I’m a sucker for that fancy water at spas and hotels—the big ornate jugs with sliced cucumbers floating in it. It always looks so refreshing. So civilized. Like, this is what rich people have on a hot afternoon, instead of a pitcher of Koolaid that’s stirred by some kid’s hand. Yeah, fancy rich people water. So refreshing. So I was pretty psyched when this beer, a cucumber kolsch, came across the desk.
It pours a clear, soft yellow and has an earthy, almost salty nose to it. Cucumber is one of those adjuncts that could be so subtle, that it gets completely lost in a beer. That’s not the case here; The cucumber is all over this thing, coming on strong front and center and carrying on long past the finish. The beer has all of the kolsch style’s signature characteristics—it’s refreshing as hell and super crisp, but there’s a bitterness to it that I didn’t expect to find. It’s kind of like if you let your cucumber ripen for too long on the vine. There’s a pleasant sweet layer too, almost reminiscent of corn, that helps to keep the bitterness in check, but I kept going back to the beer expecting another layer. Honestly, I wanted a salty element, like what you find in a gose. Something faint, but present enough to help balance out the bitterness.
This is the first beer I’ve ever had from Indiana’s Flat12 (their distribution footprint is pretty small—Indiana and a couple of surrounding cities), but Cucumber Kolsch is a successful enough execution to make me want to track down some more options. Is everybody going to dig it? No. But then, that fancy cucumber spa water isn’t for everyone either.
Brewery: Flat12 Bierwerks
City: Indianapolis, Indiana
Availability: Seasonal, 12-ounce cans