What is a Kolschbier (Kolsch)?

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 also 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:

US Attempts at Kolsch:

Comments on this post are closed as of September 2020. Existing comments are preserved for informational purposes.
BARMSEPTEMBER 5, 2010 AT 5:10 AMKölsch is not hazy, and it is filtered.It is also neither an ale, nor a “hybrid”, whatever that is. It is a top-fermenting beer which goes through a period of cold conditioning. Simple as that.
BARMSEPTEMBER 5, 2010 AT 5:11 AMOh, and it is called Kölsch not Kolschbier.
DEANMAY 18, 2011 AT 9:37 PMIsn’t that what hybrid means?Here is the category from the 2008 BJCP Style Guidelines (which is what is posted on bjcp.org in 2011)Category 6 — Light Hybrid Beer6A. Cream Ale6B. Blonde Ale6C. Kölsch6D. American Wheat or Rye BeerThat pretty much puts it in the category of hybrid.
CHARLIEMAY 14, 2013 AT 12:19 PMColorado Kolsch by Steamworks Brewery, Durango, CO. BAM!!
LES DAVINSONFEBRUARY 24, 2017 AT 3:51 PMI had a few of these in a Koln Bierkeller excellent stuff it was plinking away for a good while some drops a good 8 inches from the glass.
TOMNOVEMBER 14, 2019 AT 9:43 PMSchlafly makes a tasty Kolsch.
MARTYMARCH 24, 2020 AT 12:48 PM“It is a top-fermenting beer which goes through a period of cold conditioning.” The perfect definition of a hybrid beer.