Recently, I ordered a Kölsch. Yes, it was at more of a dive bar than beer connoisseur round table. Yes, the noise level was at the multiple bomb rating level. And yes, nearly everyone around me was ordering the PBR and whisky shot special (which was my selection for my 3rd and 4th rounds). Still, I felt like easing into a long night of probable cocktails, spirits and yelling stories to the greater group with a Kölsch since I was surprised to see it there.
Yes, I have a recent affinity for Kölsch. I could tell you more about it, or just point you here, here and here. I like that they’re pretty mild/medium all around with a good hoppiness, some with a surprising bitterness. I first had a Sierra, then Magnolia’s, a few of the true German ones and am pretty sure I’ve had the Rogue one (but don’t remember the Honey part). Plus Jason and I have a running joke about it right now as well.
The bartender was befuddled. There were other comments throughout the night about her bartending skills, but after bringing the other drinks my friends ordered, she asked me again what it was that I wanted. I pointed to the board and added “Calicraft” to my request. She disappeared again and I kept talking to my friends. She eventually waved her arms to get my attention and pointed to the tap. I took a few steps toward her and it looked close enough to someone like me that doesn’t recognize the majority of taps that don’t have monks on them or familiar logos on them. She brought me the beer and said to some degree, “I never know this one. I always just think of it as the one with the dots,” as she poked an imaginary Curly from The Three Stooges. “I would have got it if you said Cali Cöast.” She might have said “Cali Kölsch”, it was too loud for verbal particulars, but it was a funny exercise for me.
This does bring to light that both craft beers are creeping into the dives, and not just Stone, Bear Rep, Lagunitas and the likes, but all sizes. And sometimes, you need to be prepared to assist your bartender. Don’t be afraid. I can say that the bartender was very attentive with the large throngs crowding the bar. Each was an awesome pour considering the rush, mine was the only time she failed on anything in our large orders (which admittedly boiled down to many specials by the end of the night) and she was quick to get to us at our booths when things slowed down. I just found it funny that the style of beer I was asking about was better recognized by the umlaut than the great style and flavor.