Kölsch a is a local beer specialty that was originally brewed in Cologne, Germany. It is a clear beer with a bright, straw-yellow hue, and has a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. It is less bitter than the standard German pale lager. Kölsch is warm-fermented at a temperature around 13 to 21°C (55 to 70°F) and then cold-conditioned, or lagered. This manner of fermentation links Kölsch with some other beer styles of central northern Europe, such as the Altbiers of northern Germany and the Netherlands. The name Kölsch is, like champagne, Appellation Controlée, protected by law so that only beers brewed in and around Köln can bear the name, although many breweries elsewhere make Kolsch type beers.
The style has a very narrow profile and many beers that consider themselves to be kölschbiers are not. Generally they have a moderate bitterness, but fairly prominent hop flavour (typically Spalt, Tettnang or Hallertau). They have high effervescence, medium esters, but a rounded, stylish character derived from lagering. From the first sniff of its grainy, malty aroma, to the delicately fruity, lightly bitter flavors in the mouth, to the brisk, clean, energetic feeling after you swallow, a good Kölsch offers a smooth journey of sensations that may be unremarkable individually but are extraordinarily pleasant as an ensemble.
The agreeable nature of Kölsch means that is will get along well with many foods. The real challenge with this style is to pick a dish that won’t overwhelm it. Simple foods like cheese and sausage make great companions for this German ale. Sandwiches, hotdogs & pizzas are usually paired with it during lunch.
Some of the famous Kölsch brands to try are Malzmühle, Päffgen, Sion, Reissdorf & Gaffel from Germany. Beau’s All Natural Brewing company – a small family run brewery in Ottawa, Canada has won many awards & fans with it’s Kölsch style or lagered ale beer Lug Tread (pictured above).