Two Rival German Beer Styles Basically Taste the Same

By Mike Pomranz |
Beer, Beer Styles, Kolsch

© PATRIK STOLLARZ/Getty Images

Beer snobs can be pretty obsessive when it comes to picking their next tipple, looking over beer lists, debating the merits of one brew against another. Meanwhile, a line grows behind them made of people thinking, come on, dude; we’re just trying to get drunk. Well, score one for those unrefined drinkers in the latter group. New research from Germany suggests that beers from the rival cities of Cologne and Dusseldorf, despite having dedicated local advocates on both sides, essentially taste the same.

According to Germany’s The Local, professor Helmut Quack (admittedly, not a great name for a researcher) at the Dusseldorf University of Applied Sciences had 50 men from both Dusseldorf and Cologne drink each other’s beers and rate them against each other. Cologne is home to Kolsch, a golden-colored beer, whereas Dusseldorf is best known for its Altbiers, which tend to have a darker copper color. When the groups knew which beer was which, 78 percent of both groups said they the preferred their hometown beer. But when the same men underwent the same taste test blindfolded, many of the participants could tell the beers apart. When asked which beer they preferred, which tasted fresher and whether the beers tasted mild or herby, most of the answers came back “nearly equal.” In the end, participants picked their beers correctly just 55 percent of the time when they didn’t know which was which.

“These results are quite amazing, because it is unbelievable that men cannot differentiate objectively between Kölsch and Alt,” the study said. Quack also reportedly spoke to how these results go to show the importance of marketing when it comes to beer, demonstrating how things like color, country and emotions can influence flavors.

Related: EVERY BEER STYLE YOU NEED TO KNOW

Of course, these men also weren’t professional beer tasters. Maybe the study just goes to show that though the average German might love their local beer, they really don’t really put much thought into what it tastes like when anointing it their favorite brew.

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