7th December: Thornbridge Brewery, Tzara. 4.8% ABV.
From: Derbyshire, England. Type: Köln-style, bottle (fresh). Source: www.beersofeurope.co.uk
Something is missing in this beer, and very glad I am for that. You know, I’ve never been very keen on Kölsch beers. It’s one of those endagered styles, so I’ve often felt obliged to drink it. I could understand why it was dying out, in all honesty. The samples I had – even the famous ones seemed rather characterless and a touch bland.
Here is the Thornbridge take. Well, Bracia* it ain’t! Nor even Jaipur IPA, but it is an honest, not-messed-about with version from a favourite, modern English brewery. Not jazzed up, not modified, just straightforward, German ingredients, that would go in a German Kölsch. No Sorachi Ace hop weirdness, no doubling the strength, just subtle charms that are the signs of a class brewer.
So what’s the difference? Why do I like it? (Puts on Ali G voice) “Is it cos I is Thornbridge?” Well, bias could be influencing me, but I rather think it’s the complete lack of filtration and pasteurisation that means that its delicate nature is preserved rather than neutered, as is what I suspect is the case for most of the Kölscher I’ve tasted.
Drink as socially, or with equally light foods, such as scrabled egg and chantarelles, or smoked salmon if your foraging came up short.
*Thornbridge have an online shop now, where you can get Tzara and also get the wonderful but much more stonking Bracia, a “rich, dark ale with chestnut honey. And you should!