Fearful Symmetries

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02 August, 2015

Stange, Stange on the Wall, Who's Kölsch is Fairest of Them All?: Schlafly Kölsch (-style)?

Summer has become truly hot here in Madison which means I am quaffing ever lighter brews here in the sun as I await August's welcome corn. On a fairly recently trip to Chicago I purchased some aestival-ready brews from St. Louis. One of them was Schlafly Kölsch-style beer (I don't want the keepers of the Kölsch Convention coming down on me for implying that this brew was made in Köln.)

Ah, the Kölsch. The style does a delicate balancing act with the trio of grain, fruitiness, and hops. No mere golden ale, this beer must be lagered!

My Schlafly Kölsch poured a deep straw color and was slightly hazy. I presume the haze came from the wheat. My understanding is that the style is traditionally all barley so this is a deviation from the norm. My pour produced a fine pillowy white head which stuck around for a while. There was a fair amount of effervescence with bubbles aplenty moving on up.

The aroma was lovely with cracker and that unique Kölsch fruitiness vying for my nose's attention. That fruitiness comes from the yeast and Schlafly brags that theirs comes from the Gaffel Brewery. Being in Köln, Gaffel brews a true Kölsch. After smelling the beer I think that I started drooling in anticipation of what was to come. Disappointed I was not. It was crisp with that cracker aroma translating to the taste. Plus there was that trademark fruitiness which is mellow and berry-like to my tongue. Lagering takes the edge off those esters. That light graininess eventually gives way to a bit of malty sweetness which I tend to think of as tasting a bit like corn, though not creamed corn, mind you.

The brew finishes fairly dry with biscuit flavors fading and giving way to a moderate spiciness courtesy of Perle and Hallertau hops. Most of the Schaumhaftvermoegen slid down the side of the glass but I did have a couple sizeable patches of foam that clung.

I loved this brew. It may be the best take on the Kölsch style this side of Köln, where Reissdorf rules from what I can taste. My tongue was happy to let the grainy flavors battle it out with the fruity ones for supremacy. The light, unassuming cracker flavor is one of the main reasons I drink beer. This is not to damn the fruitiness because it too is great here and in perfect proportion to the malty flavors. Once a stalemate is reached, the hops come in and clean up. This balance of flavors, a light body, and a moderate alcohol content of 4.8% A.B.V. make Schlafly Kölsch a thoroughly satisfying summer brew.

Junk food pairing: I like to pair Kölsch with milder junk foods so enjoy Schlafly with some plain potato chips or regular Cheez Its.

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|| Palmer, 7:41 PM


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