Fearful Symmetries

Witness a machine turn coffee into pointless ramblings...

25 March, 2013

Leinenkugel Tries Its Hand at a Kölsch

Leine's new midwinter/spring/summer seasonal is Canoe Paddler, a Kölsch-style brew with rye. This is the third rye Kölsch I know of from Wisconsin with House of Brews and Woodman already having brewed the style. Canoe Paddler is a "Kölsch-style" beer because Kölsch is a trademarked appellation. The Kölsch Convention says that a Kölsch isn't a Kölsch unless (the whole issue of rye being set aside) it's brewed in its "area of origin" which it defines as "municipal Cologne plus all the breweries outside municipal Cologne which acquired their vested right with the term Kölsch before this code of competition came into effect." Basically, if it doesn't come from the Cologne metro area, it can only be a "Kölsch-style" beer. The convention also dictates that a Kölsch be Reinheitsgebot complaint and I would guess that the rye adjunct isn't.

Kölsch is, in German brewing parlance, an Obergäriges Lagerbier, i.e. - a top-fermenting lagerbier. To my mind, if it's not lagered it's not a Kölsch nor a Kölsch-style. If that bad boy hasn't been sitting around in low temperatures for a spell then you've got a golden ale brewed with Kölsch yeast. Apparently Cologne had laws that banned bottom-fermenting beers and the Kölsch grew out of that brewing environment.

My photo this time isn't too horrible though I've got to go for a lower angle shot the next go round. Canoe Paddler is straw colored and very clear. I got a nice foamy head on my pour which stuck around for a while but was low in the Schaumhaftvermoegen department. And there are bubbles. Lots of bubbles. The stange is a fine glass in which to show this fine looking beer off. Giving it a whiff, I found that it smelled like crackers with a hint of pear fruitiness. Perfect. So far, so good.

The first thing I noticed when I took a sip was how effervescent Canoe Paddler is. It was like drinking champagne. Once the bubbles had done their work, I could then taste the malt. Rather than having a clean, cracker kind of flavor that the aroma hinted at, it had more of a gentle, squishy bread dough taste. Never having been to Köln, I have to admit I don't know what a true Kölsch tastes like fresh from the teat. From the imports I've had, I will cop to a preference for Reissdorf over Sunner und Gaffel. Canoe Paddler tastes like the latter two. I like Reissdorf because it has a smooth cracker-like flavor. This beer has a much chewier mouthfeel. (Is this because of the fermentation temperature?) There's enough malt/bread flavor here but my tongue was kept waiting for a bit of sweetness that never came. I think part of the problem was that Canoe Paddler is over carbonated and that mellow dryness interfered with my tongue's ability to enjoy those flavors. It finished well, though, with a dry crispness that has a little hop bitterness and some spiciness from the rye.

Junk food pairing: I paired my Canoe Paddler with some Bold Chex Mix and it was just jimdandy.

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|| Palmer, 1:48 PM


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