Kölsch, the real “champagne” of beers

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Ritual is an important part of human behavior. Whether it is going to a specific barber or having a cigarette after work, ritual surrounds us everyday.

Kölsch, one of my favorite beer styles, is surrounded in ritual. First, Kölsch can only be named as such if it is from Cologne, Germany.

Secondly, the serving of Kölsch is typically done in small, 0.2-liter Kölsch glasses.

A server at a traditional Kölsch bar in Germany will continuously serve a customer with an empty glass whether they ask or not. Many waiters keep track by marking the customer’s coaster with one dash per beer. It isn’t atypical for one individual to go through 15 glasses in one sitting.

Taking in the Rhine or enjoying the Cologne Cathedral over a few glasses of Kölsch is a common occurrence for visitors and locals.

The style of Kölsch is pretty simple. Essentially, Kölsch is a lager brewed like an ale. It is typically fermented at around 60-degrees F. After fermenting, it is often then lagered at cool temperatures for around a month.

The ability to ferment it quickly has led to many craft breweries in America making Kölsch-style beers because lagers tend to take much longer to ferment. This means that lagers spend more time in the fermentation tanks and the brewers aren’t able to produce new beers until fermentation occurs.

Every day is money in the brewing world, so instead of making traditional lagers, many craft brewers save time and money by producing Kölsch.

Like champagne, they cannot refer to it as Kölsch, so it must be labeled Kölsch-style. Many breweries simplify it even further and just call the beer a blonde ale.

We at Idyll Awhile consistently strive to serve authentic, German-style beers. Every October, we have a German beer tasting where we pair Kölsch with an assortment of traditional German dishes.

A local standout Kölsch comes from Coachella Valley Brewing Company in Thousand Palms. Their Kölschella, named after the valley, is the perfect, easy-drinking ale for the summer heat.

Traditional flavors include those of grain, lemon grass and faint hops. The beer itself is straw-colored with a crisp, refreshing mouthfeel. Kölschella is one of my favorite beers from what locals refer to as CVB.

We will be hosting a tasting event with live music, food and beer from CVB from 2 p.m. until closing Saturday, June 21.

Come by and try Kölschella amongst some other great, locally crafted beers.

To reserve a seat, call 951-659-9463.

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