Altbier v. Kölsch: The showdown

One of the nice things about a weekend trip to Düsseldorf and Cologne was that I got to sample both sides of Germany’s fiercest beer rivalry.

In Düsseldorf, they drink Altbier. In Cologne, they drink Kölsch. They do not mix and match.

The irony, of course, is that Altbier and Kölsch are actually rather similar. They are both brewed using the old top-fermentation method, and are served in small glasses. Your waiter will continue to bring you refills, and tally the number of beers you’ve consumed on your coaster, until you put the coaster on top of the glass.

Not that you can’t picture a small glass and a coaster, but here’s a glass of Kölsch I drank on the Cologne waterfront:

Altbier is a bit darker and sweeter, while Kölsch is more like a pilsner. As for which is better — well, I’ll just say that they both put Berlin’s beer selection to shame and leave it at that.


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