Beer: Loral Roberts
Brewery: American Solera (Tulsa, OK)
5% ABV / N/A IBU
By definition, the Kŏlsch is a low gravity and highly drinkable style, representing old-world brewing traditions centered around the city of Cologne. Germany. It bears some similarities with filtered and top-fermented German hefeweizens, marzens and festbiers – where these beers flow, steins and dirndls can’t be far behind. But the calling card of the Kŏlsch is that it’s quite pale and light-bodied, with a taste that recalls lightly-hopped mineral water. It’s so low gravity that open-air festival fans can pound it to avoid heatstroke and/or use it as a bathing aid.
I came prepared to hate American Solera’s Loral Roberts. The Kŏlsch is a style that practically resists innovation and one that is very elemental – it’s reliant on local ingredients that are out of reach for most American brewers. It’s also a highly specific and regulated style (based on Germany purity laws), so much so that anything brewed outside of a 50km radius of Cologne is truly a Kŏlsch-style ale. But Loral Robberies is a very good rendition of the style, reasonably authentic in execution but with a character-transforming twist of dry-hopping.
Loral Roberts pours with a thick and creamy head, leading to foam residue on the side of the glass and a uniquely fluffy, cloud-like type of lacing. This is one that you can probably drink straight out of the can, because it’s not much to look at, but the flavor is great. Loral Roberts is, in turns, fruity like a Granny Smith apple and floral (thanks to the Loral hops). It also smells faintly of honeysuckle, which you really pick up on when it’s poured into a wide-mouthed goblet. And the dry-hopping is a master stroke. American Solera keeps finding new and novel ways to showcase hop varietals; now we’re waiting to see what magic the Tulsa brewery can perform on other styles that are not typically hop-forward.
For more info, check out American Solera here.