The Beer: Reissdorf Kolsch
The Brewery: Reissdorf Brauerei, Koln, Germany
The Stats: 4.8% ABV, approximately 25 IBU
The History: Back in 1986, 24 of the main brewers of kolsch in Koln, Germany, enacted a proclamation known as the Kolsch Konvention, which decrees that only beers produced within the city limits can officially use the name "kolsch." Any beer mimicking the style outside of Koln should be referred to as a "kolsch-style" beer. The city of Koln, known as "Cologne" to Americans, is located in the central-west part of Germany along the Rhine River. And the water used to produce the beer gives kolsch the classic mineral-y character that separates the style from other light pilsner, malt-based beers.
Simple and refreshing, kolsch is neither sweet nor bitter. It's the every day beer for the people of Koln and it is meant to be consumed in quantity. The official glassware for kolsch is the Stange,which is specifically designed for this beer style. A traditional Stange is a tall, thin and very light 200 mL glass that showcases the brilliant clarity of the beer and helps sustain the beer's long lasting white head.
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Known as a "hybrid style," kolsch has characteristics of both an ale and a lager. The beer is fermented on the cool side of the ale fermentation scale, around 60 degrees, then it's lagered (or stored) at near freezing temperatures for at least a month to develop its character and signature brilliant clarity.
Attributes: Reissdorf Kolsch is a simple beer made mainly of German pilsner malt, Spalt noble hops, kolsch yeast, and water from the Rhine River. The beer drinks delicately and goes down easily. Since hops are meant only to balance the malt sweetness and not to be showcased on their own, there's neither a perceptible hop flavor or aroma though moderate hop bitterness presides. The beer pours brilliant gold with an everlasting head of small, compact white bubbles that are frothy like puffed marshmallow.
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Though you'll typically only find Reissdorf Kolsch on draft at German-themed restaurants or craft beer bars, it's readily available in bottles at most fine craft beer stores around town. This one was purchased at Total Wine Gilbert. The key to enjoying the beer is to be sure you get a fresh bottle. Reissdorf, like any kolsch, is a delicate beer that's sensitive to the environment. An aged kolsch will leave you very disappointed, while a fresh kolsch served in a proper Stange glass served at about 40-45 degrees is one of life's greatest pleasures.