Kölsch

Beer house

Time for some German beer just as the locals drink it…

Kölsch – this is a brief summary of Wikipedia‘s definition of Kölsch:

“Kölsch (also spelled Koelsch) is a local beer specialty that is brewed in Cologne, Germany. It is a clear beer with a bright, straw-yellow hue, and has a prominent, but not extreme, hoppiness. It is less bitter than the standard German pale lager.
Kölsch is warm-fermented at a temperature around 13 to 21°C (55 to 70°F) and then cold-conditioned, or lagered. This manner of fermentation links Kölsch with some other beer styles of central northern Europe, such as the Altbiers of northern Germany and the Netherlands.
Kölsch is strictly defined by the Kölsch Konvention, an agreement between the members of the Cologne Brewery Association. It is a pale, highly attenuated, hoppy, clear, top-fermenting beer with an original gravity of between 11 and 16 degrees Plato (1.044—1.065). In practice almost all Kölsch brands have a very similar gravity near the middle of this range.”

So there you have it. And that is what I’m drinking right now.

How is it? I hear you wonder.

Well… it’s okay. It’s just okay. Nothing special. I like beer and where I live in Mallorca, there are a few shops (see Sa Cisterna) that specialise in beer among other things and people in Mallorca who like beer really go crazy for German beer, as well as Belgian beer and beer from other northern countries, and that’s because in Spain beer is weak. In Spain, beer is lager. There is little variety whereas when you order a good English beer or German beer you are always in for a little surprise. Something quite different to San Miguel or Cruzcampo.

So when I was planning this trip to Cologne, trying different German beers was something that I was really looking forward to. And when I was first served this weak, tasteless lager I was quite surprised and disappointed to say the least.

Köln By Day

But I thought little of it and just decided to make sure that instead of saying yes to the waiter when he asked me if I wanted beer, next time I would check the menu or ask for different beers.

However, when I checked the menu the options were Kölsch or bottled Kölsch! All those tasty German beers we get in Mallorca were nowhere to be seen! I was puzzled.

Anyway, it turns out that the people from Cologne drink Kölsch like we drink water (or wine in Spain). When you go for dinner and sit at a table, the waiter brings beer. If you don’t want beer then you have to specifically tell the waiter, or he just assumes that you will drink Kölsch. There is little else to choose from and drinks are expensive in Cologne, including the Kölsch which was costing us 1.80€ for a small glass of 20cl. This was a standard price.

So if you go to Cologne, prepare to drink Kölsch… or you could stick to the Gluwein!

Read more about Cologne.

Filed Under: colognefeaturedfood and drinkgermanyWhere I Am Right Now

About the Author: Lisa, born and grew up in England, live in Mallorca, Spain... Have visited more than 20 countries, have twice as many to yet visit, love sharing experiences....

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  1. susan sykes says:

    Well your lovely and interesting blog has made us decide to go to Cologne for the Christmas markets 2013 it sounds lovely especially the gluwein

  2. Richard says:

    Like you, I love German beer but I really liked the kolsch although it’s probably not representative of good German beer on the whole. I liked the fact the portions are tiny so kolsch crawls are easy, and you’ve got to love a beer with its own convention!

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