Lagered Ale (Kölsch)

Style of the Month: Lagered Ale

If you want to change up what’s in your beer fridge, try a Kölsch. Crisp and refreshing, it's fermented like a lager, with very little bitterness. 

Ready to Explore?
Once upon a time, you had to travel to Köln, Germany, to sip the region’s famously dry, hoppy Kölsch ale. (The waiters who serve Kölsch keep replacing your empty glass with full ones until you cover your glass or ask for the bill.) True Kölsch ales still only come from that region, though there are many "Kölsch-style" ales to try as well.

You May Taste
The smooth complexity of aged ale with a clean, easygoing finish. This light- to medium-bodied beer balances grassy hops and grapey malts.

Sip Them With
Savour Kölsch’s light bitterness and clean finish with a fruity dessert, such as a pie or tart. They also pair wonderfully with savoury dishes as well, such as charcuterie, sausages, hearty sandwiches or a cheese plate.

Serving Tips
Kölsch is traditionally served in a tall cylindrical glass known as a stange (German for rod or pole). Known as the Champagne flutes of the beer world, the shape focusses aromas and preserves delicate carbonation. The small size also ensures that your Kölsch doesn't have time to become warm. (If you don't have a stange, serve in any tall flute-shaped glass, or a Tom Collins glass. 

Kölsch should be served lightly chilled. If it's too cold, you may miss out on the complexity of flavour that Kölsch is known for.

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Beer FAQs

Your Top Questions Answered

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What is craft beer?

Craft beer is made by small-scale breweries, often independently owned, that practise traditional artisanal brewing techniques to create authentic and uniquely flavourful beers. These craft brewers may focus on either classic or lesser-known styles of traditional beer, or create innovative new modern brews. 

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How many calories are in a beer?

A standard 340-millilitre or 12-ounce beer that has five per cent alcohol by volume has about 150 calories. Styles of beer that contain more alcohol, such as IPAs, have more calories — up to 170. Light beers, which have less alcohol, have around 100 calories. While darker beers sometimes have a higher alcohol content and therefore more calories, that’s not always the case: consider Guinness Draught, a dark stout, which has just over four per cent alcohol by volume and 125 calories per 12 ounces. 

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How many beers are in a keg?

Most standard North American kegs hold 58.7 litres: in terms of standard 340-millilitre or 12-ounce bottles or cans, that’s 165 servings; if you’re counting by 16-ounce pints, its 124 servings. European beers often come in 50-litre kegs, yielding 140 340-millilitre glasses or 105 pints. Smaller 30-litre kegs (sometimes called “pony kegs”) give 82 standard beers or 62 pints. Mini-kegs (Heineken, for example) hold five litres: that’s about 10 pints or 14 glasses. 

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How is beer made?

All beer is made with four key ingredients: barley (or other grains), water, hops and yeast. First, barley is malted (meaning the grains are sprouted and then kiln-dried) to get ready for brewing. The malt is then mashed, or cooked with warm water, to create a sugary liquid called wort. The wort is boiled with flavouring hops, and then in the final step, it’s fermented with yeast, which creates the alcohol and finished beer.

There are many different styles and regional traditions of brewing, but to simplify, they basically fall into two categories: for ale, the beer is stored at room temperature while the yeast feeds on the sugar in the wort and produces CO2 and alcohol as by-products; for lager, fermentation is the same, but it happens at cooler temperatures so the process takes a little longer

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How long does beer last?

Check for an expiry or best-before date on bottles and cans: “best” is best when consumed fresh. Bottles and cans stored at room temperature are safe to drink for at least four months after purchase and up to eight months when it’s stored in the refrigerator or a cool place. Draft or craft beer stored in a glass bottle keeps for two or three days in the refrigerator when tightly capped. And remember, keep beer away from light: it can develop a “skunky” flavour from a chemical reaction to UV light, which is why it’s usually packaged in cans or dark glass bottles.

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What is beer made of?

Most beer is made from just barley, water, hops and yeast. That’s all! Each ingredient contributes to the beer’s flavour, as do the specifics of the production process. Some brewers may use other grains, such as corn, rye, rice, wheat or even oats, to produce different types of beer. Some styles even incorporate additional flavouring ingredients, including fruits and herbs.