Fearful Symmetries

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11 December, 2015

The Still Waters of Colgone Run Deep: Ottekolong by Freigeist Bierkultur



Sadly, my basement will soon be bereft of biers from the free-spirited brewers of Freigeist Bierkultur in whose mission is to liberate the German palate from the chains of industrial brewing conglomerates. They do this by mining Germany's rich brewing history and devising brews that at times respect lost traditions and embrace the microbrewing revolution at others. Sometimes their biers do both at once.

Today we have Ottekolong ("Eau de Cologne"), an unfiltered Kölsch. Since Freigeist is located in Köln (Cologne), it was their destiny to brew one, the city's official bier style. I wonder how this bier is marketed in its hometown, if indeed it is. "Kölsch" is an appellation reserved for biers from a select group of breweries in and around Köln. Since Ottekolong does not conform to the specifications of the style and is not brewed by a signatory to The Kölsch Convention , they must label it in such a way to escape the scrutiny of the bier polizei. Wie sagt man "Kölsch-style" auf Deutsch?

Ottekolong pours a lovely gold hue. In a violation of The Kölsch Convention it is unfiltered and therefore a bit hazy. My stange had a small ivory head that dissipated quickly while there was a fair amount of bubbly action inside the glass.

As one would expect, the aroma had abundant cracker and toasted grains smells along with the style's characteristic fruitiness from its unique yeast strain. But there was a Noble hop presence as well that was grassy and slightly peppery too. Although Ottekolong has a light body, the clean, grainy taste was a bit richer here than in the Reissdorf, Früh, and Gaffel that I've had. This was balanced by some carbonation and those hops which were also grassy and peppery to my taste. The fruitiness was quite subdued here with the hops looming over it, especially the peppery notes.

Those hops became a little spicier on the finish which, along with the carbonation, made for a nice, moderately dry ending. Most of the Schaumhaftvermoegen slid into the bier leaving behind just a few dots of foam.

Ottekolong was basically everything you could want in a Kölsch. It was very refreshing with its light body (4.8% A.B.V.) and some nice bubbliness. Still, it was not short on flavor. The malt was substantial enough for a good, solid cracker flavor yet it didn't weigh on my tongue. I'd have loved it if there was a bit more fruitiness but, as it was, I thoroughly enjoyed the peppery hop flavor. It wasn't overpowering but rather it turned Ottekolong into a more spicy/savory take on the Kölsch than I am used to. The real shame is that I drank this bier in December instead of June.

Junk food pairing: Ottekolong is light yet hearty enough to take on a variety of junk foods. For example, it will pair well with the sweet heat of Pringles Xtra Fiery Sweet BBQ or the savory goodness of their Cheeseburger chips.

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|| Palmer, 9:34 AM

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