Search

EBC Beer Profiles: Kölsch and Saison

By Hollie Stephens

Saison and Kölsch beer cans

Here at Equity, we are passionate about making the world of beer more accessible for everyone, no matter how much – or how little – you know about the various styles of craft beer available on the market today! By sharing knowledge and breaking down boundaries, we can promote inclusivity and support you in your journey of craft beer discovery, whatever your personal tastes happen to be.


In her blog series “Beer For All”, beer writer Hollie Stephens will shed some light on the history, flavor profiles and brewing methods of some classic beer styles which currently appear in the Equity Brew Co. core range!


***


Europe via Oklahoma – Introducing the two delicious European beer styles in the Equity Brew Co. core range


The countries of western Europe are responsible for the inception of many beer styles which are firm favorites on the US craft beer scene today. In the current moment, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, international travel is not possible for many people, which makes it even more important that we are able to share beer styles from all over the world!


One such is Kölsch; a style of beer which originated in Cologne, Germany. Cologne (or Köln) is in the Rhine-Ruhr area of Germany and is one of the country’s most temperate cities. In the bars of Cologne, Kölsch is served in a small, slim glass called a stange, which holds just 200ml, or a little under 7 oz. If that sounds a bit on the stingy side, don’t worry; a typical drinking session involves more than just one glass! When sitting at the bar, you could expect the bartender to refill your glass over and over, until you place a beer mat over the rim of the glass to signal that you have had enough and are ready for the check.


Kölsch beer is typically light in color, made from a single malt bill of German pilsner or pale malt and German noble hop varieties such as Saaz and Hallertau. The mouthfeel is light, and it might have notes of gentle fruitiness (I sometimes taste apricot and ripe apples), with a refreshing, crisp finish. Equity’s take on this classic is the Collective Action Kölsch, and Equity’s head 'beer and cheers' leader, Suzette Grillot, has a special place in her heart for this beer. “My love for German beer (was) inspired by my German grandfather who taught me at a young age to understand and appreciate beer styles and flavors” says Suzette.


If you drive in a southwest direction for 130 miles from the city of Cologne you can reach Wallonia. This is the French-speaking part of Belgium in which the Saison – sometimes known as a farmhouse ale – first originated. Saisons were traditionally brewed in the cooler months, ready for drinking in the summer. American brewers all over the country have experimented with brewing this classic style, including right here in Oklahoma. Chase Healey, brewmaster at Prairie Artisan Ales in Tulsa, told Craft Beer and Brewing that he was attracted to the style because it seemed like a good fit for Oklahoma’s hot weather. “I wanted to make complex beers that were still highly drinkable. More or less, [saisons] came out of necessity.”


Whilst each brewer will put their own stamp on their version of this classic style, a typical Saison might be made with primarily Pilsner malt, with small amounts of wheat, and a character malt such as Vienna or Munich to round out the malt profile. The beer should be light golden to darker orange in color, highly carbonated with some fruity and earthy notes, and might typically have a strong yeast profile with a Brettanomyces or lactic character. Equity’s version – the Solidarity Saison – has a warm malt profile and light hints of pepper. "The Saison is an easy drinking beer that is fun to brew because the basic recipe is simple and allows you to add a variety of different ingredients to make it your own” says Equity’s head brewer, Lilly Braun. “The Equity Brewing Company Saison recipe includes peppercorns for a little bit of a kick and orange peel for some citrus."


***


We invite you to visit us at Equity Brew Co. here in Norman, Oklahoma, and sample our Collective Action Kölsch and Solidarity Saison for yourself. Hopefully, you will love them just as much as we do, and perhaps even feel inspired to plan a vacation to the birthplaces of these beer styles in the future!