Definitive Brewing’s Contee Kölsch graces the glass with a clearish straw-colored presence, crowned by a substantial, meringue-like foam. The packaging date of 3/22/19, prominently displayed at the can’s bottom, underscores the commitment to freshness.


Upon raising the glass, the olfactory experience invites a delightful plunge into a bucket of cornflakes. Sweet malty notes of white sugar, brioche, and doughnut intermingle, offering a cream ale-like olfactory delight. There’s a subtle twist of sesame seed, adding a touch of distinctiveness to the aromatic profile.


Contee Kölsch unfolds as a malt-forward revelation, with grain-derived sweetness taking center stage. Yet, the beer maintains a delicate balance, as a background bitterness, courtesy of the German hops (Hersbrucker & Tettnanger), introduces a nuanced peppery bite. The richness of the malt is prominent, delivering a cream ale experience with a unique depth.


The mouthfeel of Contee Kölsch is a dense affair, occasionally bordering on oily or fatty, a surprising characteristic given its 4.6% ABV. Elevated carbonation, coupled with hints of sourdough and lemon flavors, contributes to a refreshing experience, staying true to the traditional German kölsch spirit.


Definitive Brewing hits the mark with Contee Kölsch. In an era dominated by the oversaturation of hazy IPAs, this kölsch stands out as a testament to the brewery’s versatility. The artful fusion of German malts, local Maine Malt House contributions, and thoughtful hopping results in a crisp, clean, and refreshing ale that pays homage to the regional classic from Cologne.


Definitive Brewing deserves applause for excelling in a realm where many U.S. craft breweries hesitate to tread – the kölsch style. While the craft scene may be saturated with decent hazy IPAs, mastering kölsch requires a level of expertise that is not as commonly appreciated. Contee not only meets but exceeds expectations, checking all the right boxes for a top-tier kölsch.

Similar Beers

Contee Kölsch shares affinities with well-crafted cream ales, offering a sweeter, malty character with traces of both ale and lager influences. Comparable to some of the superior “Mexican” lagers, it navigates the delicate balance of being a hybrid beer with finesse. Identifying an equivalent beer on store shelves might prove challenging, given kölsch’s preference for freshness and on-tap enjoyment. Cream ale emerges as the closest match, though finding a delicious one commercially available may be an elusive quest.

Note: The Full Pint is an independent website dedicated to providing unbiased craft beer reviews. This critical assessment is free from financial conflicts of interest within the beer industry.