Kalifornia Kölsch
Magnolia Pub & Brewery

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German Kölsch
Ranked #143
Ranked #32,908
3.72 | pDev: 12.1%
Magnolia Pub & Brewery
California, United States
Notes: A crisp and refreshing German-styled golden ale, Kölsch is typically served in small glasses meant to be refilled often, to keep their bright effervescence. Although, if you're really thirsty, go for a full pint!
Reviews: 29 | Ratings: 81 | Log in to view all ratings and sort
Photo of elNopalero
3.84/5  rDev +3.2%
look: 4 | smell: 3.75 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

Approachable light crisp honeyed. Pours a clear golden. Goes down easy. It's the sort of beer to get when you don't want to think about the beer you got, I suppose.

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Photo of Act25
3.83/5  rDev +3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.75

Approachable, sessionable, clean, but sweet Kolsch.
a) On the run at Uncorked SFO airport. Pours a welcome lasting white creamy head that lasts and laces over fine bubbled clear golden body. Deserves a narrow cylinder Kolsch glass.
s) Weakest of its parts. Light, simple bready with hints of lemon. Too faint.
t) But the taste is on target with more of the crackery clean malt back ground and featuring bright lemon, floral top notes like an astringent wine, but in this case a fruity and off-dry one.
f) Palate feels creamy yet clean, sessionable. Would have another. Low ABV.
o) More sweetness than I would prefer, but otherwise fine effort. Feel like I'm i Cologne, or Koln alley.

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Photo of scottfrie
4.37/5  rDev +17.5%
look: 4.25 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

16oz at THG.

A: Pours a clear, bright, light golden with a thick and dense cap of bright white foam. Rings of sticky lace were left down the glass.
S: Crisp crackery malt nose with a subtle grainy sweetness. Light doughy yeast character.
T: Clean crackery grain, crisp mouthfeel, smooth carbonation, drying finish but not a desert. There's a very subtle honey-like sweetness and a slight mineral quality to the flavor. Clean and easy to drink. Soft mouthfeel. Bready flavor. Kiss of earth spice in the finish, subtle earthy. bitterness.
O: A classic, delicious, kolsch. Very easy to drink.

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Photo of dannydetox
3.48/5  rDev -6.5%
look: 3.75 | smell: 3.25 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3.75 | overall: 3.5

average kolsch style beer. golden yellow in color, with a rapidly dissipating white head, the aroma is faintly fruity, with cereal grain notes as well. very little bitterness. thin, with lower carbonation. easy drinking, but that's about it.

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Photo of Smakawhat
4.03/5  rDev +8.3%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

Poured on tap at the Mikkeller bar in San Francisco into a large sort of half tumbler shaker glass. Very odd glass.

Deep brass gold and bronze with crystal clarity. Nice one finger head given bright and white, slightly frothy and foamy whipped a bit. Real dark for a Kolsch.

Simple light bready aromas and a hint of fruity lemon zest slightly. Fairly basic but solid, hard to determine some more powerful character or unique quality.

Palate does have a wonderful classic bready malt of white bread. Not much toasty or yeasty esters on this. Feels like a German pilsner more so with lots of bakery density which is nice. Good long and lasting lingering bready finish surprisingly, which is very impressive. Some popping carbonation a bit, but this malt body is hard to break through. There is a bit of sweetness that is a little more noticeable.

An overall very solid Kolsch but has a bit more sweetness than I would prefer on the finish.

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Photo of magictacosinus
3.02/5  rDev -18.8%
look: 2.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 3

Poured into a 9oz stange glass at the brewpub with hilarious descriptions regarding a kölsch's easy-going manner of consumption.

Pours a yellowish, slightly unfiltered at the center that turns amber, in a way that resembles the same appearance of wheat beers. Not much carbonation, surprisingly enough. A half finger of fizzy head covers the top, which, as in most beers in the style, dies down hilariously quickly. Watery and plain. Some lacing! Enough. Let's move on to beer itself.

