I feel as though there is so much to explain before I even begin this project. Indeed, your probably already wondering, "Who the hell is Grizzly Bear, and why does he love Kölsch?!". Maybe the second part of that thought should be qualified by instead asking "... and why does he love Kölsch so much?!" I mean, come on, who wouldn’t like a crystal clear, refreshing, top fermented and cold conditioned beer?!
But... who is this elusive Grizzly Bear, anyways? A good question, indeed! I think you will find that after learning about Grizzly Bear, the reason he loves Kölsch so much will become evident.
About Grizzly Bear
I've never got a date by posting my vitals on a home brewing website, but, suffice to say, I am Grizzly Bear. Yes, it's me. But I'm not really a bear (although my girlfriend may disagree). I'm Canadian, and I live in Leeds, U.K. As a foreigner from a land far away, of which is inevitably covered in ice 365 days a year and is populated by lumberjacks, I am the subject of many 'Canuck' jokes. It doesn't help that I love wearing plaid shirts and rarely trim my beard. Oh, and I work at a law firm where the clean cut, suit wearing approach is usually best. Nevertheless, I have adopted the name Grizzly Bear to complement my appearance both at home and at work.
Now, I also love Kölsch. I've been brewing for about a year and a half now, and I have brewed about 25 batches of various styles. As I'm sure you will agree, the craft beer scene right now is heavily weighted towards hoppy IPAs, DIPAs, and the like. I'm not saying that these are bad styles by any means. I do enjoy hop forward ball ticklers. But I do prefer a clean, light, easy to drink and well balanced brew. When I was in my local craft beer shop, I picked up a bottle of Früh. After taking one sip, I knew it was the style for me.
Getting Ready to Brew
After experiencing this excellent Kölsch, I knew the next step was to brew my own. I did my research, mainly on homebrewtalk.com and a few books (more on this later), to learn as much as I could about brewing Kölsch. I learned many things, but the most important thing I came to realize that Kölsch, as a beer, is so delicate and it requires impeccable brewing practices to achieve its dominant characteristics - including clarity. You need to consider all aspects of the brew day. Everything becomes more important than usual - because Kölsch is a delicate beer, any shortcuts and lazy behavior in the brew house will shine through and you will never achieve a top notch Kölsch.
Because brewing Kölsch requires specific attention to all your brewing practices, it seemed to me to be one of the best styles to focus on. I truly feel that learning all about brewing a beer like Kölsch will help me in brewing different styles down the road. That is the point of this blog series, and I hope that by reading my posts I can help you too.
In posts to come, I plan on taking you along on my journey to brew the perfect Kölsch. Along the way I will be discussing recipe formulation and brewing technique. I will start from the most basic recipe for Kölsch, and each brew day modify one ingredient in order to be able to easily compare the end product. Modifying the brewing techniques and ingredients along the way, I hope to be able to achieve, one day, the perfect Kölsch.
Next Time on Grizzly Bear Loves Kölsch
The next post in this series will be dedicated to my Kölsch V.1. I will be taking you through the brew day, discuss the techniques used and my equipment profile. I will also be introducing you to two books that I plan on using as primary sources for this project.
A Big Thank-You and GrizzlyBearLovesKolsch.com
First up, a massive thank-you to Olan at HomeBrewDad.com for allowing me to post the first couple of parts of this series on his site. We are currently discussing opportunities to collaborate in the future once I start posting the rest of the series on my own site, GrizzlyBearLovesKolsch.com.
Second, If you are interested in following this project, please head over to GrizzlyBearLovesKolsch.com right now and sign up for the mail list. The first 5 people to sign up just might have a nice surprise when I officially launch the site - hint: it will be a Kölsch related giveaway! i
Tags for this post: Kölsch, homebrewing, beer, brewing, grizzly, bear