By Iron Chef Leftovers
We are into October, which usually means Fresh Hop and Pumpkin beers, but there are still a few straggling summerish brews out there, one of which is still on tap at NW Peaks – their Kyes Kolsch. I am not a huge fan of kolsch, it is fine, but it is rarely my “go to” style of beer as it lacks much of what I love about beer – bold flavors and complexity. Would NW Peaks change my mind, we shall see.
From the NW Peaks website:
The name. The mountain. Kyes Peak is a lesser known peak located in the Monte Cristo group. It is rises from one of my favorite lakes in the North Cascades: Blanca lake. Blanca lake offers a wonderful day hike on nice trail with Kyes and the other mountains in the Monte Cristo group offering some nice scrambles of varying difficulties and exposures.
The beer. Like the mountain, the kolsch style is lesser known amongst the US audience, but gaining popularity. Our interpretation is light, refreshing, and contains some fruity notes from the yeast fermentation on top of a very bready backbone. Compared to other examples of the style, Kyes is slightly lower in alcohol and strength, and hence the lighter fruity notes from the yeast. This is a light, refreshing, crisp, straw colored beer, perfect for quenching the thirst on a hot summer afternoon. Original gravity: 1.043. Finishing gravity: 1.008.
ABV 4.5%. Malts: pils, wheat. Hops: Hallertau.
The beer pours very pale yellow in color, almost clear but with a heady amount of yeast and grain on the nose interspersed with touches of lemon. The beer is surprisingly bold for such a light beer – plenty of yeast and grain at the beginning before transitioning to a slightly fruity middle and finishing off with light hops and a slightly sweet/bitter slide of bread, yeast and hops. The finish is long and delicious and slightly Belgian as the beer warms – there were very light notes of cloves and banana that were barely detectable. The beer has a great deal of complexity and layered flavors and could stand up on its own on either a warm summer day or a chilly rainy one.
NW Peaks Kyes Kolsch alters my perceptions of the style with a strong 4 mindbenders out of 5.