Sunday, May 8, 2011

Zunft Kolsch Review

As summer brings in the warmer weather it's time for quenching my thirst with the lighter styles of beer. I've spent the last couple of months brewing beers that I can enjoy in the heat. One of those is an American wheat beer and another is a cream ale similar to a light lager but fermented with ale yeast. Once these are conditioned and ready for quaffing I'll review and give the details on the recipes but in the mean time here is a commercial example of a perfect summer time beer that I've always enjoyed, Kolsch.

The following is some information provided by the German Beer Institute. In a country dominated by lagers of all strengths and colors, the modern Kölsch (the beer) is Germany's only true, all-barley, pale ale. The other German pale ale is, of course, the Bavarian Weissbier or Weizen, made mostly from wheat. Although Kolsch fits in the ale category it is unusual in that it is cool-fermented and then aged and mellowed (or "lagered") near the freezing point.

This brew represents one of the major beer styles of the world. This is so mainly, because there is no ale quite like it. It has ancient roots and is a great quaffing beer, especially for a summer thirst. Kölsch is very subtle and delicate. It is light in both body and appearance, its maltiness is subdued, and its hoppiness is unobtrusive. Like the Helles from Bavaria, it is straw-blond, but with a bit more effervescence. Unlike any of the German blond lagers, however, Kölsch imparts some noticeable ale-type fruitiness on the palate.

Zunft Kolsch has a lager like quality in that it is crisp and dry with low hop bitterness and some fruitiness. Thirst quenching and easy to drink. Zunft has a malt forward presence and a slight graininess. Crystal clear with a very light gold color the white head dissipates quickly. This is a very refreshing beer and the only detractor that I experienced was a metallic taste that cold be the results of the water chemistry or oxidation.

Interesting thing about Kölsch is that it's a "Controlled Substance" Kölsch is one of the few beers styles that has a regional appellation similar to an appellation d'origine contrôllée in wine. The Kölsch appellation is recognized by the German government, which means that only about two dozen brewers located in Cologne and its immediate vicinity may legally call their beers Kölsch.


Phil said...

Hello my beerfriend,
I am from Cologne Germany and of course I like my local beer.
I don´t know if you knew that before, but Zunft is a quite unknown Kölsch-brand here in that region.
It is popular in our Eastern landscape (the so called "Bergisches Land". Even if "Reissdorf Kölsch" or "Früh Kölsch" are the most famous sorts, "Zunft" is still the beer I personally like most.
And I am not sure, if it is really true or a legend, but I´ve heard that brewing Kölsch is only alowed in places, where you can see the Dome of Cologne from far away! ;)

Beer Diary... said...

Hi Phil,
Thanks for your input, I envy your proximity to some of the worlds best beers and hope to one day do a tour of Germany sampling as many of the regional beers as possible. Cheers!

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