Friday, July 7, 2017

Kolsch - The Serving Ritual

The Traditional Glass - It Means Something

A beer glass is just a beer glass right? Most Americans associate beer drinking with pint glasses. This is typically the glass of choice. It's thick, it holds one pint, and is hard as hell to break; perfect for my fumbling hands. But in other beer drinking nations, depending on the style of beer and location of the Brewery, your beer may be served in glasses of various sizes and shapes. Personally, I am a fan of the elaborately hand painted steins.

Let's take Germany for example. Berliner Weisse gets a goblet or tumbler, Pilsners get a tall tapered glass and the Weizen is traditionally served in a tall slender glass with a narrow bottom and larger top. But nothing quite compares to how and what Kolsch is served in.

What Makes Kolsch So Cool?

In Germany there lies a small industrial city called Cologne, pronounced Koln. This is where they produce the light German ale called Kolsch.
Kolsch is one of the lightest colored beers, similar to a German Pilsner, crisp with aroma of subtle fruit that comes from the yeast and fermentation style. It is a clean, uncomplicated beer. This is a style many American brewers produce as their summer beer and when the warm sun shines on the Vineyard, we pour an abundance. Substitute this for pilsners and other light lagers.

The coolest thing about Kolsch is how it is traditionally served in Germany. First, just sit down and order a Kolsch. The servers, called Kobes, quickly deliver your beer from a circular tray called a K√∂lschkran or Kolsch wreath in cylinder glasses called stanges, in a standing area known as a Schwemme. Before you realize your glass is empty, the Kobes drop off another stange of beer. Not ready for another? Just place your coaster on top of the stange. How cool is that? When you are finished for the night, the Kobes count the empty glasses and you pay at once. No need for a tab. I don't know about you but this could get me in trouble.

It's what's inside that counts

The Stange Glass. Stange is the German word for rod which is exactly what the glass looks like. I will be honest with you, though not the sexiest looking vessel, the stange glass is purposely designed to keep your beer cold while intensifying the flavors and aroma.

I have my own idea of beer glass service - a beer carrying Drone. We'll call it Robo Suds. Think about it. You're sitting outside at one of our concerts and locate our beer menu through an app. Choose one of our local suds and within minutes, a PDX drone lands on your table with the perfect pint of beer. It could happen, right?

One Final Thought

Did you know that Zymocenosilicaphobia is the fear of an empty beer glass?  I can certainly feel the pain. Perhaps in Cologne many beer drinkers have this treatable condition. Good thing for Kolsch bars. Just keep your glass uncovered and you will never suffer again. My fear is Kinemortophobia, the fear of zombies but that's a story for another time.

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