Bomber of the Month: July
Brauerei Heinrich Reissdorf Kölsch
By: André DiMattia
Regular Price: $4.49
Sale Price: $3.49
Sale End: 7/31/2012
Beer Advocate: 91
Rate Beer: 91
Simplicity can often speak louder than complexity. The level of one's enjoyment for the small things can be amplified from the level of comfort that comes from simple pleasures. When concerning beverages, the power from the extreme side of the spectrum can sometimes take away from the simple foundation from which basic flavors are built. Beer will always be a beverage that encompasses a highly varied range of styles, many of which are amplified versions of basic fundamentals. One in particular is the unique and somewhat obscure style known as Kölsch.
Kölsch beers are one of the hybrid styles within the world of brewing. Top forming yeast is used to initially ferment the wort and after a few days, the temperature is dropped and the beer is conditioned in very cold conditions, much as how lagers are created. This unique blending of two different styles gives these beers clarity and refinement while adding a longer flavor and more rich texture. This style is replicated throughout the world but only within the German city of Cologne can it be called Kölsch. The Reissdorf family has been brewing their version of the Kölsch since 1894 and in 1934, were the first producer to offer a bottled version. It is still a family run operation to this day and is the single greatest example of the style to be found in America.
On to the Tasting Notes:
Upon opening, carbonation fills the glass with bright white colored bubbles that slowly subside upon the burnt yellow hue of the actual liquid. Reissdorf is filtered using a centrifuge that has separated any trace of yeast and gives ultimate clarity to the beer itself. While it may share a similar appearance to some other Pilsners or Lager beers, the Kölsch aromas are much more expressive and a bit more upfront with an herbal hoppy edge. The top fermenting yeast lends a distinct aroma of cornhusks and toasted wheat, both of which are quite inviting. Fruity notes are in abundance and all without any degree of sweetness, the beer is pure and clean.
The subtle construction that holds this beer together is evident upon first sip. The first flavor is filled with a strong citrus presence, one that almost comes off as herbal in a lemon verbena or lemon grass way. Wheat bread and mineral water are felt but not in an overly distracting way. The softness of the beer’s carbonation fills the mouth and transitions into the clean flavors that refresh and brighten the palate. There is also a tangy and almost tart perk at the end of each sip, a quality that only increases the high level of refreshment. The texture is unique as it feels more rounded than a typical Lager but not as heavy as some ales come off. Thrust quenching doesn’t even begin to describe how delightful this beer drinks in warm weather.
With a bone-dry finish and a bright perk of lemony flavors, Kölsch beers are great with greens. Simple salads coated in vinaigrette or tossed in nutty olive oil will complement the ease of the beer’s flavors. Vegetables would continue on a similar path with Reissdorf being a great partner to anything loaded with mushrooms. The earthy and slight bitterness of mushrooms find a home with the zesty minerality of the Kölsch. Big roasted dishes or anything with too much charred flavors might be a little much for the simplistic range. Chicken would be an exception; even one with a hint of smoke could take a notice to the Reissdorf Kölsch. The easy and simple flavors are the one’s we tend to remember.
Drinking a chilled glass of Reissdorf Kölsch under the heat of the summer sun might be a beer moment that is so common in routine but has such liveliness to it that it simply becomes an affair of pure pleasure.