German-style Beer Part IV: Kölsch

A crisp, light, and refreshing beer is my beer preference on a hot day and a Kölsch is all that and more :) Kölsch is a German-style beer that is only brewed in Cologne. Cologne is a city located in North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen), Germany. It is not a city necessarily known for its beer brewing except for the Kölsch with Kölsch being the local dialect for “of Cologne.”

A Kölsch is similar to a Pilsner but more complex in flavor and has less of a bitter taste. The Kölsch is a lightly-hopped, golden beer with subtle fruit notes. It is a top-fermented and filtered brew.

Technically the Kölsch is an ale but it is fermented at cooler temperatures allowing it to gain characteristics of a lager. It is lighter than typical ales but contains the familiar hints of fruit. It pours a white head that usually does not persist.

This beer style first gave name to a beer brewed by Sunner Brewery. The Sunner Kölsch is delightful and held all the characteristics mentioned previously. There is also the Reissdorf and Gaffel Kölsch that can be found bottled in the U.S. To give a good review I would have to try all of these :)

If you are a local, I found the Sunner Kölsch at Argonaut Liquor in Capitol Hill. Currently, they do not have the other brands mentioned but I will write a review if I can find it nearby.

To truly be a “Kölsch” it must be brewed in Cologne, however there are American imitations of this style of beer. The Asher Brewery in Boulder, Colorado brews a tasty Green Lantern Organic Kolsch. It was a light bodied golden ale with a “kiss of hops.” Though I have not been able to taste a fresh Kölsch in Cologne it has the similar qualities as the Sunner Kölsch.


It was so refreshing I forgot to take a picture (right) before I drank it all! I will write a more in depth review of the Asher Brewery soon and it will contain the restaurants in Colorado that have their beers on tap.

The Kölsch shares a history with the Altbier or “old beer.” Grimm Brothers in Loveland, Colorado brews a Little Red Cap that is an Altbier style (check back soon for a detailed review).

More and more American breweries have been experimenting with the Kölsch style beer but it is still somewhat of a hidden secret. It is difficult to brew and easy to ruin which is why many brewers stay away.

This beer is for all beer lovers, no matter your personal preference. The flavor may be delicate but it is still enough to keep you intrigued!

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15 responses to “German-style Beer Part IV: Kölsch

  1. “Sunner Kolsch beer” sounds and looks so good!! I like the less bitter taste and just a touch of fruit flavor!

    • I am a hophead as well but I like to explore other beers as well! A lot of people don’t enjoy too much hops so I try to be diverse in my beer blogging :)

      But definitely a Kolsch on a warm summer day is the best!! I wish more people brewed them around here…

    • ha ha have you tried a Kolsch before? If not, they are so refreshing! :) And you can drink one before 7…well maybe just on the weekends ;)

      Thanks for stopping by!

    • Yay! They are suppose to have beers on tap at Fresh Craft, Pizza Fusion, Watercourse and a couple other places. I just don’t know if they will have the Kolsch on tap. I hope so! Let me know :)

  2. I have to say, I’m not a beer drinker. I’ve tried it…even the fruity ones…and I still can’t seem to find a taste for it. I do however appreciate hearing about other people’s passion for beer such as yourself! Your posts are peaking my intrigue…maybe the next time I’m out, I’ll give it another try :) I’ll even look out for this Kölsch, since you mentioned its less bitter (and that’s what I dislike most about beer).

    • Yes, try a Kolsch if you can (they are a little harder to find). I think the taste is very mild..it does have a LITTLE hops but if your issue is more the bitterness then you might enjoy a Kolsch :) They are more like a champagne beer (kinda) but better than Miller High Life lol

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