Thursday, June 30, 2011

The joys of obscure German styles

A couple of brief notes from the wider world of beer:

* The New York Times opines today on the value of the humble Kolsch, a light golden ale style native to Germany. Eric Asimov, who in the world's best job gets paid to write about such things, calls Kolsch an "ideal hot weather beer."

What is it about Kölsch? Well, it’s a snappy and beautifully refreshing golden ale, bright without being overbearing. From the first sniff of its grainy, malty aroma, to the delicately fruity, lightly bitter flavors in the mouth, to the brisk, clean, energetic feeling after you swallow, a good Kölsch offers a smooth journey of sensations that may be unremarkable individually but are extraordinarily pleasant as an ensemble.

Of course, those of us in Durango can buy six-packs of Steamworks' Colorado Kolsch, a past silver-medal winner at the Great American Beer Festival, at any corner liquor store. It's always amusing when big media outlets such as the Times learn about things we've been enjoying for some time. Welcome to the party, New York.

Coincidentally, or not, because of the hot weather, I found myself last Sunday sharing an $8 pitcher of Kolsch at Steamworks. It's very light (4.85 percent ABV, 17 IBUs), but it really is an ideal summer beer.

As Asimov notes, one can enjoy a fair amount of low-booze Kolsch with no regret.

* Speaking of relatively obscure German styles, I was pleased to see a bottle of Berliner Weisse at Star Liquors in Durango after enjoying a locally brewed example of the style at Block 15 Brewing in Corvallis, Oregon.

The one at Star, 1809 Berliner Weisse, is actually German. If you've had a hefeweizen, it's not so far off from Berliner Weisse. But the extremely pale Berliner Weisse style adds Lactobacillus yeast, giving an alluring tartness that in my opinion elevates it above the hefe. Definitely worth trying.

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