Langford’s Axe and Barrel Brewing Company took home a gold medal for its King Kolsch at the 17th annual Canadian Brewing Awards this year.
Brewmaster Andrew Tessier said he has been tweaking the recipe for the beer over the last few years, trying to perfect it.
The King Kolsch is a light blonde ale that drinks like a lager or Pilsner. The kolsch is a style of beer first brewed in Germany.
“It’s a really light, delicate malt flavour with a little bit of hops but not overpowering…just a gentle bouquet of floral notes,” Tessier said.
German hops are also used to brew the King Kolsch which comes together as a light, crisp, gentle beer.
The Canadian Brewing Awards, which took place in Toronto, saw a total of 2,000 beer entries from 308 breweries from across the country.
Winners are selected in a series of blind tastings by a panel of judges certified by the Beer Judge Certification Program.
“This is the fifth time that I’ve won at the Canadian Brewing Awards for the Kolsch,” Tessier said. “But I’ve never gotten a gold…I’ve always been tweaking the recipe trying to get it perfect for the gold.”
The beer won silver in 2017 and Tessier said he wasn’t sure how much he should deviate from the recipe since it came so close to taking the top prize.
“But I did tweak something fairly big and we got gold,” Tessier said. “You can start from a base, generic kolsch recipe but then do things differently so it’ll stand out and the judges will appreciate what you’ve done…they’re drinking a lot of different beers, there’s some tasting fatigue so you have to have something that’ll jump out but also be considered kolsch.”
Tessier has been brewing beer for 23 years, starting with home brewing as a hobby. He was part of a home brewing club where everyone brewed from scratch. Tessier said he learned a lot by seeing what other home brewers were doing.
Now that the King Kolsch has won the top prize, Axe and Barrel brewery has a plan to bottle the King Kolsch, which is currently only being served in the lounge and on the patio.
“We hope to have a re-release in the summer with the gold medal King Kolsch in bottles,” Tessier said.