Today it’s Tzara, from the British-based Thornbridge Brewery. Thornbridge started brewing in 2005, within the grounds of Thornbridge Hall (in the Peak District), bringing a wide selection of hops to traditional style cask beers. In September 2009 they opened a larger brewery and bottling line in Riverside, Bakewell, to cope with increased demand for their beers.
For this beer, one of Thornbridge’s cores, the style is described on the bottle as a “Köln Style Beer”. Although it’s a British beer, I’m assuming that this is therefore claiming to be a in the style of a traditional beer from Cologne, Germany. Of course, those beers are usually described as Kölsch, but due to the protected geographical indication status, a beer must be brewed within 50 km of Cologne to do be called that (although we’ve seen beers that don’t seem to care, such as the Welsh Purple Moose Brewery Mwsh). Maybe, by describing this as Köln style instead of Kölsch, they’re staying the right side of the lawyers?
This beer is at least brewed as I’d expect, given the style claims. It’s fermented as an ale would be, but then matured at cold temperatures like a lager, in theory making it particularly crisp and refreshing.
The beer poured a delicate straw colour, sitting it very much in the lager camp. There was a fluffy white head, but that didn’t hang around for long.
There’s some bread on the nose with this, but the main aroma was the Pilsner malt (the other malts used are Carapils and Wheat). I didn’t get the promised fruitiness or vanilla from the Hallertauer Tradition hops.
Drinking it was sadly slightly boring. I suspect it wasn’t quite cold enough (Thornbridge suggest serving at 6 degrees C, and this was at about 8), but if anything I’d expect the increased temperature to heighten some of the flavours, even if making it a bit less crisp. Sadly though, it reminded me of a watery, under-flavoured lager. I was a bit surprised to see quite how many awards this beer has won, including:
- 2016 – Silver Medal. International Beer Challenge
- 2015 – World’s Best Kolsch. World Beer Awards
- 2015 – Silver. Dublin Craft Beer Cup
- 2014 – World’s Best Kolsch. World Beer Awards
- 2014 – Gold Medal. International Beer Challenge
As usual, I suspect the judges are looking for something a bit different to me. I just want beers that I love to drink, and I’m afraid this isn’t one.
A slightly boring, slightly under-flavoured attempt at a Kölsch. Drinkable at this strength.