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Kolsch, especially delightful to sip and pair with food on hot summer days, is distinctive to Cologne (Koln), Germany, Indianap

Kolsch, especially delightful to sip and pair with food on hot summer days, is distinctive to Cologne (Koln), Germany, Indianapolis' sister city. It's especially poignant to have several Indiana-style Kolsch beers on tap just when Indianapolis' Fire department is hosting UweSiemons, a career firefighter from Cologne, as part of our cultural exchange program.

At Broad Ripple Brewpub, Kevin Matalucci "patterned" his recipe after GaffelKolsch, which is distinguished from other Kolsch brands by its delicately bitter, pleasant, slightly hopsytaste .[ more at] The intent, says Matalucci, is to cleanse the palate and heighten appetite. We sipped a sample of the unfiltered strawberry-blonde 'week-before-it's-ready-to-tap' pour while ordering, and paired our lunch of fish and chips and shepherd's pie with BRBP's English Brown Ale, winner of the 2009 Indiana State Fair Brewers Cup gold medal in that category.

At Rock Bottom College Park, Liz Laughlin's 2007 Brewer's Cup Gold and Best of Show winning Kolsch presents a very different appearance and taste. It's sunlight clear and far more assertive.

At Rock Bottom Downtown, Jerry Sutherlin's version finishes dry after a slightly spicy, malt sweetness mouthfeel and "a bit more gold hued than intended."

Kolsch type beers regularly turn up with their own personalities with a balance between lagers and ales. For more variety, visit statewide at Shoreline, Three Floyds and Mishawaka for their inspired surprises.

Oaken Barrel featured Mark Havens' Kolsch during the Spring. "We now have American Wheat and California Common, a Steam beer," said Kwang Casey.

Schlafly in St. Louis offers its 2008 and 2009 Indiana Brewers Cup gold medal Kolsch year-round.

For an out-of-the-ordinary experience, go to Brugge for Ted Miller's Sour Boysenberry. Its mango-peach color and first taste of spicy-fruitiness followed by a slight tongue tinge and a full-bodied smooth finish captivates.

Taste a lot of craft brews at Phoenix Theatre's Brew-ha-ha, June 26, 3:00-7:00 p.m. Call 317-635-7529 or visit

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Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn

Rita Kohn has been covering craft beer and the arts for NUVO for two decades. She’s the author of True Brew: A Guide to Craft Beer in Indiana.

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