It’s time to talk about Kölsch! You’ve probably had a cold, crisp glass of the straw-colored liquid, but do you know its history?
Kölsch comes to us all the way from Cologne, Germany. The city takes so much pride in its liquid, in fact, that there are laws in place to prevent anyone outside of the Cologne from calling their beer a “kölsch.” All others are considered to be “Kölsch-style ales.” In the grand scheme of beer, kölsch is a relatively new style, barely dating back 100 years. And it drinks like a lager, but it’s an ale…but it gets treated like a lager. Confused? Well you should be. It’s confusing.
Let’s break it down a little further.
At the end of the day there are only two kinds of beer–lagers and ales. Lagers take a long time to make because they’re fermented at low temperatures. Ales move significantly more quickly and ferment at higher temperatures.
Kölsch uses ale yeast for fermentation, but at some of the lowest temperatures possible for ale yeast to perform under. It’s then lagered (stored to increase clarity) for four-ish weeks. It’s a very similar process to making lager, but it ends up being ale.
None of this is really important for drinking the liquid, but we figured it would be nice to know.
The Port City has a broad spectrum of kölsch for locals and tourists to sip the summer away with. It’s a perfect summer beer because it’s crisp, bitter, and typically on the lower end of both ABV and carbonation; it’s a beer meant to be consumed in quantity. In Germany, it’s served in traditional glassware called a stange and bartenders won’t stop filling your glass until you put a coaster on top to indicate you’re done. (At Flytrap Brewing they serve in the stange as well, but you gotta ask the bartender for another when you’re done. Silly NC beer laws.)
Here’s a list of all of the kölsch available in the Greater Wilmington Area:
–Flying Machine Brewing Company Vimana (available in cans)
–Flytrap Brewing Kölsch (available in bottles)
–Front Street Brewery Coastal
-Salty Turtle Beer Company Coastline
–Wilmington Brewing Company Beer Garden
–Wrightsville Beach Brewery Cobia
Special mention for a fruited take on the style:
–Mad Mole Raspberry Kölsch
So find a Wilmington taproom and order a kölsch to crush!
Tides of Tangerine: 7% Let the tangy goodness of this summer wheat ale guide your taste buds to bliss. As smooth as the glassiest day at sea, this tart, tangerine wheat ale is balanced with a refreshingly sweet finish. Never underestimate the strength of the tide, as it can be more powerful than it seems.
Sweet Boy: 8.4% A big, bold and beautifully light bodied west coast double IPA. Crisp citrus notes and all American hops. Named for Head Brewer Dani’s gorgeous, loving Saint Bernard, Sweet Boy.
Cucumber Berliner Weisse: 4.8% Introducing Flytrap’s first ever Berliner! The tart and refreshing nature of this brew is accentuated by the cooling addition of local cucumbers.
Beach Time: 5.4% A summer crusher session ipa full of citrus, pine, and tropical fruit hop flavors. Available in 16oz cans.
Southern Cross 2019: 7% Citra and Motueka hops in the kettle & dry hop, smooth and citrus-forward hazy IPA. A beer brewed yearly in honor of those who have or are still serving within Marine Special Operations Command.
Subconscious Illusion: 7.2% Double dry hopped with Citra, Mosaic, and El Dorado. Limited to one growler per person. Available by the pint Saturday at Broomtail and Sour Barn as long as it lasts.
Photo Credit: Matthew Ray Photography
Don’t miss your chance to buy tickets for Wilmington’s very first beer festival on the newly returned Henrietta!
Flying Machine Brewing Company teamed up with Wilmington Brewing Company, Wooden Robot (Charlotte), and Ancillary Fermentation (Raleigh area) to brew a collaboration beer called BOATS! (Yes, there’s an exclamation point) and host a four-brewery beer festival on a boat. Ticket holders will receive a glass, a hat, and unlimited samples, as well as a cruise on the Cape Fear River. And to top it all off, they can feel good about buying the tickets because it’s basically a $65 donation to the Cape Fear River Watch. That’s right, 100% of the proceeds will go to the local nonprofit.
But don’t let us tell you. We sat down with David Sweigart, co-owner of Flying Machine Brewing Company, to get the scoop on this Saturday’s Brew Voyage.
AT: Can you walk us through the event? What happens when the ticket holder arrives?
DS: There are two tours. Logistics for parking are provided on our website, but we recommend taking an Uber, Lyft, or taxi to and from the event. Passengers for each cruise will be given a commemorative hat and a glass, and invited to sip the evening away with four NC breweries on a river cruise. It’ll be chill. There is an inside/cover spot, so it’ll happen rain or shine.
AT: Does the price of the ticket cover the beers?
DS: Oh, yes. It’s unlimited pours.
AT: What was the inspiration for the event?
