June 17, 2013 by Prost Brewing
While the Reinheitsgebot (beer purity law) of 1516 was pivotal in the development of barley based lagers, this law did not affect the brewers of the Rhineland who instead chose to stick to making the old style ales, creating two ales still prized today, Alt & Kolsch. While brewing in the warmer summer months was illegal in Bavaria, the cooler climate of the Rhineland gave brewers the chance to brew old style ales such as Kolsch and Alt throughout the entire year. Looking for ways to store their beer, the brewers of the Rhineland, experimented with storing the fermented beer in cool caves and cellars. This experimentation lead to the invention of two ales that undergo extra aging in a cool environment (i.e. lagering), allowing for those characteristic ale flavors to be mellowed leaving a crisper, cleaner flavor.
Each of the ales were cherished by the German cities from which they were created. Just 40 km apart on opposite banks of the Rhine river, the cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf each cradled their own brewing traditions that resulted in the two traditional ales Kolsch and Alt. In Cologne, you may encounter Germans, young and old, drinking their pale yellow, subtly flavored Kolsch in dainty glasses. Across the Rhine, Germans uphold the more ale-like flavor of their dark brown Alt that has been described to be stronger than Kolsch in every way with an apparent taste of hops and roasted malt. Each city is proud of their own beer style, refusing to allow for much integration, stubbornly praising their own city’s beer as the best.
Regardless, both of these cold conditioned traditional German ales are ideal summer brews meant to be drunk fast and fresh, downing more than one glass in a sitting. To get your own taste of these two rival beers from the Rhineland, head to Prost Brewing in Denver to taste them side by side. These are Prost’s freshest brews of the moment, just in time for the beginnings of summer.