The aroma is mainly of crisp grains and slightly grassy hops, but there's a banana-y ester that I can't get myself over for whatever reason. No grape-y profile that I love in the style. Definitely really breezy, with no off flavors to speak of, but is there any way they could have made this a little bit more complex?

The flavor consists of the same banana predominant flavor, which soon follows with notes of freshly squeezed lemons, cereal grains, and lightly dried hops. Little astringency and absolutely no complexity at all. Despite being light flavor-wise, it was slightly creamy enough to make it very easy to drink. Not my favorite in the style, but it's inoffensive enough to enjoy.

A ridiculously light rendition of a kölsch here, it still was easy enough to pair with food, and for the $3 price, was something that I ordered twice in the same night. Its light character does undermine what these kinds of beers are capable of doing at their best, but it's best to be left untouched for now.

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Photo of Jason
3.91/5  rDev +5.1%
look: 3.75 | smell: 4 | taste: 3.75 | feel: 4.25 | overall: 4

12oz can sample from the brewery.

Nearly clear, thin lacing but it stays. A whole lot of bready character here both in the nose and on the palate. Fresh grain, yeasty undertones, gushing of pale malt. Kiss of hop bitterness and herbal spicy flavor. Grassy throughout, clean enough for the style. As crisp and smooth as it should be and quite drinkable. A fun brew to knock back and wouldn't have a problem having more than one.

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Photo of chrisgalvin
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

This is one of the best examples of a true Kolsch being brewed outside of Koln. Dave and his team truly know what a true Kolsch taste and is all about. This is a great beer in the true sense and yo'd be lucky to drink this if you have a chance. Sit down at the bar, order a Kolsch and have the burger. Doesn't' get any better then that. Perfect malt character, hop balance and carbonation.

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Photo of kojevergas
2.73/5  rDev -26.6%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.75 | feel: 2.75 | overall: 3

Served on-draught into a 9 oz glass at Magnolia. Reviewed from notes.

A: Pours a half finger head of slight cream, fair thickness, and decent retention. Colour is a clear gold.

Sm: Light barley. I'm surprised there aren't spices. Mild. No esters?

T: Clean barley as a foundation. ...but there're no notes atop that foundation. It's not complex, but it's nicely refreshing. Decently balanced. Okay for a kolsch, but built too simply.

Mf: Smooth and wet. A kolsch should be more crisp. Not really complementary of the flavours of the body.

Dr: Very drinkable, of low ABV, and low quality. Why's it so damned simple? Avoid unless you're a hardcore fan of the style.


08/01/26 2nd impressions from a draught pour @ Balboa Cafe, San Francisco.

Has a cream ale-redolent mouthfeel and malty sweetness. Coating and thick instead of crisp and clean. Hop profile is floral albeit mild (to style).

Pretty mediocre fare, but drinkable.


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Photo of emerge077
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On tap at the brewery, review from written notes. Listed at 4.7%.
Served in a traditional cylindrical stange glass, not strange at all.

Bright gold color, drippy arcs of lace in the glass. Clean, grainy aroma, hint of grapes from the yeast. Light and crisp feel, tasted good, but more like a dry pilsner than a kolsch. Very dry and herbal hop flavor (mild), some apple notes also. Very clean and easy drinking, the small glass disappears with little to no effort. Would have had another, but the dozen or so other house beers beckoned.

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Photo of Hojaminbag
3.55/5  rDev -4.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 3.5

Kalifornia Kolsch is served in an actual strange, which is neat. I will say, however, that 8-10 ounces of Kolsch after a hot walk was a little bit disappointing. Oh well, I shouldn't complain about a brewpub doing things the right way, especially because I very seldom see strange glasses anywhere. The beer in its personalized cylinder is a dull, golden-yellow color and is crystal clear. The bright white head is only about a finger thick and is quite thin looking, but it manages to lay down a few pieces of lacing. Retention is OK at best.

Some grass and lemon from the hops and cereal from the malt.

Hops come through first, with more grass and lemon, but followed by a metallic flavor and a low amount of bitterness. The malt is lightly sweet and bread-like, with hints of cereal to it also.

