25 Mar Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch
Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch
Northside, Inside the Loop
Packaging: Draft, 4 pack 16 ounce cans, delivered by Hop Drop
Astral Brewing is one of the newest breweries to roll open their doors for droves of thirsty Houstonians. Their grand opening was scheduled for March 2, but they pulled a fast one on all of us and actually opened on February 27th, just one day before Josh was out there making photographs for them. (You may find it hard to believe, but there have already been a few others that have opened since then, but that’s a post for another day.)
These guys, José and Alex, have been on our radar since we first launched the site. Their names, the name Astral, some super vague info, and their logo was available as far back as 2016, but there are so many breweries in the “follow up” list, it’s not even funny at this point. We sort of forgot about them while they were quietly building their brewery.
Until June-July 2018. All of the sudden, a brewhouse is showing up. Concrete floors are being demolished to make way for drainage, and stickers pop up on Instagram! We’ve been anxiousy awaiting Astral’s arrival since then.
Unfortunately with a really demanding work schedule, I haven’t been able to make it out to their taproom yet. Josh’s pictures are worth a thousand words, but surely they don’t do the experience justice. Fortunately, on the other hand, our good friends over at Hop Drop keep us well stocked with the latest and greatest.
Usually I’d labor over a background story about the creation of the recipe, the origin of the style, or even the quarky history of the name. I have none of the above for Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch, so I’m going to launch right into it.
Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch doesn’t have much visually to speak of in terms of packaging (yet), but good God almighty, the appearance of this Kolsch is spot on. The absolutely crystal-clear pour stunned me. Followed by a perfect 2-finger, chalk-white head with near uniformity, I said to myself, “Self, this is going to be a damn good beer.”
I also agree.
The picture perfect brilliance of Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch paired with the perfectly pale straw coloring, and it laced delicately like the beer of a brewery that’s been around for a while. The perfect head melted down into a rocky accumulation as I began sipping.
A balanced nose of light malt-sweetness and faint hop-spice continue painting a perfect picture. I seriously can’t believe this is from a day one brewery.
Every sip continues to astonish me. You know how there are flat earthers and moon-landing conspiracists? I think I may have to start a rumor that Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch has actually been around for a decade, and Alex and José have secretly been running this brewery underground long before we ever found out about them.
Naah. Nevermind. We’re not big on the rumors. But if somebody else cares to propagate that one, we promise not to take credit. But I digress.
Each sip of Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch shines with brightness from start to finish. A crispy start makes this a shoe-in for Houston summers. The light body and bright carbonation help raise the banner for the cause. Mid-sip, there’s a hint of corny sweetness that disappears as quickly as it came, and it all makes room for the perfectly dry finish of subtle pear or red-apple aroma.
Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing cider-y going on with Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch, but a good Kolsch sometimes has those subtle fruity esters, and this one is ripe with the subtleties. It reminds me a lot of Back Pew Addi’s Faith or Southern Star Humidity. (IDGAF what the C&D says, it’s still Humidity to me.) Both are perfect representations of the style, so Astral’s in great company.
Considering they’re a ripe month old at this point, Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch isn’t going to be available on draft at every bar and brewpub around town just yet. Nope. You’re going to have to make the journey to their beautiful Northside taproom off of Shepherd, or you’re going to have to hop online and request a visit from the beer fairies – AKA the homies at Hopdrop. If you use the code “ASTRALBREW” you’ll save 10% on your home delivery of Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch and like 300-some-odd other beers. God, I love those guys.
I put in some overtime this week, and there’s a second review of an Astral beer – check out Astral Nebulous Pale Ale too.
Astral Kraftwerk Kolsch
Overall this is a perfect Kolsch. I struggle with rating beers a solid 5.0 because that means there’s nothing they can do to improve it. But a perfect appearance, a perfect aroma, a perfect mouthfeel and flavor… well, that’s a 5 star beer, y’all. Look, I’m all about the hops. I’m all about the pastry stouts, the fruited sours, and I’m even coming around to the idea of all the milkshake stuff thanks to Ingenious’ repeated successes. But at the end of the day, this is beer flavored beer that tastes… well, perfect. Grab a crowler for whenever you want to actually taste beer, and maybe grab another to convert your friends that are still behind.
What about you? What’d you think of Astral’s first month in the H? Let us know in the comments below, or rate Kraftwerk Kolsch with a single click of the stars below. Beers to you, Houston!