. The nose was very grainy and had a honey-like sweetness. There was some grass, but the grain took over. The taste was also on the sweeter side with milled grain and honey. It had a lightly toasted white bread note with mild hop aroma. The body was light with high carbonation and had a quick, toasted grain finish. This beer didn’t really do it for me. It didn’t drink like a typical kolsch and it couldn’t decide where it wanted to go. I won’t be having it again.

Untappd Rating: 3.0/5.0