A Stange of Kölsch in Aachen
|Country of origin||Germany|
|Alcohol by volume||4.4% - 5.2%|
|Color (SRM)||3.5 - 5|
|Original Gravity||1.044 – 1.050|
|Final Gravity||1.007 – 1.011|
|Malt percentage||usually 100%|
Kölsch is warm fermented at around 13 to 21 °C (55 to 70 °F), then conditioned by lagering at cold temperatures. This style of fermentation links Kölsch with some other central northern European beers such as the Altbiers of western Germany and the Netherlands.
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The term Kölsch was first officially used in 1918 to describe the beer that had been brewed by the Sünner brewery since 1906. It was developed from the similar but cloudier variant Wieß (for "white" in the Kölsch dialect). It never became particularly popular in the first half of the twentieth century, when bottom-fermented beers prevailed as in the rest of Germany. Prior to World War II Cologne had more than forty breweries; this number was reduced to two in the devastation and its aftermath.
In 1946, many of the breweries managed to re-establish themselves. In the 1940s and 1950s, Kölsch still could not match the sales of bottom-fermented beer, but in the 1960s it began to rise in popularity in the Cologne beer market. From a production of merely 50 million liters in 1960, Cologne's beer production peaked at 370 million liters in 1980. Recent price increases and changing drinking habits have caused economic hardship for many of the traditional corner bars (Kölschkneipen) and smaller breweries. By 2005 output had declined to 240 million litres.
Thirteen breweries produce Kölsch in and around Cologne, anchored by Früh, Gaffel, Reissdorf and Kölner Verbund. There are also smaller brewers, such as Mühlen-Kölsch or Bischoff-Kölsch. In adherence to the Kölsch Konvention of 1986 Kölsch may not be brewed outside the Cologne region. A few outlying breweries were grandfathered. About ten other breweries in Germany produce beer in Kölsch-style, but are not allowed to call it Kölsch because they are not members of the convention.
In 1997, Kölsch became a product with protected geographical indication (PGI), expanding protection to the entire EU and several countries beyond it. Exports of Kölsch to the United States, Russia, China and Brazil are increasing. Exported Kölsch does not need to strictly comply with the Provisional German Beer Law, the current implementation of the Reinheitsgebot.
|Brewery||Established||Annual output in hectolitres|
|Gaffel Becker & Co||1908||500,000|
|Cölner Hofbräu Früh||1904||440,000|
Wieß (transliterated as Wiess pronounced [ⱱiːs], for "white" in the Kölsch language) is a cloudy, unfiltered version of Kölsch. It had virtually disappeared from the market during most of the 20th century, but has seen a small resurgence in recent[when?] years.
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Kölsch is a product with protected geographical indication (PGI) per EU law. The Kölsch Konvention specifically defines the rules to be followed to allow a beer to carry the name Kölsch, which includes that it must be brewed within a 50 km zone around Cologne, Germany.
- The Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin, produces a rye-flavored Kölsch-style beer, which they promote under the name of "Canoe Paddler" as a seasonal beer.
- Newburyport Brewing Company in Newburyport, Massachusetts produces a Kölsch-style beer, Das Kölsch, containing 5% ABV. Das Kölsch is brewed in the style first only brewed in Köln, Germany.
- Long Trail Brewing Company in Bridgewater Corners, Vermont produces a seasonal Kölsch-style beer, which they promote under the name of "Ramble".
- Saint Arnold Brewing Company in Houston is the oldest microbrewery in Texas and produces a Kölsch-style beer called "Fancy Lawnmower".
- Lexington Brewing and Distilling Company in Lexington, Kentucky produces a Kölsch-style beer, which won gold for Kölsch-style beer at the Brussels Beer Challenge in December 2013.
- Alaskan Brewing Company in Juneau, Alaska, also makes a summer Kölsch-style ale,
- Down The Road Brewery in Everett, Massachusetts makes a "Rasenmäher Kölsch", an extremely traditional Kölsch-style beer.
- In 2015, Samuel Adams Beer made a limited release called "Escape Route", which is an unfiltered Kölsch-style beer.
- "Gateway" Kölsch-style ale is a flagship beer produced by French Broad Brewery in Asheville, North Carolina.
- The Franconia Brewing Company's "The Koelsch" is brewed with two row pale malt, malted wheat, and Munich malt.
- Saint Louis Brewery in St. Louis, Missouri, under the Schafly brand, brews a Kölsch-style beer available year round (4.8 ABV).
- 8 Sail Brewery in the United Kingdom brews a 5.0% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Sail Away".
- In 2014, Oddbins released a Kölsch-style beer in collaboration with Compass Brewery in Oxfordshire called "Oddbins No.2".
- The Free Will Brewing Co. from Perkasie, Pennsylvania has a Kölsch-style ale called "Community Kölsch" (4.8% ABV).
- The Great Lakes Brewing Co. from Cleveland, Ohio has a Kölsch-style ale called "Lawn Seat Kölsch" (4.8% ABV).
- Land-Grant Brewing Co. from Columbus, Ohio has an "American-type" Kölsch-style beer called "1862 Ale" (4.9% ABV).
- The Blue Mountain Brewery Inc., Nelson County, Virginia, produces a Kölsch-style beer called "Kölsch 151" (5.0% ABV), named for Route 151, the so-called "Brew Ridge Trail".
- Big Boss Brewing Company in Raleigh, North Carolina makes a Kölsch-style ale called "Angry Angel".
