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Kölsch Delivery or Pickup

The Instacart guide to Kölsch


About Kölsch

Kölsch is a German-style beer that was originally brewed in Cologne, along the Rhine River in Germany. It is a bright and clear beer with a light yellow color. It is believed that the term “kölsch” was first used by the Sünner brewery, in Cologne, in 1918, referencing a beer that had been brewed there since 1906. Kölsch is a filtered version of an ale called  Wieß, which means "white" in the Kölsch dialect. 

Kölsch is a top-fermented beer style that the 2015 edition of the Beer Judge Certification Program (BJCP) Guidelines describes as a crisp and clear, delicately balanced deer with a low, grainy-sweet malt and spicy hop aroma. 

In the late 19th century, when Germany had various darker beers, Czech pilsner became very popular. The clear, golden brilliance of the pilsner garnered much love from beer aficionados, which led to the German brewers creating their own lighter versions. Bavarian brewers created the Helles lager, Dortmunder was developed towards the north, and Cologne gave us Kölsch. 

Before World War II, Cologne had more than 40 breweries, whereas only two breweries were left by the end of the war. Several breweries re-established themselves after the war and proved to be strong competition in the 1940s and 1950s.  Kölsch was unable to match the sales of bottom-fermented beer then. Fortunately, the beer style began to grow in popularity during the 1960s, surviving the competition with exports worldwide, including the United States, Russia, Korea, China, and Brazil.

The Kölsch beer style has maintained a protected geographical indication (PGI) within the European Union since 1997. This prohibition means that this beer can only be made within the periphery of 30 miles of Cologne, where it was first made. Breweries worldwide make this style of beer, but European breweries are not allowed to call their beer Kölsch, based on the PGI.

There are also stringent instructions given by Kölsch Konvention, as defined by the members of the Cologne Brewery Association. According to the Konvention, to be considered the Kölsch beer style, it must be a pale beer with a bright and clear appearance, with top-fermented yeast and an attenuated hoppy taste. It must adhere to the rules laid down by the Reinheitsgebot, which is a series of regulations implemented in Germany for the ingredients used in brewing a beer.

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FAQs About Kölsch

Pilsner uses lager yeast and is the cleaner and more bitter of the two. In contrast, Kölsch uses an ale yeast which gives it a fruity flavor through fermentation and is comparatively less bitter. Despite the Kölsch yeast being an ale, it traditionally is fermented on the cooler storage like a lager.

No other beer can boast of an accord like the Kölsch Konvention, which states that a beer-style must fall into a certain bracket to be called a Kölsch. A crisp, light, top-fermented, German variety of hop-accented and filtered beer that is exclusively brewed in the Cologne region of Germany and nowhere else.

Kölsch beer originally must come only from Cologne, Germany. Still, America's craft beer scene is greatly influenced by it, and American craft beer aficionados have been sipping on American Kölsch-style beers during the warm seasons. 
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