Beer from Here: Big Boss Brewing Co. – Angry Angel Kölsch-Style Ale


Don’t look down on the Big Boss Angry Angel Kölsch-Style Ale.

Tucked away in an industrial park in Raleigh, Big Boss Brewing Company opened in 2006 and shipped its first beer in 2007. It’s location on Wicker Drive has historic craft beer significance. Since 1996, the building housed four now defunct breweries – Tomcat Brewing, Pale Ale Brewery, Rock Creek Brewing, and Chesapeake Bay Brewing. It was when the latter closed in 2003 that current Big Boss Brewmaster Brad Wynn opened Edenton Brewery. In 2006 Geoff Lamb purchased a majority stake in the operation and the two founders renamed the brewery Big Boss after one of Edenton’s top-selling beers.

The Big Boss taproom is one of my favorites. The brewery’s beers are named for World War II aircraft, so paraphernalia around the taproom includes historic airplane artwork and photography. Customers can also throw darts or play table tennis and shuffleboard. It’s a fun place to spend a Saturday afternoon.

Today, the Big Boss lineup boasts five year-round brews, including Angry Angel (Kölsch-Style Ale), Bad Penny (Brown Ale), Blanco Diablo (Witbier), Hell’s Belle (Belgian Pale Ale) and High Roller (American IPA). Six seasonals are led by Big Operator (Black Ale), Harvest Time (Pumpkin Ale) and Aces & Ates (Coffee Stout).

As we roll into the middle of August, I wanted to keep the summer beer theme going. I’m not ready for pumpkin beers. It’s still too early, so I decided to go the Angry Angel route. It had been a while since I last enjoyed one.

The Angry Angel Kölsch-Style Ale was hazy and golden in color. It was even a little darker than I expected. A thin, white velvety head quickly blanketed the European-inspired ale. Carbonation was also visible as it steamed its way to the surface.

Biscuity malt came to mind when judging the aroma. I also picked up strong herbal notes of straw and grass. Maybe a touch of floral? It was hard to differentiate.

My first sip was similar to the aroma – grainy with biscuity undertones and a touch of herbal spice. The light-bodied beer had a medium mouthfeel and a good balance between the malts and Euro hops. While it’s not as clean as other Kölsch-style ales, it had a dry finish that was still crisp and refreshing for 4.5% ABV. I was impressed with the incredible lacing that fixed itself to the side of my glass as well, and the head retention was good to the last drop.

The Kölsch-Style Ale is designed to be easy drinking and Big Boss delivered in a unique way. It’s certainly different from other beers similar in style, but since when is that a bad thing?

Angry Angel and other Big Boss beers can be found in bars, grocery stores, restaurants and specialty stores across North Carolina.

Brewery: Big Boss Brewing Company
City: Raleigh, NC
Style: Kölsch-Style Ale
ABV: 4.5%
Availability: Year-round, draft and 12 oz. bottles