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Beer Styles

German-Style Kolsch

Crisp, delicate and oh-so-drinkable, the German-style Kolsch is a beer hybrid, meaning that its production and subsequent beer drinking experience saddles qualities of both lager beers and ale beers. These light and refreshing ale-lager hybrids are perfect for warm summer days and have become a favored style by American craft brewers and beer lovers alike. In addition to their thirst quenching ability, they also are a fun beer to enjoy with food, including traditional German sausages and kraut.

German-Style Kolsch

The German-style Kolsch is light in color and malt character. This style’s fermentation process yields a light, vinous character which is accompanied by a slightly dry, crisp finish. Ale yeast is used for fermentation, though lager yeast is sometimes used in the bottle or final cold-conditioning process.

Kolsch Beer in America

Kolsch beer stems from Cologne (Koln), Germany, but has found its way onto America’s craft beer scene like many other German beers. Technically, for beer to be called a Kolsch, it has to come from the city of Cologne, but that hasn’t stopped American craft brewers from embracing the Kolsch style of beers. Craft beer connoisseurs have been enjoying American Kolsch style beers during the warm seasons since the Kolsch was introduced to the American craft scene. This beer style pairs best with bratwurst, nutty cheeses, and even lighter desserts like apricot cake. We want to help you find a brewery that makes your next favorite Kolsch beer.

Finding Your Next Favorite German Beer

You don’t have to look very hard to find a Kolsch style beer that you enjoy, but we want to help you stay on top of all the small and independent breweries on the craft beer scene. We’ve created an interactive “Find a Brewery” tool to help you do precisely that. By allowing the map to use your precise location, searching for a specific brewery, or searching by state, our map will help you keep track of the breweries in your area and even find new breweries and brewpubs while you’re traveling. We want to help you find your next favorite craft beer — which could be a Kolsch style beer — and our map is designed to do that.

Finding your next favorite Kolsch beer doesn’t have to stop here. If you enjoy the website and are interested in a convenient way to learn more about German beer, sign up to have our newsletter delivered directly to your inbox.

Category: Hybrid Beers

Food Pairings

  • Bratwurst
  • Nutty Cheeses
  • Light Apricot Cake

Glassware & Serving Temperature

Flute
40-45 °F

Commercial Examples

Commercial Examples

Appearance

Color

Straw to Gold

Clarity

Brilliant

Carbonation (Visual)

Medium to Fast Rising Bubbles

Flavor/Aroma

Alcohol

Not Detectable

Hop

Hop flavor is low and, if evident, should express noble hop character. Hop bitterness is medium

Malt

Malt character is a very low to low with a soft sweetness

Esters

Light pear, apple or Riesling wine-like fruitiness may be apparent

Phenols

Not common to style

Fermentation By-Products

Low-level sulfur notes are acceptable

Sensations

Body

Soft

Carbonation

Medium to High

Finish Length

Short

Attenuation

Medium - High

Ingredients

Hops

German Noble

Malt

Pilsner, Vienna

Water

Varies

Yeast

Ale

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