When it comes to the sexy beers styles of the beer world, you’d have to say that Kölsch isn’t really one of them. Pale in colour, light in flavour, there’s little in this German variety for the average beer nerd to get excited about; it’s more often a beer chosen by those seeking something clean and refreshing or subtle and delicately balanced. But, as with many styles, pop the words ‘India Pale’ as a prefix and people will invariably pay a bit more attention.
Now, it should be said from the off that the India Pale Kolsch from Staves wasn’t made as an attention seeker. Indeed, it was initially approached with reluctance, lest it be seen to be an attempt to cash in on any perceived ‘IP-anything’ trend. But it also had merit, being based on the brewery owner’s experience trying a similar beer and rather liking it. Long story short, they figured they’d give it a go and are glad they did.
The IPK comes at you with a couple of hops that are newish but have a traditional bent – the Wakatu variety from New Zealand is a derivative of the classic Hallertau hop and Ariana is a new variety from Germany – which lend a noble hop character alongside stone fruits. But where this beer differs from your more common IPA or IPL is the German yeast; rather than being hidden away under a mountain of malt and hops, it’s left to express itself more and thus adds a different and welcome dimension. Finishing very clean and dry, Staves India Pale Kolsch is traditional enough to be familiar, but daring enough to be different.
- India Pale Kolsch