Over the past few months I’ve been doing a lot of research into German beer. As always with beer research this involves beer drinking. Rarely a bad thing, and a very good thing when it comes to das bier from Deutchesland.
We’ve been huge fans of German consumables ever since we spent some time working in Munich at the end of the last millennium. Rich developed a particular addiction to rubbery sausages filled with cheese, while I couldn’t go a week without a pork knuckle. And we guzzled a lot of beer. Hefeweisens, hells, dopplebocks, märzens and, my favourites, dunkelweisses were some of the many beer styles that passed our lips. But there’s one style I’ve recently developed a taste for that I don’t recall guzzling back then: Kölsch.
It could be that Munich’s bar owners didn’t stock Cologne’s beer speciality – the ‘Kölsch Konvention’ means that only beers brewed within a 50km radius of Cologne can be called Kölsch – or it could be that all the dunkelweisses tarnished my memory, but I’ve been making up for that lack of Kölsch Konsumption during my recent research.
I started my Kölsch Kruisade with the Sunner brewery’s version, the first to use the name, and even managed to find an impressive English attempt of the beer a few weeks ago at Frocester Beer Festival. I’ve still got bottles from a few more breweries to try, but so far my favourite is the one produced by Früh.
What I’ve learned about Kölsch is that it’s like a lager but brewed with top fermenting ale yeast. Which means it’s fermented under warm conditions before receiving some cold ‘lagering’ treatment. My research tasting notes for Früh Kölsch describe it as “Clean and light. Lemony, slight bready sweetness, dry hoppy finish. Simple and effective.”
I’m looking forward to furthering my research with more Kölsch guzzling (recommendations are always welcome). And if anyone is developing their own Kölsch Kuriosity, then I reckon this bottle is a good place to start.
Brewery: Brauhaus Früh, Cologne, Germany
Beer name: Kölsch
Available from Beer Merchants