If imitation is truly the sincerest form of flattery, Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei Kölsch is a symbol of outright adulation. Traditionally brewed in Köln, Germany, kölsch beers are known to carry a light to medium body, pale color, with a medium hop bitterness. Recent industry trends have led an increasing number of American brewers to try their hand at brewing kolsch beers with their own signature notes. While I wouldn’t say the Kihei Kölsch is transcendent of the style it embodies, it is a prime example of the kölsch-style being done justice outside of its homeland.
A limited-edition brew, Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei Kölsch is self-described by the brewer as a “light, crisp, and flavorful offering. Brewed with the lightest European malts, a blend of traditional German noble hops, and spicy, citrusy hops from the Pacific Northwest.” Personally, I can attest to the beer’s crisp and light flavor, but I can’t say I detected much spice. This bubbly brew carried with it a grainy, malty scent, and the flavor followed to match. It is a clean drink through and through, with a slightly sweet finish typical of many lighter brews found in Hawaii. If you’re looking for a direct comparison, I’d say it is similar to Kona Brewery’s Big Wave Pilsner, but with a slightly deeper, more hops-centric flavor.
At 5.2% ABV and 42 IBUs, Kihei Kölsch is a nice sessionable beer that is best drunk while chilled or at room temperature, making it a prime beer to accompany a beach picnic or barbecue. I very much enjoyed Maui Brewing Company’s Kihei Kolsch. It’s a style of beer that I hope to continue to see develop stateside, largely due to its delicate balance of hops and malt flavors. It’s a shame this run of the brew seems to be limited edition, because it’s one I could certainly enjoy on a more regular basis. As I said before, it’s not anything overly remarkable or unique but, it’s the type of beer that I can see fitting a variety of both day-to-day and special occasions, and that is noteworthy in its own right.