Light and crisp.

This is a decent kolsch and it hit the spot on a hot day.

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Photo of HopHead84
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 2


On tap at Magnolia.

A: Translucent blond with perfect clarity. Big creamy head. Lots of lacing.

S: Grain with a blend of mineral and sulfur. Light grassy note.

T: Sulfur and grain up front and initially seems clean. Finish has too much sulfur and mineral with a lot of grain. Some lemon as well, not too clean.

M: Light in body with high carbonation. The mouthfeel is crisp and dry.

Overall: I'm not a fan of this. The finish is really strange.

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Photo of lacqueredmouse
3.25/5  rDev -12.6%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 3 | overall: 3.5

On-tap at Magnolia, served in adorable little kölsch tubes.

Pours very clear, and very brigh and light. The apparent haze turned out to be condensation on the tube. Head is fine and thin.

Pours cleat, in a kolsch tube. Skiht haze, very light yellow. Head is fine and thin.

Nose is mild, with a light cheesy funk and some bright crisp pilsnery grain notes. Minimal hop character, and overall the deeper buttery notes tend to win out.

Taste is alternately buttery and crisp, but there's no true sharpness, or anything to give a point to the beer—it ends up mild and blandly lagery. Greenness is present, but very muted. Feel light.

Eh. I've had way better kölsches. This is a bland example that feels as though it exists only to have a lighter beer on their roster.

I also wonder if the examples I tried at Magnolia were a little old. Others speak of pleasant fresh characters which were noticeably absent in the beers I tried.

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Photo of womencantsail
3.88/5  rDev +4.3%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

On-tap at Magnolia

A: The pour is a clear golden straw color with a nice creamy white head.

S: A somewhat light nose that is fairly grainy with some hints of bread. A bit of a yeast, citrus peel, and floral and citrusy hops as well.

T: Fairly bready without being all that sweet. A mild hop bitterness to it with nice floral notes, citrus zest, and a nice clean and crisp flavor.

M: The body is light to medium with a lively carbonation.

D: A nice well done, simple, and refreshing kolsch. Probably the best beer on-tap this day as well.

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Photo of earthling
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4.5 | smell: 4.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 4 | overall: 5

This Kolsh, highly drinkable, was well enjoyed on a warm summer day. One could drink this beer all afternoon without getting wasted, its crisp, well-balanced flavors not fatiguing after several glasses. Magnolia properly serves this well-crafted beer in a thin-walled, straight, 10oz Stange.

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Photo of 1759Girl
4.29/5  rDev +15.3%
look: 3 | smell: 4 | taste: 5 | feel: 3.5 | overall: 4

Let me preface this review by saying I'm not a Kölsch-lover. But as with all of my reviews, I try to simply review the beer against the ideal for it's style.
I have to say, I was impressed with this one.

Appearance>Nice golden-rod color. Bright, lively. Not much head to speak of.

Smell> hop, grains. delicious

Taste>Wow. Nice! Crisp and clean but still flavorful. Great representative of it's style

Mouf> easy. Good.

Drinkability> niiice.

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Photo of ffejherb
3.43/5  rDev -7.8%
look: 3.5 | smell: 3 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 3 | overall: 4

On tap at Magnolia on 7/12/09.

A - Slightly hazy pale golden body with half a finger of white head that settled to a thin ring of retention and some sparse lacing.

S - Lemony and citrusy with a grainy malt character character and some sweet notes. There are also hints of corn and vegetables in the back.

T - Citric notes suggest lemon and orange, while slight grassy notes emerge in the backend and last through to the finish. Malt is sweet with hints of caramel and toasted grains. Finishes with a subtle hop bite.

M - Light to medium body, a little syrupy, with fairly soft carbonation. Mild hop bite in the finish. Not overly crisp, but pretty refreshing.

D - A bit more laid back than usual for the style, but perhaps that's the point. This is the Haight, ya know?

