The city and beer style of inspiration to Ontario’s Creemore Kolsch Style Ale are, of course, Cologne, on the Rhine in Germany, and its Kolsch Bier.
Cologne is not so distant from Dusseldorf on the river, another stronghold of top-fermentation brewing in the country.
YouTube has a number of videos on beer culture in Cologne, each informative in its way. The British TV presenter and “Beer Pilgrim” Tim Charody leads the way in this example, and a good tour it is.
Drinking Creemore’s emulation while watching the video, or any other worthy Kolsch, is, in the time-tested phrase, almost as good as being there.
We learn much from the videos as a whole. The brewery of Sünner is shown, a pioneer of the style in the city. One gets a real sense of the cultural background to the tradition.
Owen Ogletree in The Beer Connoisseur site gives a good overview of the Sünner palate, as the bottled version is exported.
Another video recommends in particular Mühlen Kolsch. Its website is excellent, with a profile of its brewer, Cologne native Andree Vrana, and a schematic of its brewing process.
Other interesting information is included – is that ex-Prez Bill Clinton in one photo? The site mentions some of the culinary highlights in the city as well.
Michael Jackson, in the 1977 The World Guide to Beer, encoded “half a hen” (Halve Hahn) in the mind of every beer devotee since. An impressively historical discussion of the whimsical name – poultry it is not – appears in a page of Lindner Hotels’ site.
The dish appears up and down the Rhine actually. To my best recollection, a version was served in a Baltimore brewpub years ago when a wood keg of sticke Altbier was flown in from Dusseldorf.
That beer does still rank in my Top 5 best ever.
Gastronomy in Cologne, but of a very different kind, was paired with the city’s famous beer in 1981 when a brigade of Chinese chefs alighted in the city from Peking. The idea was to showcase cuisines of China, as described in an American news report.
The word paired must be understood in a specific sense here, as the chefs brought plenty of Tsingtao, the worthy pilsener of China, with them. No doubt the Germans who enjoyed the Chinese spread drank Tsingtao with it, if only for something different.
But for their own meals, the chefs stuck to the Kolsch Bier, leaving their national production aside. In the words of the story:
Don’t let word get back to Peking, but the Tsingtao beer flown in from China stayed untouched in a corner while the chefs quaffed Cologne beer with every meal.
The journalist made a point of noting this, as generally the chefs did not find much to appreciate in Cologne’s own food. Beer was one exception and there was a second – Black Forest Cake.
I suppose, once work was done, some got stuck in both, in the currently fashionable phrase, Brit-speak originally I think.
Epicure Chinese food and Kolsch Bier do sound a … brilliant combination. Early fusion thinking, we can say.
I may try this soon, using Creemore Kolsch with good Chinese take-out.