The Kölsch is one of my favorite spring/summer styles. If you are unfamiliar with the style, Kölsch are the regional style of the the city of Köln (Cologne), Germany. They are very similar to lighter lagers in flavor, although they are warm fermented (using an ale yeast). They are characteristically light, with a noticeable hop bitterness, but still maintain a nice malty sweetness.
There are three main Kölsch brands available in the US. I color code them based on their labels. Red and Blue are the two most common, so I was very happy when I found Sünner, the green one. They are all very similar, but with their own distinctive touches that are very hard to describe. It is a very clean, crisp beer, with an almost fruity sweetness that balances the beer out nicely. This is partially a result of the yeast used to ferment the beer. Since each brand uses their own yeast to ferment their particular brews, the esters produced will impart different flavors, even if they are subtle (as they are in Kölsch beers). I feel that, especially in the US, the Kölsch is an under appreciated style, mostly because people don't know much about it. I wish that would change. I also truthfully believe that there is a big step between true Kölsch and American remakes. Give them a shot, but do yourself a favor and grab a German one. You won't be disappointed.
I am also a huge fan of the stange glass, the traditional glass for Kölsch.
Glassware: Stange, pint
Synonym Beer: Reissdorf Kölsch
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