Hybrid German Ales
The Reinheitsgebot managed to kill off most German ales. Two odd styles survived. Not really lagers and not really ales, they are considered hybrid ales, fermented cool with ale yeast and lagered for an extended period.
Germany's fourth-largest city, Cologne (Köln) is in the heart of the Rhineland. It is a bustling modern town with a special beer protected by law. The Kölsch Convention of 1986 declared that Kölsch can only be brewed around Cologne. The beer is a pale, straw-colored beer with a crisp white head and a light fruity nose. The beer conveys a light, pleasant sweetness with just a touch of hops.
To be traditional when drinking a Kölsch, you need a special stange (pole) glass. The stange is a tall and thin column that holds 0.2 liters (around 7 ounces).
Altbier, “old beer,” is the other ale holdover from the Rhineland. Centered on the state capital, Düsseldorf, the amber-colored Alt stands in contrast to its pale neighbors. Malt stands squarely in the face of an assertive bitter character. Knowledgeable beer lovers time their visits to coincide with the annual tapping of the “Sticke” Alt, a strong variant.
The city of Dortmund provides another old German ale. The extinct Adambier is a strong, malt-forward, and melanoidin-driven German-style barleywine that's fermented cool. The hard water of Dortmund gives the beer a final dry edge.