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Fusion Brewing | Stange Days Kolsch

Fusion Brewing | Stange Days Kolsch
Jereme Zimmerman

“Fusing Fun, Life, Flavor, and Science into Great Craft Beer.”

This is the motto of Lexington, Kentucky’s Fusion Brewing and their Stange Days Czech-style Kolsch is a fine exemplar of this motto. Crisp, clean and light yet rich and malty, this fusion of Czech Pilsner and Czech Ale goes down easy any time of the year.

It’s also a favorite of Head Brewer, Co-Owner and CEO Dr. Chris Paumi. Paumi “stumbled upon” a German Kolsch while on vacation and was inspired to hone an existing Kolsch recipe he had already been brewing.

“The results have been exciting and delicious,” Paumi said. “To me, the Kolsch style and Stange days are a great and balanced blend of the bready front and mid pallet that a good German Pils brings with a slight underlying caramel across the mid pallet followed up with a stern but not overpowering floral hop bitterness. Since I’m not a huge IPA fan, this beer gets me some bitter but provides the aroma and flavor that is similar to a good continental light lager.”

In brewing Fusion’s Kolsch, Paumi sticks to tradition as much as possible.

“I brew Stange Days very close to a traditional recipe with only minor tweaks to fit my tastes and pallet,” Paumi said. “I use only German Pils as my base and add some additional flavor…just a touch of some darker German and Belgian base malts. The beer then gets a healthy dose of German noble hops and is fermented out cold around 60° Fahrenheit with German ale yeast. Once finished, it is lagered for a number of weeks similar to a Pils. It’s a long process of 4-6 weeks but creates an excellent beer.”

 

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There are a variety of “rules” for properly enjoying and brewing a “true” Kolsch, although the truest of Kolschs can only be enjoyed in Cologne, Germany. According to Cologne’s official website, a Kölsch Convention was called in 1986 to set a ruling, which determined that “Kolsch is not only a type of beer, but also a designation of origin…true Kolsch is a top-fermented, light-coloured, clear, highly fermented, hopsy full ale and is brewed according to the German Purity Law of 1516.”

Kolsch is best enjoyed in a Stange glass, and some would say that it’s the only way to drink one. “Stange” is German for “rod,” which makes sense, given that the Stange is tall, narrow and straight. This innovative shape allows for ultimate efficiency when serving in a busy bar. Multiple Stange glasses are kept in a kranz (“wreath”) tray, allowing for quick service of cold, refreshing Kolsch beers. For more on how to enjoy Kolsch as a food pairing, see our story Beer and Food | Kolsch.


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