What's in the Fridge This Week?

Friday, May 25, 2007

Well, not my fridge, mind you, but at least a fridge. There is a lovely little bar in Okemos, Michigan called Dusty's Tap Room. They actually don't have many taps, but they do have loads of different bottled beers for their patrons' delight; 70 at last count.

One of the beers they have is a relatively obscure style of beer (though it is gaining popularity among American microbrewers and homebrew competitions) called Kölsch. The particular brand they have is Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf Kölsch.

The beer itself poured a beautiful pale golden straw color. It was wonderfully clear and bubbly like champaigne. Incredible head retention, initially yielding a full bright white froth, calming after some time to a thin, delicate lace. After each quaff, it left a thicker ring of lacing down the glass like rings on a tree.

This Kölsch has a very clean aroma. There is some pale malt breadiness with what can be described as again an extremely clean apple note. A heavy but soft graininess is the real backbone of the nose, but there is a faint hop presence...almost pine

The taste is, again, clean. That's what I really like about this beer: it is clean and clear. It has a moderate body with a really crisp mouth feel from the relatively high carbonation; the body and mouthfeel make it very refreshing. There is also a pale malt sweetness with a little fresh cut hay and again a bit of pine, probably from the hops. What's really cool is that these are kind of complex flavors for what looks like it should be so simple given its clarity. The Kölsch here is dry with a big grainy overall palate. The crispness and carbonation keeps the mouth clean, and the hop bitterness, while light, is enhances the dryness. It finishes dry and malty with the scant piney note in the background. Crisp and clean.

I could drink this beer all night. OK, so I did drink this beer all night. Drink this beer before an appetizer. Drink it with an appetizer. Drink it with dinner if you want. Make it a session beer. This beer begs to be quaffed.

A couple of notes on Kölsh:

Technically, a beer cannot be called a Kölsch unless it is brewed on Köln (Cologne), and within sight of the cathedral in Köln. Thus, American micros and homebrews are not "Kolsch" per se, but it is certainly judged as a bona-fide BJCP style of beer. The German cops aren't going to come get you. This is an ale rather than a lager (where many people really are familiar with German lagers moreso than anything else).

Click here for a really interesting discussion of Kölsch consumption and culture in Germany found in Wikipedia. I found it enlightening, especially the piece about why Karl Marx quipped that Communism would never work in Köln, based on the popularity of this beer. Did beer stop the spread of communism?

Anyway, besides for this lovely little pub in Okemos, you can find this brand of Kölsch, brewed by one of the few "legal" breweries to brew it, in many specialty beer stores. In a word: clean.

**Update** All of the "o" in Köln and Kölsch have been changed to "ö" per instruction from george in the comments section. Thanks for the html lesson!

15 comments:

steves 10:16 AM  

Sounds like a really good beer. I was hoping you'd review something like this, as I tend to prefer clean and clear stuff when it gets hot.

Beer stopped communism? Forget containment and mutually assured destruction, it was beer. I can support that. Take that, you vodka swilling pinkos!

roger,  12:01 PM  

I so want a Kolsch key for my keyboard...

George 12:31 PM  

Hi, guys. First, Steves bouncing babe almost makes this blog NSFW!

And
Type ampersanduuml; to get ü

George 12:33 PM  

Shoot, I hit publish and not preview.

To explain: you type the ampersand symbol then no space and then the letters uuml

For a whole bunch of cool HTML code, check out this link.

Smitty 1:21 PM  

Roger:

I am so with you. I almost want to send to Germany for a keybord with the Kolsch key. Hilarious. Thanks, too, Roger for your input on my beer reviews. Part of staying a good judge is staying on top of what's allowable in the guidelines versus what I like.

steves:

I will try to bring some of this Kolsch the next time we game so you can try it. I think you'll like it.

Smitty 1:24 PM  

George:

Let me try it....

Kösch

Smitty 1:25 PM  

It worked!!

Kölsch!!

Sopor,  2:03 PM  

Interestingly enough, that does not display correctly in Firefox, Smitty... Don't know why, silly browser does everything else better than IE!

Ahhh Reisdorf, my first exposure to a real Kolsch! I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised by my first Kolsch, as I thought it would be a weenie beer!

So have you tried New Holland's Lucid yet? Quite good! Not a 'legal' Kolsch, but I really liked it, and it's local ;-)

I'm on board for the Kolsch key german keyboard, should we order a case? =)

Bob 5:39 PM  

I just picked up a six of Sam Adams Black Lager and I stumbled across the New Holland's Lucid Kösch, so I got a six of that too.

I'll let you know what I think.

Bob 5:59 PM  

I see that New Holland calls theirs a "Kösch-Style" beer.

Mike 9:30 PM  

Not working on my Firefox either.

But I'm psyched to try some Kölsch.

Did my HTML trickery work?

Mike 9:31 PM  

Yes. Good ole' Dark Wraith.

Rickey Henderson 2:41 PM  

Sounds damn good Smitty. Rickey has no decent beer distributors near him. It's killing Rickey's soul.

Sopor,  8:35 AM  

Where does Ricky live? Perhaps there are people willing to trade with Ricky? Check out beeradvocate.com and ratebeer.com if you haven't already, there's big trading groups on those sites!

Bob: yea, New Holland is cool enough to respect the German tradition and law and not call their beer directly 'Kolsch'. Props to NHBC.

Roger,  10:44 AM  

The funny thing is that I had a bottle of this in my kegerator from a recent trip to a great beer store.

Light, fizzy, with Pils malt flava, almost a lager, but that wine-y ester flavor sets it apart.

Not a beer I'd drink every day, but definitely quaffable on a hot day.

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