Opening the window for Day 12 on the Beer Hawk Advent Calendar revealed a bottle of Früh Kölsch. Now I know people have recently been slating me for banging the Craft beer (or not) drum, but I make no apologies here. Kölsch, made in Cologne by a brewer with 112 years of tradition is just NOT Craft and deserves no place in a Craft Beer Advent Calendar. It would however fit precisely into a curated selection of quality and distinctive world beers, sub-category Traditional German Regional beers.
Kölsch strictly speaking should only be brewed in Cologne, something ratified by the Kölsch Convention of 1986 and later accreditation as a product of (EU) Protected Geographical Indication. Essentially, you can make it to the same recipe wherever you want, but you can’t call it Kölsch unless it comes from Cologne.
I’ll stick my hands up here. I’m not really familiar with this style of beer. I recall hearing somewhere that it doesn’t stand being bottled and the only place to drink and really appreciate it is in Cologne, so I’ve never bothered. On that basis I’m going to reserve judgement. I could sense the potential in the beer, but this particular bottle didn’t float my boat.
To me it just didn’t feel carbonated enough, there was a bit of a head on the pour but it soon went flat and lifeless until it looked like a glass of Chardonnay. The only signs of life were a few trails of carbonation effervescing their way to the surface, you really had to hold it up to the light to see them. Tastewise, it had a crisp fresh lemony taste, almost like a wine spritzer. A bit of hop taste and a delicate bitterness. I could tell all the flavours were in there, in a very subtle, delicate way, but I could also detect a slight sweetcorn taste. I know that shouldn’t be in there, so maybe I got a Friday afternoon sort of a bottle? The bottle was well in date, by the way, BBD 20-07- 2017, although the sweetcorn hint would probably be produced during the brewing.
Verdict – I won’t be trying this again until I go to Germany, when It will be a must do (along with lots of other things).