Gaffel Kolsch – A Kolsch Beer with a very traditional name!
When you ask a person from Germany to name the most famous Kolsch beer brands, you are very likely to hear Reissdorf, Fruh and a kolsch brand called Gaffel. Gaffel Kolsch is actually the kolsch beer brand with the second highest output. While Reissdorf Kolsch is No. 1, the Gaffel brewery is able to outrival the Fruh brewery by some 60 k hectoliters of Kolsch. This is not much surplus, but enough to reach position No. 2 in Cologne, the home of Kolsch beer. We will have a closer look at the history of the Gaffel brewery, and of course take a fine swig of Gaffel Kolsch. Please enjoy!
The name of Gaffel Kolsch brand reaches back to the medieval times of Cologne…
Far back in history, in 1396, Cologne was a city with many merchants and dominated by powerful guilds. Their political power was exercised by the so called “Gaffeln”. There were are total of 22 “Gaffeln”, their members having important posts, constituting the first kind of democracy in Cologne. Meeting regularly in the evening, the “Gaffeln” ate and drunk together, their meeting location being the famous “Gaffel Haus”. That is where the name “Gaffeln” originates from: the word “Gaffel” is an old Kolsch dialect word for a two-pronged fork. The Gaffel Haus is, by the way, the oldest building at the Alter Markt, one of the famous marketplaces of Cologne. So, in essence, the Gaffel brewery derived its name from Cologne’s history.
The founders of the Gaffel brewery chose a name associated with the history of Cologne. The brewery is family-led, currently in the fourth generation.
How the Gaffel Kolsch brand was established: it all began in 1908 with the Becker brothers.
The Gaffel brewery’s story began in 1908, when the Becker brothers bought a brewery and restaurant, formerly known as the Brüsseler Hof on the Eigelstein street in the Northern part of Cologne’s old city. They renamed it “In der Gaffel” and had the interior remodeled in 1918. The brewery was able to expand in the 1920s. After WW2 production increased, making the Privatbrauerei Gaffel Becker & Co the today No. 2 Kolsch beer producer by output volume.
The Gaffel brewery produces a wide variety of beverages – not just Kolsch!
Although the Gaffel brand is best known for a typical Kolsch style beer which is available in 0.33l and 0.5l bottles, 0.5l cans and 5l barrel cans as well as in beer barrels of 10l, 15l, 20l, 30l, the brewery also produces many other beverages. The Gaffel beverage range is among others as follows:
- Gaffel Kölsch
- Gaffel Light (reduced alcohol and calorie content)
- Gaffel frei (non-alcoholic beer)
- Gaffels Fassbrause (soft drink – lemon or orange flavor)
- Gaffels SonnenHopfen (top-fermented beer with Citra hops from the US)
- Mamma Nero (herb-flavored liquor)
The Gaffel brewery was the first in Germany to establish the new soft drink concept of “Fassbrause” in 2010. Initial goal was to compensate a declining beer consume.
The Label of Gaffel Kolsch: dark blue…
Gaffel Kolsch is easily recognizable by its blue label. An old German font from the early 20th century is used for the name, while a hint on the fine bitter taste is given. A picture shows a man dressed in medieval clothes holding a shield with Cologne’s coat of arms. The picture is enclosed by two ears of wheat and a banner with the sentence “Die traditionsreiche Kölsch-Marke.” – translated: “The traditional Kolsch beer brand.”. The front label is surrounded by a golden strip seemingly high-quality. The hint that Gaffel Kolsch ensures the German Purity Law is given on the bottleneck label.
A Curiosity? Kolsch beer in the capital (of Berliner Weisse)?!
Berlin as Germany’s capital is known for many things, but surely not for Kolsch beer. The beer typical for Berlin is Berliner Weisse, whereas Berliner Kindl is the best-known brand for this type of beer. Yet, you will be able to find a Kolsch style of restaurant and pub in Berlin: the Gaffel Haus Berlin. It is located in the heart of Berlin, near the Alexanderplatz, respectively the Berlin TV tower. Gaffel promises a typical Kölsch atmosphere with dishes from the Rhine region to accompany the Gaffel Kolsch beer. By the way, you get freshly tapped beer on draught, and carnival is also celebrated there. Yet, we believe that it is best to enjoy a Gaffel Kolsch in the city of Cologne with a real Köbes serving it. The No. 1 location in Cologne would still be the Gaffel Haus at the Alter Markt in the old city of Cologne.
Gaffel Kolsch is supplied to the Cologne region as well as larger cities in Germany. It is even exported to other European countries as well as the US, China and Russia.
Gaffel Kölsch – The Data.
- Alcohol Content: 4.8 % vol
- Calories: 41 kcal / 100 ml
- Ingredients: Water, Barley Malt, Hop Extract
Gaffel Kolsch - Our Review
A 0.5l Gaffel Kolsch was enough for the two of us to have a Kolsch Stange each. When pouring Gaffel into the glasses, we could observe quite some beer froth due to an increased carbon dioxide content. In comparison to the typical kind of Kolsch beer, Gaffel is quite bitter and seems to have been brewed with quite some amount of hops. The taste is intensive and surely not for beer beginners. The aftertaste is strong, bitter and rather long. All in all, Gaffel Kolsch is full of character and not the Kolsch beer to start with. We both liked it quite much.
*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.