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Spargelfest!

Asparagus season is upon us. When it’s at its best, enjoy it like the Germans do, with a glass of well-chilled Kölsch – brewed on site at Macknade by Boutilliers!

Nothing tells us that spring is in full swing like seeing the first shoots of British-grown asparagus hitting the shelves. In Germany, they have a full festival devoted to it, called Spargelfest, which is far more delightful than it sounds. The festival also celebrates white asparagus. This is asparagus that has been grown under ground to prevent the light from making the vegetable green. It generally has a milder flavour and more tender texture than traditional asparagus.

It’s no coincidence that the residents of Cologne choose to wash down these enigmatic spears with Kölsch, a local speciality beer, that’s brewed like an ale but has more in common with a pilsner

Anyone that has tried to pair wine with asparagus will know that it can be a tricky thing. Anything but the driest of wines can become sickly sweet and wines rich in tannins can taste harsh or metallic. Kölsch, on the other hand, is the perfect accompaniment.

Kölsch is a subtle, well-balanced drink, with muted bitterness and a faint malty sweetness. As such, it won’t overpower the delicate taste of asparagus, but is also complex enough to compliment whatever accompaniment you’re having alongside.

If you’re enjoying your asparagus with nothing more than a squeeze of lemon, the citrus notes from the hops will harmonize. If you’re having it with hollandaise, the slightly sulphurous nose (more pleasant than it sounds!), will work well in the same way that a hefeweizen would. And, because asparagus is rich in umami-triggering compounds, the crispness of a Kölsch helps to balance – without muting – the ultra savouriness that ensues when asparagus is paired with hard cheeses such as parmesan.

So, why not revel in the glory of asparagus season the right way, with spears of asparagus and a bottle of chilled Kölsch! Happy Spargelfest!

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