I have posted before about Kölsch in my blog, but I will give a quick synopsis for the new readers. Kölsch is a type of beer brewed exclusively in Cologne, Germany. There are several popular breweries in Cologne (Köln), including Reissdorf, Früh, Gaffel, Dom, Sion, and more. There are other places in the world that market a beer called Kölsch, however to be officially named a Kölsch it must be brewed in Cologne in accordance with the Kölsch Convention of 1986. In addition Kölsch beers outside of Germany may not be in standards with the Provisional German Beer Law, which sets a high standard for quality and purity.
Needless to say, Germans are serious about their beer. In accordance with the German Beer Law, all beers in Germany must show all ingredients on the bottle. When have you seen ingredients listed on your American beers? The purity law, originally established in Bavaria in 1516 only allows for the ingredients of water, barley, hops, and cane sugar in beer production.
Outside of Cologne, one is probably very unlikely to come across a Kölsch. Germans are very proud of their local brews. For example . . . ordering a Kölsch in a pub in Bonn which is only a short 20 minute train ride from Cologne, would result in a very angry bartender, and possible expulsion from the establishment . . . or so I have been told. Luckily, in the United States, we are very welcoming to testing out the world's finest brews. In two seperate places, I have found real-life Kölsch, and I do not mean some sort of American version of it, but the real thing imported from Cologne.
At the Flying Saucer in Raleigh, North Carolina you can find on the menu of over 200 beers, Reissdorf Kölsch. They also have two others listed there, including Flying Dog Tire Bite, which I would ignore if you are looking for a true Kölsch. Reissdorf Kölsch is arguably the favorite beer out of Cologne, and is a definite favorite of my own. In a close second is Gaffel Kölsch which I have also found in the area.
At Tyler's Taproom found in Beaver Creek Commons in Apex, North Carolina. Tyler's is host to over 80 beers, and although the prices are a bit steep, there is a lot to say about the selection and the food. The food is delicious, and I recommend an order of the pretzels as a appetizer. Each menu item even has a beer recommendation for pairing. All of the beers are also served in their own specialty beer glass. So when I order my Gaffel Kölsch at Tyler's, it is served up in an official Gaffel Kölsch glass. All Kölsch is served in a distinct tall cylinder shaped glass, that is not common for the rest of Germany. Typical Kölsch glasses are 0.2 liters, which is not a lot of beer, but at Tyler's customers are served their Kölsch in a more commercial 0.4 Liter glass as pictured.
A special thanks to my brother who had his iPhone handy to snap a picture of my Kölsch and Pretzel at Tyler's. Check these places out if you are looking to try a Kölsch in the Raleigh, North Carolina area. However, be ready to pay for them, ranging from 5-6 bucks for a pint. Also, don't settle for imitators . . . make sure it comes from Cologne if you ever find yourself ordering a Kölsch.