An appellation protected by the Kolsch Konvention, the name Kolsch denotes the soft, lightly hoppy beer crafted at one of about 20 breweries in and around the town of Cologne (or Koln). Of course, brewers outside the region brew them too; they’re simply called kolsch-style brews. All versions are pale gold and very clear with a fragile white head that emits a very low pilsner malt aroma characterized by suble fruit scents. Smooth, crisp and lightly dry in the swallow, kolsches present a delicate flavor of soft malt, an almost unnoticeable fruity sweetness and medium bitterness with a signature lightly puckering tang in the finish. Noble hop flavors and bitterness range from low to moderate. Though kolsches aren’t the lightest beers produced—they offer medium bodies, moderate carbonation and ABVs between 4.4 and 5.2 percent—their flavors are so fragile, the beers are prone to oxidation, and therefore have very short shelf lives.
Pair: Kolsches’ light fruit notes and tang complement any lightly prepared whitefish: The beer’s light effervesence brightens up the fish’s already light texture, while the brew’s fruitiness infuses the meat with some sweetness.
Glassware: stange or pint glass