Mother Earth produces award-winning Kölsch at World Beer Cup
By Wes Wolfe / The Free Press
Mother Earth brewmaster Josh Brewer stands with a bottle of the award-winning Endless River ale and bronze medal plaque awarded at the World Beer Cup last week. Mother Earth finished bottling about 600 cases of Endless River on Tuesday. Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

Mother Earth brewmaster Josh Brewer stands with a bottle of the award-winning Endless River ale and bronze medal plaque awarded at the World Beer Cup last week. Mother Earth finished bottling about 600 cases of Endless River on Tuesday.
Janet S. Carter / The Free Press

It’s not too far removed from beating the French at champagne.

Germans are known to be as protective of their beer as the French are of their wine, so it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the German government and the European Union only recognize Kölsch beer as that produced until strict guidelines by a select number of breweries in and around Köln.
But when 65 Kölsch-style ales went head-to-head in a global competition at the World Beer Cup in Denver last week, Kinston’s Mother Earth Brewery took home the bronze medal in the German-style Kölsch/Köln-style Kölsch category with its Endless River ale.
Mother Earth brewmaster Josh Brewer said the ale – a pale variety traditionally enjoyed in the spring and summer – is a fairly simple affair.
“It’s one malt and one hop and then Kölsch yeast, and fermented at a certain temperature,” Brewer said. “Which – I’m not necessarily going to give any of those out, but there’s a certain temperature you have to ferment Kölsch at that makes it better than fermenting it at another temperature.”
Daniel Harris wrote in the Charlotte Observer on April 8 that we’ve reached that time of year where the usual hot and humid business of mowing the lawn gets paired with the reward of a cold beer.
“There’s a term for those quenching, quaffable beers best enjoyed after grueling work, and it’s a straightforward one: lawn-mower beers,” Harris wrote. “For many, that means a cheap light lager in a can – but it doesn’t have to be light on flavor.”
Harris singled out Mother Earth’s canned Park Day pilsner, but whether you call it a lawn-mower beer or what’s often referred to as a “shower beer,” the bottled Endless River would also be a popular choice. The brewery readied 7,200 bottles of the Kölsch ale for shipment Tuesday.
Brewer said Endless River is one of Mother Earth’s more popular offerings, and expects a few more people to give it a shot, thanks to it performing well at the World Beer Cup and the brew’s appropriateness for the season.
Three years ago, Eric Asimov – writing about beer varieties in the New York Times – gave a tip of the hat to the Kölsch-style ale for a summer selection.
“From the first sniff of its grainy, malty aroma, to the delicately fruity, lightly bitter flavors in the mouth, to the brisk, clean, energetic feeling after you swallow, a good Kölsch offers a smooth journey of sensations that may be unremarkable individually but are extraordinarily pleasant as an ensemble,” Asimov wrote.
And Mother Earth wasn’t the only North Carolina brewery to best the Europeans at their own game at the World Beer Cup – White Street Brewing Company from Wake Forest took gold in the Kölsch-style category for its White Street Kölsch-Style Ale. And, six other North Carolina beers medaled in six different categories as well.
“That’s good representation – obviously North Carolina’s doing something right to produce a gold and a bronze for Kölsch beer at the World Beer Cup,” Brewer said.


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