The Culture and History of Kölsch

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May 19, 2014 by Prost Brewing

The Köln skyline at night

The Köln skyline at night

How much history is behind that glass of German style Prost bier you’re drinking? One of the many aspects of our biers we’re proud to highlight is the origins from which they stem. Our Kölsch is an authentic version of a bier style that’s steeped in tradition and specific to one western German city.

Kölsch is the specialty bier of the city of Cologne (Köln), which sits on the beautiful Rhine River. Though it’s a relatively modern style, there’s so much about the bier’s history and culture that make Kölsch a unique style. How it’s served is special – Kölsch is traditionally served in a 200 mL glass called a stange. If you ever find yourself in a Köln pub or bier hall, those who serve you your Kölsch are called Köbes. Köln is also an ale, which is uncommon in a land known for its lagerbiers.

A kranz (wreath) of Kölsch at Gaffel, one of Köln's breweries

A kranz (wreath) of Kölsch at Gaffel, one of Köln’s breweries

Though Kölsch was first brewed in the early 1900s, it didn’t gain popularity until the 1960s. In 1986, the member breweries of the Kölsch Konvention, or the brewer’s association in Köln, designated exactly what constitutes Kölsch bier. The Konvention also has the say on which breweries outside the Köln region can and cannot label their bier a Kölsch. The European Union thought so highly of this regional specialty that it gave Kölsch a protected designation of origin in 1997, helping to promote the style and protect its authenticity.

Our version of the Kölsch style adheres to the traditional brewing methods, ingredients, and taste that you’d find in any brewery in Köln. Something to consider as you sip on this crisp, refreshing and delicate bier. Prost!


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