Fruh Kolsch – A popular Kolsch beer from Cologne!
In German, the word “früh” means as much as “early”, yet in the city of Cologne and the surrounding region, many people also think of a traditional and well-known Kolsch beer brand: Früh. Keeping it simple in spelling, we will refer to the brewery and its beer as Fruh. Tourists having been to Cologne will also be well aware of Fruh Kolsch brand, for there is a brewery restaurant very near to the Cologne Cathedral. How does Fruh Kolsch beer taste, and what is there to know about its history? Read this article and find out!
Fruh Kolsch beer is not only available in Cologne, but in all regions of Germany…
One could more or less say that Fruh Kolsch has become a “German beer“, as there are advertisements throughout Germany. Despite the fact that it is hard to find a bar or a pub serving Kolsch beer outside the Cologne region, you will be able to obtain Fruh Kolsch beer in well-assorted beverage markets – just ask for it. If they don’t sell any Fruh, you might get a different Kolsch beer brand. Yet, please take care! We are speaking of beverage markets in larger cities, which may sell a Kolsch beer brand such as Fruh. Asking for such a beer type in a small Bavarian village, where people solely favor wheat beer or Helles beer, is probably not the best way to make new friends. This especially applies to Dusseldorf, the home of Alt beer, where asking for a Kolsch beer is simply a sin! But, to be honest, Fruh Kolsch and all other Kolsch beer brands are best enjoyed in Cologne and uniquely served by a traditional Kobes speaking Kolsch dialect.
In contrast for example to Reissdorf Kolsch, Fruh Kolsch is sold throughout Germany and the brewery does lots of advertising. But please do not ask for a Fruh Kolsch in a traditional Dusseldorf Altbier Kneipe!
Fruh Brewery – No. 3 in Kolsch production!
It is not remarkable that Fruh Kolsch beer is quite famous. The Fruh brewery, officially called Cölner Hofbräu Früh, is the third largest Kolsch beer producer with a total yearly output of nearly 400k hectoliters. Only the Reissdorf and Gaffel breweries produce more Kolsch beer. However, one should consider that advertisement for Fruh Kolsch goes beyond the boundaries of Cologne, while Reissdorf hardly does any advertising in other regions, you’ll only find some ads in the city.
Since 1987, Fruh Kolsch is not brewed downtown anymore, but in a larger, modern brewery in the Cologne district of Feldkassel. There is quite some distance to the old city with its Neumarkt and Heumarkt, for Feldkassel is far in the North of Cologne, near the Ford factory. The distance to downtown Leverkusen is by far shorter than the trip to Cologne’s city centre. It is obvious that Fruh brewery had to relocate its production facilities in the 80s in order to cope with the demand for Fruh Kolsch beer. In essence, there is no need to visit the brewery in the North of Cologne, since the brewery restaurant Früh am Dom is the place where the Fruh story began back in 1904.
Fruh Kolsch is available in 0.33l and 0.5l longneck bottles, and is still brewed in accordance with Peter Joseph Früh’s original recipe and in compliance with the German purity law.
The Cölner Hofbräu Früh Brewery was established in 1904.
The founder of the Fruh brewery was Peter Joseph Früh who was born in Brühl, a town south of Cologne. Originating from a brewer’s family, both his daughters were married with brothers of the Immendorfs, a brewing family themselves from the small town of Zündorf, which is a part of Cologne-Porz nowadays. These were best requisites for being successful in the brewing business of Cologne in the long-term. Peter Früh had gained experience with his Aposteln brewery in the late 1890s, which was located in the Apostelnstrasse.
In 1904, the Cölner Hofbräu Früh, a brewery for top-fermented beer, was established in the building of a former theatre and a restaurant. “Hofbräu” in the name is owed to the Fruh brewery’s location in the street “Am Hof”. The Früh family moved into the upper floors of the building.
When Peter Früh passed away during WW1, his widow took over the business and was supported by both daughters until 1928, when the brewery was managed by Engelbert Rochels – the first person in this position not belonging to the Früh family.
After WW2, in which the building had been damaged, brewing was possible since the production facilities had not been destroyed. Therefore, the Fruh brewery also profited largely from brewing beer for other breweries with less luck.
The Fruh brewery was able to profit from the increasing demand of Kolsch in the 1960s, and started selling Kolsch in bottles in 1969. Today, the Cölner Hofbräu Früh brewery is still family owned and led by two CEOs.
In the past years, the Fruh product range was, in accordance with other German breweries not only from Cologne, enlarged by Fruh Radler, Fruh Sport Zitrone and the non-alcoholic Kolsch beer Fruh Kolsch 0,0% alkoholfrei.
The Fruh brewery looks back on than 100 years of history. It is still family-led today and has a beer range now including non-alcoholic Fruh Kolsch beer.
The Fruh Kolsch Label: typical for Cologne!
Being typical for nearly every Kolsch beer brewery, the Fruh label is strongly associated to the city of Cologne. It is very much derived from the coats of arms of Cologne regarding colors, content and layout. The three golden crowns are symbols for the Three Wise Men. The signature “Früh” is in a typical German font of the early 20th century – similar to Fraktur or Antiqua fonts.
Fruh Kölsch – The Data.
- Alcohol Content: 4.8 % vol
- Calories: 40 kcal / 100 ml
- Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hops
Fruh Kolsch - Our Review
A glass of Kolsch each - thanks to the 0.5l bottle of Fruh Kolsch we had for testing. We found Fruh Kolsch to be very clear with a bright-golden color. There is quite some beer froth and it is very lasting for a Kolsch style beer. Regarding the taste of Fruh, both of us would describe it as very mild with hardly any bitterness and well-balanced. There is no great difference between taste and aftertaste, the latter is only characterized by a little more hops tone. All in all, Fruh Kolsch is an "easygoing" beer and recommendable for beer beginners or the Kolsch novice. Beer experts might miss some character.*
*We tasted this beer with 2 persons and the rating reflects only our personal impression, which we discussed after tasting the beer. The beer was cooled to the recommended temperature for the relevant beer type prior to testing. You may have a different taste and come to other results.