DS: Well, number one we’ve got two beautiful landmarks here and that’s the Cape Fear River and the [beaches], and we just wanted to utilize it. We wanted to have a fun event that was kind of low-key, chill, that brought in some outside breweries. But we also wanted to take advantage of some of our local environment like the Cape Fear River, which is a beautiful body of water. So take a boat trip and add on the respective breweries who we’ve paired with? Talk about a very intimate craft beer setting, and on top of it 100% of the proceeds to the Cape Fear River Watch.
Tickets for the event can be purchased at https://www.flyingmachine.beer/brew-voyage. And you should.
A weekly roundup of local and craft beer that can be found around the area on tap, in bottles, or in cans. These are not beer reviews and should be used for entertainment purposes only.
Cali Mole Rush: 6.3% ABV 67 IBUs This is a classic West Coast IPA hosting restrained caramel notes twisted with a resinous and bitter finish.
From Us Wit Passion: 6% Belgian inspired witbier with freshly zested lemonpeel and conditioned on 160+ lbs of passionfruit puree. Tart. Tropical, Refreshing.
Hammer of God: 5.3% A Pils and rice unfilitered pale lager brewed as a tribute to fallen Marine Raider MSgt Aaron Torian.
Turn the Volume Down: 7.2% An Imperial English-style Brown Ale with notes of toffee and caramel. A nod to our vibrant local music scene.
Battleship Pacific IPA: 6.3% This tropical juice-bomb of an IPA is dedicated to all of our veterans, especially those who served on the USS North Carolina in WWII. In their honor, Front Street brews with hops from the south Pacific: New Zealand Waimea and Waiiti bring notes of guava, passion fruit, and lime, with a smooth mellow finish free of bitterness.
Blueberry Temptress: 4.9% The second of the sour Temptress series, this kettle sour was made with 42 pounds of blueberry purée. Just in time for National Blueberry Month!
Just Camping: 5.2% This stout is a lighter take on Glamping, one of the original favorites. While the roasted, chocolatey flavors and full mouthfeel still remain, the low alcohol greatly improves drinkability. Freshly peeled Madagascar vanilla beans tie it all together for a perfect campfire session.
Mango Kölsch: 5.5% Waterline’s classic Kölsch kickoff of the summer season! Light, crisp and refreshing as always, with a mild mango sweetness and a light Callista dry hop for the perfect beach beer. And don’t forget–the brewery under the bridge is now filling crowlers!
Breakfast with Pegasus: 5.5% Introducing the Hay Ale! A collaboration with Edmund’s Oast brewed with vanilla, lactose, and Tiffany Hay. Tastes like vanilla ice cream!
La Surfeza: 5.7% The same crushable, crisp, Mexican lager, now brewed with a hint of lime!
Mixed Culture Volume One: 5.7% ABV This beer was brewed back in November of 2017! Flytrap used both lactobacillus and brettanomyces to add pleasant tartness and some barnyard funk, then aged it on local blackberries for over 6 months. This well balanced sour is full of delicate flavor and has been conditioning in the bottle for 4 months.
Beer Garden: 4.7% Need a lawnmower beer? Look no further. This crisp, refreshing German-style ale is the perfect beer for these hot Wilmington days.
Downtown Jasper Brown: 5.5% An American brown ale that’s a little toasty with notes of milk chocolate and sesame. Very flavorful with a slight hop kick coming from Amarillo, Citra, and Simcoe.
Plum Lavender Gose: 4.7% A collaboration with members of the Cape Fear Craft Beer Alliance that was dreamed up during Cape Fear Craft Beer Week. It’s bright and zippy, with delicate fruit character and a briny finish. Keep an eye out for the cans, designed by local graphic designer Jarred Weinstein.
The Legend of MoTraNoTus: 6.3% A bright, hazy, juicy NE IPA made with a magical combination of Mosaic, Citra, and Ekuanot hops. Lots of citrus and berry flavors with a hoppy finish.
Family Session: 4.7% A very special Session IPA brewed with tangerines between Brewer Brothers-in-Law Mike Barlas and John Savard. Find it in 4pks at both breweries!
Piracy: 8.3% Piracy is a french Biere de Garde aged in Cabernet Sauvignon barrels for 3 years. No fruit added. Just the house culture and a lot of time and careful temperature and O2 control. Bottle conditioned for 3 months to develop just the right carbonation.
2 Legit 2 Wit: 5.1%
First, a poem from the brew house:
Our crew improves our grooves yo,
not just gonna repeat Blue Moon though,
cuz some hops would be better
than that bitter orange fetter
and we’re 2 legit to wit!
This Belgian wheat uses traditional coriander spice but ditches the orange peel for orangey Mandarina Bavaria hops in the perfect dry and easy-drinking summer refresher.