Is it beer or bier?
When it comes to one of the largest locally-owned craft breweries in Kansas City, it’s bier. KC Bier Co. is an award-winning brewery that is all about doing things the way the Germans do. Steve Holle, KC Bier Co. founder and managing owner, opened his iconic bierhalle and taproom in 2014 with one mission in mind: Holle wanted to brew authentic-tasting bier with the same character, flavor, and freshness as the bier enjoyed in Germany.
The way the Germans create their suds is much different than how craft breweries here in the States do. The difference comes with how a brewer decides to ferment the bier. In Germany, they use a technique called Krausening. The name krausen refers to the foam that a bier produces in the fermentation process. Brewers use this to gauge when a bier is complete and ready to go.
The results of brewing bier this way have certainly paid off for Holle and his German-style doppelbock — Winterbock. Beeradvocate briefly explains more about what exactly a doppelbock is. “Originally made by monks in Munich, the doppelbock beer style is very food-friendly and rich in melanoidins reminiscent of toasted bread.” Holle hit the nail on the head with his doppelbock. He describes it as a dark, full-bodied lager with caramel, chocolate, and coffee malt flavors. The warming alcohols and low bitterness give it a smooth finish that makes it one of their most tapped biers.
This past year, Winterbock received a silver medal in the German-Style Doppelbock category at the 2018 World Beer Cup. Then in May, Holle took home the bronze at the North American Beer Awards. “We went to great lengths to brew Winterbock in the traditional way,” Holle says. “Double decoction, two-vessel fermentation with a Bavarian yeast strain, natural carbonation, and eight weeks of cold lagering.” Holle is proud to say that his brewery uses only imported hops, barley, and yeast from Germany which makes his product so unique.
In addition to brewing bier the German way, KC Bier Co. is proud to honor Kansas City using the traditional bottle label and outer packaging that you see all over the metro area. The Winterbock label features an iconic Kansas City location that is part of the city’s historical and cultural heritage. Specifically, it showcases ice skaters on the frozen pond at the 75-acre Loose Park, one of Kansas City’s most popular and historical parks. To really differentiate their label from the rest, Holle added the World Beer Cup logo and the Brewers Association Certified Independent Craft Brewer seal.
Winterbock has only been previously available on draft at the bierhalle. Holle couldn’t be happier to begin distributing the bier throughout the Kansas City metro area and in select markets in Kansas and Missouri. You can pick up your 6-pack starting on Monday, November 12. “We’re honored that the judges recognized the flavor contributions of these time-honored brewing methods that helped Winterbock stand out and receive a medal at the World Beer Cup.” You can meet Holle and the gang on Tuesday, November 13 at their bierhalle, where they’ll be celebrating its release.
*Information provided by Rick Ernst*