A stange of Balsch beer, a Kolsch by way of Ballard. Photo via Reuben's Brews.

 West Seattle has its own locals-only beer, but to the north, new brewery Reuben's Brews is tinkering with German brewing traditions to create a new beer for Ballard.

Today Reuben's brewer Adam Robbings releases the Balsch. It's his spin on a classic Kolsch beer, which is similar to a pale ale and native to Germany's Cologne region. In 1948, Kolsch brewers in Germany held an actual convention to codify brewing practices for their beer and the special yeast used to make it. The Reuben's version gets a Northwest update (aka it's hoppier and unfiltered) but Robbings uses the proper yeast and even serves his Balsch in hard-to-find Kolsch glassware. 

However diehards say true Kolsch is only brewed within view of the cathedral in Cologne. So, decrees Robbings, Balsch must be brewed within sight of the giant neon Bardahl Oil sign, conveniently located on the next block. In this fervently secular part of the world, it might even hold more landmark value than an actual cathedral.

A Kolsch glass, by the way, is called a "stange" (that would be "rod" or "pole") and its petite, thin shape is designed to keep beer cold. Some people liken them to Champagne flutes for beer (but not for the Champagne of beers), though Robbings also likes how the small mouth intensifies the delicate aroma. 

The Balsch starts pouring today at the taproom, which is absolutely worth a visit.