Kölsch Bier Bratwurst: it’s what results when a local craft brewer visits a local meat processor’s trade show.
Lincoln Wilkins, owner/brewer at Blackwater Brewing Company in Davis, West Virginia, says a few months back he was attending a food trade show put on by the West Virginia-based A.F. Wendling’s Food Service. As he paused at their meat display an idea burst into his head.
For years, Wilkins had been regularly boiling bratwurst in his Canaan Valley Kölsch, and he thought, “I wonder what they would be like if I could actually incorporate my Kölsch right into the bratwurst.”
A conversation with the Wendling folks ensued, and a project took form.
“It was a really great opportunity for two small family-run companies to get together to produce a unique product,” explains Scott Buchanan, Wendling’s marketing coordinator.
Company CEO Chris Wendling did the recipe development and regulatory compliance preparation. Wendling was experienced in bratwurst making, but in this one, Kölsch would take the place of the water that was normally added.
Then one day in early September, Wilkins and Wendling met up to make sausage. The meat was ground; the spices and Kolsch were blended; and the mixtures combined. Next, it was pushed into casings and packaged. Voila: Kölsch Bier Bratwurst.
Released to market this week, Kölsch Bier Bratwurst will be available throughout the official Oktoberfest season, which begins September 20. A.F. Wendling supplies restaurants, food retailers, and institutions across all of West Virginia and parts of Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Ohio. Ask for these brats at your favorite tavern or restaurant.
For home or restaurant use, in addition to Kölsch, the brats pair well with malty lagers, such as Oktoberfest beer and Vienna Lager, and with malty, moderately-hopped ales, such as traditional Amber Ale and English Ale.
A. F. Wendling’s Food Service is a family-run small business in Buckhannon, WV, that has been processing meat for over 100 years. In addition to Kölsch Bier Brats you will find specialty beef cuts, chorizo, Italian sausage, regular bratwurst, several breakfast sausages and more. Beyond its wholesale distribution operation, Wendling runs a retail cash and carry outlet next door to its production facility in Buckhannon.
Blackwater Brewing Company is a craft brewery located deep in the Appalachian Mountains at Davis, WV. It operates a full-service restaurant featuring farm-to-table cuisine and great small-batch beers. The brewery also self-distributes its beer to other accounts around the region, including some in Morgantown, Keyser, and other towns.
Canaan Valley Kölsch
The traditional Kölsch bier produced by Blackwater Brewing Co. is characteristic of Köln (Cologne), Germany. Kölsch is classified as a Light Hybrid (ale-lager) Beer; this means that the sweet wort extracted from a grain bill comprised primarily of Pilsner malt is fermented with ale yeast at 50-55 degrees Fahrenheit, at the high upper-end of lager temperatures.
This brewing method generates a light-colored beer with a soft, rounded palate. A delicate flavor balance exists between the soft yet attenuated Pilsner malt, an almost imperceptible fruity sweetness from fermentation, and medium-low hop bitterness with a delicate dryness, but no harsh aftertaste.
Kölsch pairs very well as a libation with German meat dishes such as wurst and schnitzel. When added as an ingredient in the processing of bratwurst and other meats, the residual sugars of its malt backbone impart a subtle sweet balance to the core meat flavors. Hop oils present in Kölsch accentuate and round out the spice components of these sausages.