What is a Kolschbier (Kolsch)?


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Kolschbier is a popular “warm weather beer” and German classic.  The name Kolsch (pronounced “kelsch”) is derived from its location… Koln, Germany (or Cologne for us Yanks).  The name indicates that the beer was brewed in the traditional style of that particular city.

In order to officially called a Kolsh, the beer must be brewed by a member of the Koln Brewers Union.  Much like the name “champagne” in the snobbier world of wine, the name Kolschbier is protected and controlled by the Union and may not be used by anyone else.

Tasting Notes

Kolschbier is golden in color with a somewhat hazy finish, partly due to the addition of wheat, but mostly the result of being unfiltered.  The style should have a delicate, lightly fruity flavor with a dry and medium hoppy finish.  A very refreshing beer that is often enjoyed in the warmer summer months.

While it is brewed as an ale, with top fermenting yeast, it undergoes a cold fermentation and aging period, giving it its “hybrid” status (see Difference Between and Ale and a Lager for more info).

The Kolschbier is aslo said to have medicinal powers, specifically as an excellent curative for digestive problems (so put the pepto back on the shelf and grab a Kolsch!).

Examples of Kolschbier

Only Available in Colone:

PJ Früh Kölsch

Dom Kölsch

Küppers Kölsch



US Attempts at Kolsch

Goose Island Summer Time German-Style Kolsch Bier

Crooked River Kölsch