Beer Fact Friday: Kölsch
Welcome to the final Beer Fact Friday of 2019, beer nerds. Today’s topic: The pleasantly genre-bending German beer-style known as Kölsch.
Kölsch is a style that was born in the city of Köln—better-known among English speakers as Cologne—in Germany. But unlike most of the bright, golden beers produced in Germany, Kölsch is ale, not a lager, meaning it’s brewed with a yeast strain that ferments at warm temperatures and produces lightly fruity aromas and flavors.
Kölsches tend to be clear and golden in color with a subtle, grainy malt character, pronounced hoppiness, and just a hint of yeast esters that usually resemble the aroma of sliced apples or pears.
In March 1986, the brewers of Cologne renewed the Kölsch Convention, a set of rules that defines a true Kölsch and prevents foreign breweries from creating faulty, fake or watered-down versions of the style. Along with guidelines on how a Kölsch should look and taste, the Convention established rules for who is allowed to produce it: The brewers of Cologne, and no one else. Just as Champagne can only be called such if brewed in the Champagne region of France (and examples made outside that territory have to be called “sparkling wine”), only a version of the Kölsch style brewed within Cologne’s city limits can truly be called Kölsch. Everyone else who attempts to brew one must call their beer a “Kölsch-style ale,” which is why we have that verbiage listed on the label for Sunbru.