Calicraft Brewing Company - Coast
- ABV: 4.8%
- Bottle Size: 12-oz
- Int’l Bittering Units (IBUs): 15
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Stange or Flute
- Malts: 2-Row, Wheat
- Hops: Hallertau, Crystal
Kölsch is a classic German style hailing from Köln (Cologne) that's made with top-fermenting ale yeast, but then cold conditioned like lager. It's one of those styles that can be tricky to brew given that there are no big fireworks or super brash notes behind which the brewer can hide mistakes. We're big fans of the style when done right; it's just a deliciously simple, balanced, dry beer that quenches thirst and beckons sip after sip. Calicraft's interpretation, Coast (or Cali Coast – they’re in a label transition), presents a bright golden hue in the glass, offering up a very clean, cracker-like malt profile with a touch of wheat, overlaid with notes of grassy and lightly herbal hops. On the palate, look for a tasty core of pale malt conjuring white bread augmented by some tangy wheat. Hops contribute little bitterness, but given the residual malt sweetness is pretty low, it's at a perfect level to balance this brew, in concert with a little bite from the lively carbonation. A touch of herbal hop spice and a hint of white grape juice rounds out this tasty kölsch which finishes bright and crisp. Potential food pairings include German sausages like bratwurst, along with mild-to-moderately spicy dishes (pizza is a good call). Fried chicken would be on our list, too, along with bright seafood dishes like lemon spritzed shrimp skewers. Cheers!
Calicraft Brewing Company, based in Walnut Creek, California, is a relative newcomer, having celebrated their 5th anniversary in May of this year, but its roots go back a long way – to the dreams of a nine-year-old boy. Zac Taylor, Calicraft’s Sales & Marketing Manager, gave us the back story for how Calicraft came together. The brewery’s founder, Blaine Landberg, grew up in Willows, California, up near Chico and its landmark of Sierra Nevada. His family had a holiday tradition of seeing which adults could bring along the most interesting beers, and Blaine’s homebrewing Uncle Gary would bring over his own creations, featuring everything from labels with kangaroos ("Hoppin Good Time") to others with names like "Your Mom’s Favorite Pale Ale." The young Blaine found these beers hilarious, and was enthralled.
Fast forward a few years, to when Blaine started working in his first brewery: his UC Berkeley dorm room, back when he was 19 years old. That initial batch began its fateful journey as a Duvel clone with California Starthistle honey, which was far too sweet until he fermented it with a Champagne yeast. The result yielded one of the best beers he'd ever tried, and would end up as the prototype for one of Calicraft's flagship brews, Buzzerkeley (although an additional 15 years of tinkering was involved in perfecting the beer Calicraft sells today). Currently, Zac explains, “We’re trying to push the boundaries of beer styles using California-sourced ingredients.” Other highlights include the easy-drinking Coast Kölsch; Oaktown, their bold, oak-aged brown ale; The City IPA; Chez Panisse, their collab with Alice Water’s famous Berkeley establishment using organic anise hyssop, Meyer lemon leaf, and lemon verbena blossom; and their multiple Barrel Project beers, featuring various fruits and wine grape pomace from Cabernet Sauvignon and Zinfandel. We look forward to seeing what they come up with next. (Be on the lookout for one of their limited release beers to appear in our Rare Beer Club soon!) For more info about the brewery and their Walnut Creek Taproom, call 925-478-8103 or visit www.calicraft.com.
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