Pronounced and sometimes written as Koelsch, the Kölsch style originated in Köln (Cologne), Germany, centuries ago and was originally a dark beer before the development of pale malts. It evolved into a crystal-clear, bright-golden beer in the years leading up to the 20th century, in part due to pressure from the growing popularity of the Pilsner style and lager production in Germany. Generally warm fermented with an ale yeast—yet lagered (aged/matured) at cold temperatures, this German beer possesses both ale and lager characteristics. (Nearby Düsseldorf, Germany, does the same with its Altbier style). They exhibit aromas of mild biscuity pale malts, subtle fruity ale yeast esters and moderate Noble hops, with flavors quite balanced on the palate, mirroring the aromas with varying degrees of malt, ester and hop character, depending on the specific brew. Quite refreshing served cold, flavors evolve as it warms. Some aficionados, including many Köln natives, prefer a serving temperature near 50 degrees Fahrenheit. Today, about 20 breweries in Köln and its immediate surroundings brew Kölsch—and by law they are the only German brewers permitted to market their beer as a “Kölsch.” This law does not apply outside of Germany, however, which has led many American craft breweries to brew their own interpretation of the Kölsch style, often as a seasonal release.
|Taste/Smell||Crisp, Grainy, Floral, Light-bodied|
|Alcohol-by-Volume (ABV) Range||4.5 – 5.5%|
|Popular Examples||Gaffel Kölsch, Reissdorf Kölsch, Flying Dog Tire Bite Golden Ale, Ballast Point Pale Ale, Harpoon Summer Beer, Alaskan Summer Ale, Pyramid Curve Ball Blonde Ale, Stoudts Karnival Kölsch, New Holland Full Circle|
|Serving Temperature||Cold, 39-45°|
|Glassware||Stange, pilsner, pint or nonic|
|Cheese Pairing Ideas||Brick, Brie, Camembert, Edam, Monterey Jack|
|Food Pairing Ideas||German dishes, salads, chicken dishes, grilled foods, fish, shellfish and spicy foods|