Rock the Kottbusser! Beer Review

Albion Ordinary Bitter Pridaine 60 Shilling

“But what is a Kottbusser? Well, it’s a beer style that originated in Cottbus, Germany. One of the early adjunct beers, it was originally brewed from a base of barley, wheat, and oats but had molasses and honey added for sweetness.

Once the beer purity laws known as Reinheitsgebot took effect across Germany in 1906, however, the brewing of Kottbussers was effectively outlawed as they strayed from the permitted ingredients. As such, the style faded into relative obscurity until being rediscovered in recent years by avid craft brewers. 📚🍺

In Quebec, the Kottbusser was brought back to life last year as the fruit of a collaboration between La Terre à Boire and Belle Gueule, but it’s now a regular part of La Terre à Boire’s lineup.

Their interpretation keeps things traditionally German with Saaz, Tettnang and Hallertau hops as well as honouring the style with a mix of cereals from their farm and the addition of organic honey. 🌾 🍯 🚜

For a historical beer, it really honors its origins. The nose is profoundly German, with lots of floral, grassy noble hop notes up top, followed by layers of rich, sweet, honeyed brioche undertones that continue onto the palate, enveloping the tongue in a smooth, silky sweetness.

Yet despite this, the beer stays light at only 4.1%, meaning there’s none of the cloying sweetness of the honey. Indeed, it’s actually rather dry and refreshing. There’s also plenty of yeast character and hop bitterness at the back of each sip that balances things out, and I really felt like it was close to a lower ABV Kellerbier in terms of flavor and character. A fascinating style done well! 👏🏻 🐝 😋”

More about German Beer

German brewing traditions have deep roots that can be traced back to as early as the Middle Ages. During this time, monasteries played a crucial role in refining brewing techniques and producing some of the first known lagers. The Reinheitsgebot, or Beer Purity Law of 1516, enacted in the Duchy of Bavaria, is a testament to the commitment of Germans to the quality of their beer. This law restricted the ingredients used in beer production to only water, barley, and hops, setting the standard for purity and quality that would become synonymous with German brewing for centuries to come.

In the 19th century, with the advent of modern brewing technologies and the discovery of lager yeast, Germany’s beer culture underwent a significant transformation. Lager beers, known for their clean, crisp profiles and longer fermentation times, became increasingly popular. The Pilsner style, originating in the Czech Republic but heavily influenced by German brewing practices, swept across Germany, leading to the development of the highly regarded German Pilsner. This marked the beginning of a period of innovation and diversity in German beer styles, which eventually paved the way for the resurgence of historical and regional beer styles like the Kottbusser, as craft brewers sought to revive and reinterpret the country’s rich brewing heritage.

Originally from England, Mike Davis came to Quebec ten years ago to study history. During this time he fell in love with the microbreweries of Quebec, which reminded him of English pubs. Now, he holds a Ph.D in History from McGill University, but works in the beer world as the Brand Ambassador for Microbrasserie 4 Origines.

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