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Photo of LoRezDave
4.3/5  rDev +15.6%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

Served on-tap at the Magnolia Pub and Brewery (http://beeradvocate.com/beer/profile/463) and poured in a traditional 9oz Kolsch glass, rated at 5.1% and 15 IBU per their chalk board.

Pours brilliant golden in color with a short head of medium-bubbles. Head dissipates quickly.

Nice sharp hop in the nose.

The taste is a bit hoppy on the palate but nice crispness in the middle. Finish is light malt (crisp biscut) and slight hop.

Low IBU beers are tough to do and good ones are even tougher to find. If you like Kolsch you'll love Kalifornia Kolsch from Magnolia.

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Photo of bboven
2.8/5  rDev -24.7%
look: 2.5 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 2.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 3

Spot-on for color, has a good head, but the bubbles are huge and really separated, more like artificial soda-like carbonation than beer.

lots of domestic malt; smells a little bit skunky.

The taste is sour and fruity, almost white-wine like.

Great mouthfeel and alright drinkability if your a Heineken or the like fan. This may have been an old/off batch though, so hopefully I will get to review it again some day.

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Photo of illidurit
3.93/5  rDev +5.6%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 3.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 5

On tap at Magnolia. Poured into a cylinder glass, a finger of head atop a clear pale body.

Light sweet malt and floral hops on the nose.

Grainy malt taste, floral hops, mild fruitiness, subtle tartness.

Great carbonation, drying and prickly but not too bubbly. Refreshing and smooth, light body, extremely easy to drink.

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Photo of kdoc8
3.18/5  rDev -14.5%
look: 3 | smell: 2.5 | taste: 3 | feel: 4 | overall: 4

I had this on tap at the brew pub in San Francisco, CA. It had a thick foamy head, and was highly carbonated. It looked and smelled a lot like a pilsner, golden/clear in color and with a bit of lacing. It had a yeasty smell and taste - refreshing but kind of tasteless.

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Photo of clickpush
4.08/5  rDev +9.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4 | feel: 5 | overall: 4.5

Pour: draught to 10oz (?) kolsch glass. Only a smattering of lacing and a halo remained when the beer got to the table. Body is a slightly clouded gold color with a few lazy bubbles

Nose: Light aroma, floral & citric like roses, very grapy.

Mouth: Excellent mouthfeel is the first thing you notice, tingling all the way through the mouth like tiny pin-pricks that I can actually continue to feel long after swallowing. Lightly tart flavor, champagne like, with a nice bitter finish of hops, whole grain bread, and a light farmy feel. Very light and refreshing.

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Photo of TurdFurgison
4.35/5  rDev +16.9%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Had on tap at the Magnolia brewpub. Served in an authentic kolsch stange just like in Cologne.

The aroma is neutral, but kolsch is a subtle style... There was a nice faint flavor of hops but without any real bitterness. The slightly malty after-taste was addictive, I had to have a couple of these. No problem because the glasses only hold 200ml.

This was the best of their standard beers that I tried, but if you get the chance don't miss their Summit IPA.

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Photo of DaPeculierDane
3.7/5  rDev -0.5%
look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4 | feel: 3 | overall: 3

Pale yellow gold. Rising carbonation. Lemon, Hallertau, and bready aromas. Mild and delicate toast and bready flavors. Almost unintelligible hop bitterness but decent hop flavoring lending itself toward grass and a pinch of lemon rind. Mouthfeel is biting. Carbonation is too aggressive. This could do to be a touch more creamy. As a result drinkability suffers slightly. Authentic tasting yeast. Light and refreshing overall, as it should be.

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Photo of donnebaby
4.23/5  rDev +13.7%
look: 4 | smell: 3.5 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4.5 | overall: 4.5

Deep bronze color body. Fruity nose.

Melon or cantaloupe sweet and mild fruitiness in the mouth. Medium, potent toasty grain after. Light bitterness within the fruity sweetness.

Fairly thin on body, which added to drinkability. Light and drinkable without too much power despite a distinctly present flavor profile.

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Kalifornia Kölsch from Magnolia Pub & Brewery
Beer rating: 84 out of 100 with 81 ratings