Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Careful with that umlaut, Eugene

Keoni's wedding being a done deal, a cozy chunk of warm fuzzies in the short term memory region of my brain, it's time to consider for a moment the surprising success of one of the beers we brought along for the festivities: Carrie's Kölsch. With all due respect, we should respectfully refrain from calling one of my favorite summer ales kölsch unless we're brewing it within the vicinity of Cologne, Germany - but considering how nobody out here pronounces it correctly anyway, we could think of it as a whole different word. It can be a great beer, but has probably developed a self-image problem since it's induction into the field of that taproom "for the ladies" staple, the blonde ale.
As deliciously realistic an interpretation as David Sedaris' Billie Holiday, the Kent Lake Kölsch from Iron Springs was the first local version that proved to me that a spot-on imitation could be made here (even then, the owners cautiously comment on how highly they regard the Kalifornia Kölsch from local brewers Magnolia). Truth is, the difficulty it provides is in its simplicity - it's a low alcohol, pale, and clear beer that has to have just the right amount of floral aromatics and quickly finishing bitterness to keep from tasting like fizzy water. In other words, a well-made version is the closest a top-fermented ale can come to a bottom-fermented pilsner. Blonde ales, by comparison, are generally thin second runnings that are designed to appeal to the "usually don't have a beer but it's nice out what the heck" crowd. If, on the other hand, you're in the "I know it's only 10am but what goes better with a bagel anyway" crowd, maybe it's time you deepen your knowledge of kölsch.


Post a Comment

<< Home