Jared Beers Up

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IMG_3045Jared Wines Up.

As much as it pains me to put a strike through that word, today we are all about beer. Or bier. We are in Germany after all, and while I’m here primarily to visit the wine regions along the Rhine and Moselle, the malt and hops here are mighty distracting.

Who’s thirsty?

I’ve got just the thing for you…

Here in Cologne, the local specialty is a beer called Kölsch, named, of course, after the town (Köln). And it’s the perfect quaffing beverage for warm summer days and nights. Hell, I’ve seen people drinking this first thing in the morning, And no, I wasn’t looking in the mirror. Kölsch has been brewed in this town since the eight hundreds(!), and is specific to Cologne as stated in the Reinheitsgebot, the provisional German beer law.

It’s served in small, cylindrical glasses, either 100 or 200 ml, often referred to as stanges. Supposedly the ale stays fresher this way. I think it’s because they go down faster. Either way, this is a low-alcohol, crisp, slightly citrus-y ale, not that different from some of the Belgian white ales. And man, is it good.

The thing I like most about this beer is the way it finishes clean and dry– that is, there’s no heavy maltiness on the finish, and your mouth doesn’t taste like old beer after you’ve had a few. Hence the ease of multiple glasses.

Another cool thing about this beer is that (beer-geek/Hazel alert) it is an ale and a lager; although it’s “top fermented” at higher temperatures, thereby lending itself to the ale family, it’s also stored at colder temperatures, or “cold conditioned” for a period of time, which is what a lager is. It’s a two-faced beer!

There are some exceptions to the rule of this beer being brewed only in Cologne, and actually my first experience with kölsch was years ago at a McMenamins pub in Portland. At the time, I thought very little of it, but after a glass or two of their “Terminator” stout, very few things will makIMG_3038e an impression on you.

I will say that I bought a bottle of Gaffel Kölsch from a local kiosk (shop), and the difference between what I had at the brauhaus was pretty drastic. The bottled version was still crisp and light, but also had some sharp bitterness and an ending sour note. Go for thIMG_3292e draught…

I also enjoyed a Weisbier from Maisel’s Weisse. Served in one of those super-duper neato (I’m running out of adjectives here) vase-shaped glasses, this was absolutely delicious. Not as clean and light as the kölsch, but still smooth and filled with apple and subtle licorice flavors. I never thought of wheat beers as particularly tasty. Again, I’ve ho-hummed these beers in the past, but I think I’ve been enlightened here.

This beer was unfiltered, giving it a darker, slightly cloudy appreance, with a rich, golden hue. And honestly, the only reason I forsook the kolsch is because it just looked so damn good on other people’s tables. One guy gave me a hard look after seeing me stare at his glass for a minute. I’m very happy to say it didn’t dissapoint, and I even had a second. It would have been insulting not to.

Alas, I will continue to wine up, and not forget about the riesling here. I promise I’ll shave the “beerd”. And if I can’t find the bier bike, I’ll keep an eye out for the bier bus. You can hear it coming from a mile away– and I’m talking about the noise from inside the bus.

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Until next time,

Prost!

Jared

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~ by Jared on July 17, 2009.

2 Responses to “Jared Beers Up”

  1. If the only way to have a good Kolsch is to go to Cologne then so be it.
    To bad we can’t take the bier bus (or bike) all the way from Portland.

    gman

    • No worries- we’ll create our own beer/wine/whiskey bike/bus when I get back into town, complete with wipers, crash bars, and a snack bar.

      And a connection for the wii…

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