Absent Landlord
Cowbell Brewing Co.

Absent LandlordAbsent Landlord
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Ranked #251
Ranked #38,670
3.63 | pDev: 10.74%
Cowbell Brewing Co.
Ontario, Canada
Absent LandlordAbsent Landlord
Notes: Absent Landlord is our expression of a Kölsch-style beer, brewed with a perfect combination of old world and new world ingredients, fermented warm, and left honest. It's unfiltered and unpasteurized to let its elegant and delicious flavours stand proud.
Reviews: 14 | Ratings: 43 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of InspectorHound
InspectorHound from Canada

3.73/5  rDev +2.8%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

Look: Warm yellow with a slight haziness. 1 1/2 fingers of fluffy white head with great retention. 5 minutes after pour there was still a half finger of head.
Smell: Sweet, green apples, wet grass. Pretty subtle.
Taste: Sweet, with a bready malt backbone. Bitter aftertaste.
Feel: Creamy at the start turning crisp in the end. Lots on the front of the tongue, nothing at play past the middle of the tongue.
I'm a sucker for a nice Kolsch. This beer earns a solid B to B+.

Mar 28, 2020
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Mysticmage from Canada

3.47/5  rDev -4.4%
look: 3 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3.5

Poured into a pint from a 473 mL may 2018 batch. Pours clear golden but had no collar which was disapponting. Flat affect continued throughout then drink. Quite a sweet nose here of cereal and fruits. Taste is crisp and clean with fruity tones continued here. Only an 18IBU here so very easy drinking. Would be curious to have this on draft.

Aug 25, 2018
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patre_tim from Thailand

3.18/5  rDev -12.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Straw filtered with tons of fine bubbled carbonation, and topped with a huge 6 fingers of head.

Smells of pale malts, a hint of lemon, and a hint of white wine.

Tastes of clean linen, malts, a fair amount of tartness, and a dull, bitter finish.

Light body, with very little carbonation.

Drinking in Muskoka, Feb 27th, 2018.

Feb 28, 2018
Photo of Easton70
Easton70 from Canada

2.76/5  rDev -24%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 2.25 | overall: 2.75

I bought a can of this on my way home from work.

It pours a typical golden colour but has little in the way of head and virtually no aroma.

This tastes like a poor lager. It’s initially sweet but quickly dries up with a slightly harsh finish that spoils and otherwise reasonable beer.

Feb 15, 2018
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dipso123 from Oregon

3.49/5  rDev -3.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.5

On tap
Overall a very drinkable blonde ale with a hint of Kolsch yeast character. Still not very Kolsch-like and missing the crisp clean finish of the Koln beers.

Sep 17, 2017
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Phyl21ca from Canada

3.27/5  rDev -9.9%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.25 | feel: 3.25 | overall: 3.25

Can: Poured a clear golden color Kolsch with a medium size white foamy head with OK retention and some lacing. Aroma of light cereal notes with residual sugar notes and light buttery notes is OK. Taste is a mix of light buttery notes with some cereal notes and light residual sugar notes. Body is about average with good carbonation. Though style to master and this take isn’t bad but it is not great either.

Jan 12, 2017
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TerryW from Canada

3.94/5  rDev +8.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

A kolsch is not generally my favorite style as they come across to me as too sweet. But kudos to these guys for pulling off something a little more interesting. Slightly foggy apricot gold. The sweetness is still there, but it somehow comes across a bit like a saison. Hoppy and fruity, grassy and a touch of earthiness. Subdued nose, but more engaging flavourwise. A little bit of a bite from carbonation.

It is subtly unusual in an interesting way, which makes it worth a try I think.

Nov 25, 2016
Photo of Roby923
Roby923 from Canada

4.15/5  rDev +14.3%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4.25

Impressive kolsch brew. Full of fresh herbal taste, perfect for afternoon sampling. Lots of floral characteristics and lemongrass. Canned from the LCBO.

Oct 28, 2016
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Tsar_Riga from Indiana

3.69/5  rDev +1.7%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.75

A - Golden orange, clear body. Minor head cast, no lacing.

S - Nose is extraordinarily quiet.

T - Sweet, fruit notes, a bit of earthy hops, minor bitterness in the close.

M - Brisk. Mild drying.

O - Not terribly interesting but quite drinkable.

Oct 11, 2016
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al_al1357 from Canada

4.17/5  rDev +14.9%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4.25 | taste: 4.25 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Pours a cloudy golden hue with about an inch of head that quickly dissipates. Smell is clean, sparkling wine-like, floral, fruity and malty. Taste follows the smell - this beer is mildly sweet with a very soft bitterness, with malts, honey and lemongrass present. Small but good amount of carbonation. This beer is very easy to drink. It is refreshing and perfect for a summer day. Finish is almost dry-like.

