GIVE ME THE 'REAL' KOLSCH!
Pure German Beer
I have a confession to make - I love beer! I taste a lot of it and do partake in its consumption regularly (although in a lot less volume). A few years ago I was a little nervous about my true knowledge of beer. I understood the flavours, how good quality raw materials made the difference and how brewers put their own spin on their style. But it wasn’t until I worked with this 35 year old business owned by German-Aussies that I really understood the European (German) way of thinking. I was made aware of the the strict laws that were being adhered to in regards to regional and raw materials being used.
The German Purity (Reinheitsgebot) Laws that governed Beer and Spirits has been in place since 1516. They stated that Beer can only be produced from certain ingredients - barley, hops and water - and that the raw materials had to be of very high standards. This was protected and checked by a law, which all came about when the water supplies all those years ago were very poor and the population consumed (a lot of) beer to quell their thirst. Beer was much safer to drink than water in those days! This turned out to be one of the first consumer protection laws in the world.
Over the years, this Purity Law spread across Europe because producers outside of Germany wanted to sell their beer in Germany. The Purity Law no longer exists, having been revoked in 1980, however most producers still stick to this regime today when making their beer for the German market.
My knowledge of German Beer was further enhanced when I visited Cologne, Germany a couple years ago for Prowein, one of Europe’s premier wine events.
I was lucky enough to have a local take me around the city, eating the local food and trying out mainly Beer. I was amazed by the differences in style! And it was interesting to see that each region/style of Beer has their own glassware. I had, what we call in Australia, a session Beer which was served in 200ml ‘test tube’ like glasses. In Germany, instead of paying for each glass of Beer at the counter, you are given a coaster and as the beer staff come around to serve you a glass of Beer, they stroke-mark your coaster and at the end of the night it is tallied up and paid for - it’s then you realise how much you have drunk!
So now that I've given you a bit of background on German Beer, let's pick a good one to talk about a bit more. The Früh Kölsch Beer is a warm top-fermented Beer that has a history dating back to 1838 where ‘Altbier’ (Alt meaning alternative to the popular bottom fermented lagers) was a specialty in Dusseldorf and the Netherlands.
The Kölsch style was popular at the time in Germany as the lager styles were well ingrained. However in Cologne where Kolsch originated from, there were 40 breweries, and the first half of the 20th Century didn’t see much growth in its popularity. When the second World War hit and Cologne was bombed to almost non-existence, it left the brewing industry devastated. It wasn't until the late 50’s and 60’s when some of the older Breweries including Kruh managed to re-establish themselves, that Kolsch gained popularity again.
We tried quite a lot of Kolsch Beer during out time in Cologne, but Fruh was the beer that stood out. Perhaps it was the venue, the well presented packaging, but for me it truly was one of the best beers in Cologne. Fruh has a different and interesting take on their Kolsch as it is brewed using an ale yeast, which is fermented at cooler temperatures and then lagered. The traditional styles however are warm top-fermented and then lagered at colder temperatures. Out of all the Kolsch (as well as the other beer styles in Cologne) this won me over as it had more flavour (some other Kolsch I had tasted were a little wishy-washy), citrus aromas, nice grainy palate, great bitterness for balance, crisp and dry and very drinkable.
Great session beer that most palettes will like and very easy to drink.
This Beer goes very well with German snags, mushed up potatoes and Sauerkraut!
See our short video below that talks about 2 great German Beers.
Sean - The Wine Guy
(and aka The Beer Guy)
PS: Remember our promise to you that if you don’t like the Fruh Kolsch, let us know and we’ll refund you straight away. So go on, order risk-free and enjoy.