Got some real summer heat yesterday, and when’s it that hot, I’m not thinking about big hoppy or complex brews. So while grabbing dinner before some mini-golf with our younger daughter, I opted for Cape Ann Brewing Company’s Kölsch, Fisherman’s Ale, which was on tap.
Now, admittedly, Kölsch is not a style I’ve had often. I think the last one I had was from a Sam Adams mix pack and it didn’t make me look for more. But, again, with this heat, something on the lighter side seemed appropriate, and I didn’t notice any interesting Pils offerings.
Kölsch could be considered a gateway style to those who are used to drinking American light lagers (BMC). This version was golden in color with very little head. Ofd course, it could have poured with more head and the bartender may have let it settle and added more to fill the pint glass. The brewery’s website lists it at 5% ABV and 24 IBUs. Kölsch typically uses noble hops, although enough just to balance, so it’s not going to offer much in the way of noticeable bitterness, and little hop flavor.
Another “gateway” beer style is blonde ale, which some brewers make with Kölsch yeast as well. But the differences are this. Kölsch uses primarily pilsner malt and noble hops, whereas Blonde Ale is more of an American style, using more standard ale base malt, like 2-row, and while some are made with Kölsch yeast, they can use clean american ale yeast or even English ale yeast (which would provide slightly more fruity esters). American Blonde ales sometimes even have fruit added. Kölsch is a German style, which offers less flexibility or variety in the ingredients.
Kölsch is a bit more crisp and clean than the typical Blonde Ale, giving it some lager-like qualities.
The Fishermen’s Ale went down easy and was refreshing, but I think I would tend to prefer a crisp lager or pilsner to beat the heat and give me a bit more crispness and hop bite. Nothing against this example, as I think that I find the Kölsch stye just a bit lacking in general.