It's clear that I'm not the greatest fan of Kölsch, in general terms, although last night I had quite a few 0.2l glasses of Sion Kölsch, served in rapid succession, and I quite enjoyed them. As usual, it was the atmoshpere and company that made them go down well, and they had a nice fruity element I hadn't noticed before.
But there is one thing that does make me spring to the defense of this golden beer from Cologne, and that's it's right to it's designation as a Protected Geographical Indicator. It's been around for a while, and most of the breweries that are brewing Kölsch are in the Cologne region, apart from a few exceptions that were granted rights under the grandfather principle.
So, I get unreasonably irritated when US breweries call their Kölsch-styled offerings Kölsch. Is this completely anally retentive of me?
I asked this on twitter after the Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, New York, asked the Twitterverse to help suggest names for their Kolsch. They weren't aware of PGI status, and of course, why would they be? One fellow Twitizen mentioned that as it is defined by the BJCP as a style, so it wasn't location specific. So that seems to open it up in the US beer scene. Should they include mention of the protected status in Europe? Is it not a global protection? Should US brewers treat it like they seem to treat Lambics and avoid using "that word" out of respect for a recognised brewing tradition (although I much prefer Lambics!)?
I should point out that I am not trying to single out Captain Lawrence Brewing Company, as there are many examples in the US already existing.
Of course this did open up discussions about Yorkshire Puddings, but it was good to know that Cornish Pasties are registered as a PGI!