Editors’ Picks: Kölsch & Kölsch-Style Ales

Päffgen Kölsch

Repeat visitors to Köln all have their favorites, and this is ours. Soft, floral-herbal hops lead the nose over light bready malt, with fruity esters more withdrawn. A soft lemony flavor note and dry finish accentuate the brisk bitterness; the stange empties quickly, just in time for the köbe to bring you a fresh one.
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: unknown
Loc: Köln, Germany

Springdale Kölsch Money

Bright, clean malt nose—like matzo drizzled with honey, with precise peardrop esters. With such a light frame, the spicy-herb bitterness is pronounced and bracing, balanced by a light, clean sweetness. A kiss of that bitterness lingers. The essence of crisp and delicate.
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 28
Loc: Framingham, Massachusetts

St. Elmo Carl

It’s simply brewed and presented without pretension; you’d never guess the fine-tuning that has gone into this easygoing blond beer. Soft chardonnay-like esters, crackery malt, and spicy hopping, only slightly more bitter than others. Tailor-made for hot Texas afternoons.
ABV: 4.6%
IBUs: 29
Loc: Austin, Texas

KC Bier Kölsch

The nose is subtle but leans fruity, as peardrop esters give a boost to lemony hop notes over lightly toasted bread. On the palate, a light sweetness evaporates into a cool, earthy, icy-snowmelt bitterness on the way to a fully dry finish. The 12-ounce bottle isn’t big enough, let alone a 20 cl stange.
ABV: 4.8%
IBUs: 22
Loc: Kansas City, Missouri

Rosenstadt Kölsch

Given oomph by the hops, there is a surprising breadth of fruit notes in the nose—peach, pear, and maraschino that edges into amaretto. On the palate, a light sugar-cookie sweetness is nicely integrated with smooth, restrained bitterness. Elegant, interesting, and neatly constructed.
ABV: 5.1%
IBUs: 25
Loc: Portland, Oregon

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