Our first craft beer

Summer’s End is getting a promotion! You Ale House adherents of many years may remember Summer’s End was our first brew at the Ale House, back in August 2006. We argued over its name – a lot. I won the argument, but soon, this name will be tucked away, my victory done. But not the beer! Not this Kölsch! It stays! It’s getting a new name and going out the door year-round!

This Kölsch started out as an accident in my basement. It was one of those events you never forget; you remember where you were, what the time of day was, what you were wearing – I embellish only a little. The remembering impression was so striking. It was an experience like thinking you’re about to drink a glass of milk, only to find lemonade on your tongue. What a shock!

I was tasting my latest batch of Altbier, a beer I had become completely enamored of, and what, what? Shocked to my shorts, I took another sip. I couldn’t believe my palate, my taste buds were lying, my state of consciousness was offline. This was not my Altbier. This beer turned the corner on that; it was lighter, crisper, jumpier. As I came to, I no longer doubted my palatal prowess and decided that instead I had not made an Altbier at all. I had made a very pleasant mistake!

I began rummaging through the trash looking for the smack pack of yeast I had used and boom. Kölsch yeast – yup. I was hacked, most likely by me. I had never brewed a Kölsch and knew very little about them. Granted, it was an Altbier grain bill and the hops were copious in Hallertau Mittelfrueh, but the essence of this beer was Kölsch. I was so struck and pleased that I decided to make this the first beer that the Ale House brewery offered. It was summer too, so this lively, slightly tart beer worked well for the season. The name Summer’s End was a natural for our end-of-summer release.

Note that in 2006 big, fat IPA’s were not yet all the rage they are today, so it wasn’t too nutso to make a Kölsch our first beer. And what do we find 15 years later? Kölsch’s are still unique and even a bit of a find if you happen upon one.

Here’s how we describe our Kölsch:
“Kölsch’s longevity is due, in part, to pronouncements like this one made by the Cologne town council in 1603: Brewers were directed to take an oath “that you prepare your beer, as of old, from good malt, good cereals, and good hops, well-boiled, and that you pitch it with top yeast, and by no means with bottom yeast.”
(And no hokey pokey about it!)

Our Kölsch emulates the jumpy aroma, vinous character and crisp body of the original. Hats off to the brewers of Cologne, originators and gate keepers of the inestimable Kölsch style of ale.”

Very long story short: This beer is getting a new label and a new name. We are emphasizing it’s Kölschness and removing the Summer moniker soon. It’s time to take this beer around the calendar. Yet another one of our everyday drinkers breaking out and making a run.

Thanks for being there.

Rick Walton
Always here.

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74 Parker Street
Gardner, MA 01440




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