- South Austin Brewery in Austin, Texas makes a 5% ABV Kölsch-style ale called "Kol'" beer, a wordplay on Kölsch and cold beer.
- Beau's All Natural Brewing Company in Vankleek Hill, Ontario, produces an organic Kölsch-style lagered ale, "Beau's Lug-Tread"
- Big Rock Brewery in Calgary, Alberta produces a 4.6% ABV Kölsch-style ale named "Rhine Stone Cowboy".
- Steamworks Brewery in Vancouver, British Columbia makes a 4.8% ABV Kölsch-style lagered ale called "Kanadische Kölsch".
- Chuckanut Brewery and Kitchen in Bellingham, Washington seasonally makes a traditional 4.5% ABV Kölsch-style beer which has won several Gold and Silver awards at the Great American Beer Festival, and also from the North American Beer Awards and Washington Beer Awards.
- Ninkasi Brewing Company in Eugene, Oregon released a seasonal 4.4% ABV Kölsch-style lager in 2015 called "Wünderbier".
- Crazy Mountain Brewing Company in Edwards, Colorado produces a 5% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Scenic Route Kolsch".
- Elevation Beer Company in Poncha Springs, Colorado produces a 5% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "8 Second".
- Karbach Brewing Company in Houston, Texas produces a 4.9% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Love Street".
- Parkway Brewing Company in Salem, Virginia produces a 6% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Majestic Mullet Krispy Kölsch".
- Zip Line Brewing Company in Lincoln, Nebraska produced 5.4% ABV Kölsch-style beer simply called Zip Line Kölsch.
- Blackstone Brewing Company in Nashville, Tennessee produces a 4.6% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Chaser Pale".
- Saint Benedict's Brew Works on the grounds of the Sisters of St. Benedict in Ferdinand, Indiana produces a Kölsch-style beer called "Sister Mary Kölsch".
- Sapporo Breweries in Japan produce Migaki Kölsch (Kölsch-style beer)
- Smuttlabs in Portsmouth, New Hampshire produces a Kölsch-style beer called "Kung Fo Hobo".
- Urban Chestnut Brewing Company in St. Louis, MO produce a 4.9% ABV Kölsch-style beer named "BAP", in honor of the rock band from Köln.
- Red Branch Cider and Brewing Company in Sunnyvale, California produces a 4.8% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Biere de Miel".
- Phillips Brewing Company in Victoria, BC, Canada produces an excellent 5.0% Kölsch-style beer called "Analogue 78".
- Mexican Cervecería Minerva, produces a Kölsch-inspired beer, with added wheat malt, called "Minerva Colonial".
- Worthy Brewing Company in Bend, Oregon, produces a 4.5% ABV Easy Day Kolsch German style ale.
- Muskoka Brewery in Gravenhurst, Ontario, Canada produces a 4.6% ABV Kirby's Kolsch German session ale.
- Jekyll Brewing in Alpharetta, Georgia produces the 5% ABV Big Creek Kolsch, a Kölsch-style beer.
- Harpoon Brewery in Boston, Massachusetts and Windsor, Vermont, produces a Kölsch-style summer seasonal called "Summer Beer".
- Tap Room 21, in collaboration with Rivertown Brewing Company (Cincinnati, Ohio), produces a 4.5% ABV Kölsch-style beer called "Summer Ale".
- Lakewood Brewing Co. of Garland, Texas produces the 5% ABV All Call Kolsch, a Kölsch-style beer.
- The Mark Twain Brewing Company in Hannibal, Missouri, produces a Kölsch-style beer called, "Clemens Kolsch".
- Occidental Brewing Company of Portland, Oregon produces a 4.5% ABV (Kölsch-style ale.
- Eventide Brewind in the Grant Park Neighborhood of Atlanta, GA produces a Kölsch-style beer.
- Great Raft Brewing in Shreveport, LA produces "Near and Far", an American Kölsch-style beer.
- Take 16 Brewing Company of Luverne, Minnesota produces "Country Mile" Kölsch-style beer with 4.6% ABV.
- SacTown Union Brewery in Sacramento, CA, produces a Kölsch-style beer.
- Left Handed Giant Brewing Company in Bristol produces a Kölsch-style beer called Kolsssh. 
- Sierra Nevada Brewing Company produces a "California" Kolsch-style beer; some style divergencies include Wheat Malt and higher hop utilization.
- Knupp beer (Kölsches Knupp, Kölnisches Knupp, Kuletschbier), another type of beer of Colognian origin
- Beer in Germany
- Ray Daniels, Designing Great Beers (Boulder, Colorado: Brewers Publications, 1996), 127-8 and 136-9.
- Bolsover, Catherine (1 October 2011). "Cologne's favorite beer, Kölsch, makes new friends abroad". Deutsche Welle. Retrieved 1 October 2011.
- "Please Verify Your Age - Long Trail". longtrail.com. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- "Awarded beers". brusselsbeerchallenge.com. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- Administrator. "Alaskan Brewing Company - Summer Ale". alaskanbeer.com. Retrieved 12 April 2015.
- "Alles über das Kölner Bier". Michael Berger. Retrieved 2014-02-09. (German language)
- Kölsch-Konvention (German language)
- Website of the Deutscher Brauer-Bund e. V. (German language)
- Brauhaustouren in Köln (German language)
- Kölsch - German Beer Institute (English language)
- Frankfurter Allgemeine Article on the Work of a Köbes (German language)