Judge’s Review: 95 Rating – Sion Kölsch by Radeberger

In Cologne, there’s a saying that, to fully enjoy a Sion Kölsch, you must first taste it in Cologne with a view of its majestic cathedral: the Kölner Dom. And this is precisely where the heart of Sion beats. But for everyone that won’t make it to Cologne any time soon, here is Beer Connoisseur’s Review, by Jason Johnson:

Sion Kölsch by Radeberger was judged as a Kölsch against the BJCP style guidelines category 5B.

“The aroma is light, but not void by any means. I easily pick up clean moderate grainy malt with a slightly cracker-like secondary note. What I really like is the hop nose on the beer. It’s noticeable and comes across as floral, the range is medium-light and falls in just short of the malt aroma. The fermentation is relatively clean, and leaves the beer’s malt and hops to speak for themselves, there is a light fruity character that steps into the light as the beer warms slightly. The color is light yellow and brilliantly clear. It poured a light fizzy white head that dissipated quickly, which is fine for the style. The malt flavor in this beer is soft and elegant. It’s mildly sweet, clear as a bell and grainy. The sweetness is pleasant and fits the style well. The hop bitterness is a bit more assertive and helps wash away the light sweetness leaving you wanting more almost immediately. So while the malt flavor is light, the hop bitterness falls more into the moderate range. The hop flavor is very light and you have to search for it, but it’s a bit like honeysuckle to me. One thing to note is there is a mineral-like flavor to the beer in the finish that is most likely from the water. I have heard people critque Kölsch beers for having a mineral-like character, but it’s perfectly acceptable in this style and lends to the drying perception of the beer. The esters are subdued and lightly apple-like as the sample warms. They were pretty much non-existent when the beer was colder. The beer was medium-light bodied, not quite medium. The carbonation level is moderate, which is expected. The soft lightly sweet malt lends a slight creamy texture to the beer, which is very enjoyable. All in all, this is probably one of the best Kölsch beers I’ve had in a long time. 

Overall, looking at the guidelines and tasting this sample, this beer hits all the marks that are expected of a good Kölsch, and best of all, it does it in a well-blended and cohesive manner. Sometimes a beer can hit all the marks one by one, but the individual components of that beer, while within style, just don’t fit well together. This beer hits the marks and puts them together close to flawlessly. Not only would I recommend this beer, I would almost say you have to have this beer is you want a clear-cut vision of what a Kölsch should be. In my perception it’s pretty darn close to perfect. If I had one critique to offer, it would be very minor, but I would like to see a little bit more hop flavor. I found the hop flavor low and pleasant but wanted a bit more flavor in place of the bitterness. But this is a very minor tweak in what is nearly a pitch-perfect brew.”