A few weeks ago we released our interpretation of a German Kolsch beer. So what exactly is this Kolsch?
Kolsch originated in the Cologne region of Germany at the beginning of the 20th century. To this day to be called a Kolsch in Germany the beer must be produced in and or around Cologne, and the brewery must be a member of the Kolsch Konvention, a Cologne Brewery Association. From the beginning Kolsch has been related to German Altbiers in style as it is fermented cold with an ale yeast. However it was actually derived from the much hazier Weiss beers.
The style did not gain much footing in the country for many years outside of Cologne, as lagers were the preeminent beers of choice. This changed after WWII, and the demand for Kolsch around Germany, and throughout the world began to expand.
The culture surrounding drinking Kolsch in Cologne is a huge aspect in itself. Unlike other German glassware Kolsch is served in what is called a Stange (or rod) glass. The glass is only .2 Liters or about 6.5oz of beer. Waiters in Cologne, referred to as Kobes, deliver a Kolsch and coaster to the patrons of the cafes. Once the patron finished their glass of beer, another one will be immediately delivered to the table and a mark made on your coaster without you asking. This process will continue for subsequent beers. The only way to end the service of the beer is to place your coaster on top of the glass. At that point the waiter tallies your marks, you pay, and away you go. A very unique service experience indeed!
A coaster marked with the number of beers had. This represents your tab
So we brewed our Kolsch beer with German malt and hops and fermented the beer at 62 degrees with ale yeast, try to keep with German brewing tradition. After fermentation we lagered the beer to achieve a very nice clarity, racked half the batch into kegs and two weeks ago released Kolsch #2.
At this point we took our interpretation of a classic style and turned it on its head. With the remainder of the batch we added 3 gallons of lime juice. The lime juice added a wonderfully refreshing tang to an already great summer drinking beer. It helps to add a fun experimentation aspect to the beers that we make. Our brewing and techniques are founded on tradition and style. With that foundation set we are able to really delve deeper into the beer and make modern twists on old classics. It keeps us as brewers engaged in the process as we explore beers that we hope you the consumer will enjoy drinking.
Cody is set to release Lime Kolsch tonight at 6pm. Over the next few weeks come in and try the two versions side-by-side. We hope you enjoy both!