[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n the 1990s German style beers were everywhere in the Midwest. While this has not entirely faded, with craft brewers cranking out a number of them at high quality, at many American brewpubs it is more common to find a Belgian wit than a hefeweizen, and you’re more likely to encounter brown ale than altbier. Still, brewers continue to make pils, rauchbier, marzen and Kölsch in large numbers. Three Floyds Calumet Queen is a Kölsch style beer, brewed in late summer and we were lucky enough to get to try a bottle.
When poured, Calumet Queen displays the bright golden hue of early autumn leaves. Head is bright white, significant, but weak with little lacing, leaving almost as quickly as it arrived. The nose is sweet with floral notes, likely from the German hops, and some vestigial qualities. The taste is sweeter than the nose, with the lager yeast adding a mild spice, and bright German hops bringing up a bit of bite at the close. For a fresh Kölsch, one brewed by a hop forward brewer at the top of their game, the bitterness disappointing slightly. Were it not so darn sweet this would be a near perfect German style guzzler. Body is light, which befits a Kölsch.
It is always a treat to get the German styles brewed close to home and fresh, as my general criticism of them could stem from hops fading on the journey from Germany to my palette. Strangely, Three Floyds Calumet Queen has the same fault I find in many of the authentic Kölsch brews: namely that they are lacking in the hop department. Calumet City, Illinois abuts Indiana to the west, much as the Calumet Queen brushes right up against what a great German lager-like beer should be. While the overall quality of this beer is top notch, lacking a balance to the saccharine malt base, it could have been even better.