beer fun friday: Sünner Kölsch

It’s Beer Fun Friday already!  This past week my husband and I visited one of our favorite local watering holes; Fifth Street Brew Pub.  This place is the first of its kind in Dayton, OH when it comes to breweries.  Fifth Street is a Co-Op and you can purchase a membership which makes you an equal share owner of the brewery.  There is a Board of Directors that makes decisions for the Co-Op and each member has a vote when it comes time for elections.  The Co-Op doesn’t exist to make piles of profits so any profits made go back into the business.  According to its website, Fifth Street Brew Pub now has over 2,700 members (including me).  Woo!

So there we were at Fifth Street Brew Pub and it just so happened to be Sünner Kölsch day!  Kölsch is referred to as a “top fermenting” lager beer which pretty much goes against everything I wrote in this little post here about the difference between lagers and ales.  This particular beer is made with top-fermenting yeast which does its magic at warmer temperatures and then the beer is conditioned just a like a lager.  This conditioning gives it a unique, clean lager taste even though it technically uses yeast that ferments like an ale.

Kölsch is special to Cologne, Germany and technically only beers brewed in Cologne can be labeled as “Kölsch” beers.  Lots of breweries make this style of beer so finding one to try shouldn’t be that difficult.  There are 13 different breweries in Cologne alone that brew this type of beer.  It’s kinda like Champagne (you know…. that sparkling wine from the Champagne region of France?).  Kölsch has been brewed by the Sünner family since 1830 and this particular brewery is the oldest brewery in Cologne.  Check out the Sünner Brauerei website and take a little virtual tour of the brew house.  Look at all that copper!!

The cool thing about Kölsch when it is served in Germany, is that it comes in a skinny 0.2 liter glass called a stange.  Full glasses are carried around on these fancy trays and when you a ready for another, you just grab one from the tray.  A tally mark is scribbled on your bierdeckel (coaster thingy) and when you’ve had your fill, you pay for the number of tallies.  Careful…  it only takes 5 of these little skinny cuties to add up to a Liter of beer.  I should know… I had 5 of them.

If you haven’t tasted a Kölsch before, give one a try the next time you see it on the menu at your local brewery or favorite pub. It is typically pale yellow in color and should be super clear.  The aroma is a pretty subtle sweet grainy sort of smell.  There might be some fruity esters hanging around but nothing overpowering.  This style of beer has a subtle hop profile so you won’t find much there in terms of hops.  I find that the initial taste of a Kölsch is a bit metallic.  My husband thinks the sweet grain translates to metallic on my palette.  It might not taste metallic to you but more on the grainy / sweet side. The hops are usually low to moderate but I could find subtle hints in the Sünner Kölsch.  Overall a tasty beer and a good style to try.

sunner kolsch / photo by:  sarah browning

a sunner kolsch at Fifth Street Brew Pub / photo by: sarah browning




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