Cool Off With A Kölsch

I've mentioned Kölsch before, but you might not know the whole story. The style, something between a lager and an ale, originated in Köln, Germany, where it was first brewed in about 1906. The beer never really saw much popularity until about 1980, when consumption of this brew peaked. It became a contender in the German beer market and got so big that the government created the Kölsch convention in 1986, which stated that only breweries within Köln could produce the beer and call it Kölsch. But that really hasn't kept American craft brewers from adopting this style of beer.

This is a pretty mild brew and as such it's actually very difficult to make. Without big flavors, you can't easily hide flaws. But the mildness is also what makes it a perfect summer beer. It's refreshing and tinged with a hint of hops — sometimes more than you might expect, depending on the brewer — and given to subtle citrus flavors. While it's taken some time to catch on, you can find several fabulous Kölsch-style brews domestically. Which ones should you drink this summer? I have a few recommendations...

Click here for five Kölsch recommendations.

— Clare Goggin Sivits, Snooth