Sep 06, 2016
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bevvy1 from Canada

3.09/5  rDev -14.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Poured out a golden colour, not too much head, just like a Kolsch. Somewhat effervescent, just like a Kolsch. That's where it stops. Mouthfeel is somewhat thicker than a true Kolsch and tastes more like an ale. Taste is good but I'm getting ale notes instead of Kolsch. Decent bitterness makes it a refreshing brew but not necessarily memorable or a good imitation of the real German thing.

Aug 02, 2016
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Rukeli76 from Canada

3.9/5  rDev +7.4%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 4 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473ml can picked up the LCBO. I'm not convinced this one is really on-style as a Kölsch (for one thing it's a bit too malty and fruity) but it's a really interesting and flavourful pale ale. Lots of unripe apple and stone fruit aromas and flavours blend well with the vinous malt. A lovely summer beer I'll pick up next time I see it.

Jul 19, 2016
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taxandbeerguy from Canada

3.71/5  rDev +2.2%
look: 3.25 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

473 ml can served cold into a tall MGD glass. Purchased from a local LCBO for around $2.80 CDN. Canned June 14, 2016. Yet another new Ontario brewery getting into the game with a Kolsch. After submitting my review, I noticed a lot of commonalities with thehyperduck and how it was a bit of a difficult beer to grade.

Appearance - Pours a vibrant orange and yellow colored beer with a small three quarter finger white head with better than expected retention time. Not much lacing (but what lingers is good) and a very hazy beer as it is unfiltered, looking more reminiscent of a Hefeweizen (minus the big white head) than anything else.

Smell - Some clean and grainy aromas, a mild earthy, vinous and sulphur combo in there too and just a hint of spice in the coriander direction to make a hybrid combo with a wit an apt comparison.

Taste - Clean and grainy, lacking the vinous flavors I often associate with Kolsch, but there is a subtle bitterness here, reminiscent of an easy drinking English pale ale or bitter. Some mineral flavors on the close.

Mouthfeel - Soft body, expressive carbonation, moderatley dry finish. Nice feel and slightly creamy texture.

Overall - I'm torn on how to grade Absent landlord, because it is an enjoyable and reasonably light summer beer, tastes and looks quite fine, but definitely is unique in the Kolsch world. I decided not to be too harsh on the grading to style (which I try to do to a certain extent) and just take it for what it was and leave an open ended style here (english pale ale, american pale lager, blonde ale, with elements of wit and hefe's as well). Worthy of a try and reasonably priced too.

Jul 03, 2016
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thehyperduck from Canada

3.67/5  rDev +1.1%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 4

Tallboy can picked up at the LCBO in Grand Bend; dated Jun 2 2016 and served well-chilled.

Pours a cloudy, translucent golden hue, producing a half centimetre of bubbly froth that vanishes almost immediately. Save for a few wisps, there is not much in the way of collar, lace or cap left behind - just a bare surface. Subtle aroma with notes of grainy, doughy malts and grassy, floral hops. Hints of honey, along with fruity accents of apricot and apple.

An approachable beer with flavours that fall somewhere between a kölsch and a golden/blonde ale - personally, I'm leaning toward the latter. Doughy, biscuity malt and some light honey sweetness come through, with a mixture of fruity flavours developing mid-sip - apple and apricot, with just a hint of white grape skin. Grassy hay and floral flavours assert themselves on the back end, peaking at the finish and preluding an off-dry aftertaste. Light-medium in body, with kind of a minerally, hard water note to it that reminds me of a Burton ale. Moderate carbonation levels that provide a gently crisp bite; this beer feels fairly smooth and soft in the mouth, and is exceptionally drinkable.

Final Grade: 3.67, a B grade. Cowbell's Absent Landlord is a fine flagship product for an upstart brewery to introduce themselves with. Like a lot of the new examples of this style that have popped up in Ontario over the last couple of months, this isn't exactly a traditional kölsch, which may potentially annoy purists. I'm not disappointed in this beer - in fact, I think it's pretty tasty - but I do try to grade according to style. I'll give it some bonus points to compensate, and would probably recommend this to fans of blonde ales or British-style golden ales. Hopefully it'll show up in Sarnia at some point.

Jun 21, 2016
Absent Landlord from Cowbell Brewing Co.
Beer rating: 82 out of 100 with 43 ratings