Are you over 21?
Skip to main content

You Earned It – Kolsch: Sonder

CE3A7775 (1)

You Earned It – Sonder: Dry Hopped Kolsch

It’s a You Earned It Kölsch …part zwei!

We are so excited to reintroduce this style AND our pilot brew charity  program You Earned It with a new and exciting format. Normally, our You Earned It beers are poured in our tasting room as well as in the brewer’s choice of bars/restaurants around town. Since we are unable to partake in such pleasures at the moment, we decided to do something we’ve never done before: pour growlers out of our Portland HQ!

There are a couple options: Grab a growler for $10 (you keep the growler, no returns/refills). OR get a growler, two Kölsch glasses, and a Bissell bottle bag for $26 (glasses are also available separately for drive thru pick up). Choose your own adventure but, most importantly, don’t let Sonder pass you by. Brewed by our events manager Lucy in support of Maine Needs, this hoppy Kölsch is is a beautiful blend of tropical flavors including white wine, grapefruit, mango, and pineapple at a mellow 5.2% ABV. Read more about the brewing process and all the nitty gritty details below!

Important info on the growlers:⠀
1. For best results, keep them cold and drink them fresh! ⠀
2. Sonder is the ONLY beer we have available for growler fills. ⠀
3. We aren’t accepting returns or doing refills, so the cost of the growler is included in your purchase and is yours to keep. 

Charity of choice

Maine Needs

Name of beer


Inspiration behind the name?

A word invented by writer John Koenig, defined as “the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as your own — populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness.”

What inspired you to make this beer?

Alex made a Kolsch-style ale with Patty for the You Earned It series the first summer I worked at Bissell. It turned out great and really got me interested in the style, so from that point on I was always looking out for it in my travels to try as many varieties as I could find. Then at some point, maybe after they had visited for a collab, there were cans from Northern Monk in the walk-in and they had one from their Patron’s Project that they were calling a DDH New England Kolsch. I snagged one to drink at home and liked it a lot, so I made a mental note to try something similar when I had a chance to brew a small batch someday. It’s all the things I like about Kolsch – clean, crispy, easy drinking and relatively light, “beer-flavored-beer” – but topped off with those extra fruity and complex hop aromas that I’ve come to appreciate in our IPAs and pale ales here at Bissell. So when my turn came to brew on the small batch system, Patty put together a recipe and we ended up adding Azacca and one of my favorite hops, Nelson Sauvin.

Tell us about your charity and why you chose it?

Maine Needs a non-profit helping individuals and families in Maine meet their basic, material needs by providing donated clothing, hygiene products, household items, and other necessities. They just recently opened a free community donation center on Forest Avenue where they can accept donations and sort items. I’ve seen people close to me face homelessness and struggle to provide for themselves, and I know how much clean, comfortable clothes and basic necessities can do for someone who needs them. And the pandemic is only making a bad situation worse for a lot of people. It can be obvious – like seeing unhoused people camping outside around Portland – but a lot of these struggles for basic needs happen in silence and out of sight. I love seeing Maine Needs reach out and pool resources from our community in an environment of friendliness and compassion for ALL people.

What part of the brewing process do you enjoy most?
Getting hands on with the brewing process is awesome – smelling the raw ingredients, watching the grains change, sampling from the tank and seeing how it evolves. And being able to zone into manual labor for a few hours following a set of steps and instructions feels very satisfying. My job means I’m usually hyper-focused on the visual or descriptive aspect of the final product – the can art, how it looks in a glass, how to describe it alongside a photo so someone can imagine it before they taste it. Getting to help brew a beer from start to finish feels like exploring the other side of the moon or something. Also hanging out with Patty for a day is an added bonus!
Any tips for how this brew should be enjoyed?
At the end of a long day from a tall glass.
Brewer’s Details

We’re back on our Kolschit here at the Bissell YEI Lab! Back in July we brewed a traditional version of Cologne’s favorite beverage, but this time we decided to take what was great about that beer and add a touch of what we do best: Hops. But make no mistake, this is no IPA in Kolsch clothing. This beer was treated just as the first version. We used a simple grist, soft water, a low mash temp, cold fermentation and 4 weeks of lagering. The big difference is we added a 3/4 lb per bbl each of Azacca and Nelson in the whirlpool and another ¾ lb per bbl of each in the dry hop. The resulting beer is a beautiful blend of tropical flavors including white wine, grapefruit, mango and pineapple. All while finishing clean, dry and with a hint of malt holding it all together.


O.G 1.045

F.G 1.005

ABV 5.2

IBU 30



Buck Farms Maine Grown Pilsner & Malted Wheat


Azacca & Nelson Sauvin