Talking Cologne, Kölsch, and House Music with Andhim
Beer brings people together, even over oceans. The same can be said of music. It was over beer and music that we bonded with Andhim, a house music duo from Cologne, Germany, last October 2017. Gerrit, a co-founder of Pipeworks, was a house music dj himself (DON'T tell Gerrit where you heard that), and was at a show featuring Andhim. After their set, the conversation began to brew a beer in collaboration.
We arrived at the idea of brewing a Kölsch quickly. A kölsch is a straw-colored, very easy drinking, light, crisp ale that, lager cellaring, drinks like a pilsner. It was originally brewed in Cologne, Germany and is still very popular there today. Of course, as it's a hometown brew, it was a natural fit for a collaboration - but there was also something that felt right, maybe even poetic, about brewing a beer that is of two traditions, two worlds, two perspectives - ale and lager. We also just like to drink the style around the brewery - what's more poetic than that?
One of our label artists, Jason Burke, the many behind the designs you see on our cans has a style that best reflected the energy coming from Andhim. He was stoked to work on it too, as he connected with Andhim's devotion to encased meats.
Andhim was in Chicago for a show, and we were able to release the beer the day of their show, and then show them around the brewery.
We sent them a few questions once they had some time to reflect on the brewing experience:
PW: We decided to brew a kölsch, which is a beer style that was originally brewed in your hometown in Germany, Cologne. What do you like about this style of beer?
AH: The relationship between the Cologne natives and their beer is very strong. We have 86 different sorts of Kölsch. It's a very light beer and easy and fast to drink as we serve it in 0,2 liter glasses; the so called “Kölsch Stange”. So you always end up drinking a lot of glasses and being on the toilet the whole time.
PW: “Andhim’s Dragon Brew Super Kölsch” wasn’t a completely on-style kölsch. How do you guys think it compares to other beers of that style?
AH: It's a little bit more hoppy than a traditional Kölsch. But that makes the perfect connection between Cologne and Chicago where people like their beer a little stronger. We are very happy with the taste. You can really feel the flames of the dragon while drinking.
PW: What’s the beer and drinking culture like in Cologne?
AH: Kölsch is like a religion to the people of Cologne. As it is very light we drink it all the time. Everyone has a philosophy about which one of the 86 beers is the best and why. That's a big part of the culture. To debate and drink. It's very nerdy.
PW: While you were in Chicago, did you eat or drink anything that really stood out?
AH:We are big fans of Kuma's Corner where we try to go every time we are in Chicago. But this time we went to Pequods Pizza to have a traditional Deep Dish which left us deeply impressed. We were so full we couldn't really breath anymore.
PW: You travel so much for music - what cities have really stood out as having an interesting drinking and food culture?
AH: We always love to go to Australia. Their food culture is outstanding. Especially in Melbourne. Their level of quality is just something else. But every country and culture has its own special cuisine. We also love the really basic dishes cooked on markets or the streets like they do in Thailand or China. Also the food truck culture in the US is really nice.
PW: You guys really do seem like super friends! How did you meet?
PW: The beer industry has changed so much in the last 5 years since Pipeworks has opened - how has the music industry changed?
AH: I think everything got more professionalised. Everything must be branded and needs a special relevancy. DJs fight for virality. Playing on the Eifeltower or in a hot air balloon. It's very important to get seen. It's not that much about the music anymore at the moment.
PW: This is a more classic style of beer for Pipeworks to make - normally we riff off a hop or a malt or an ingredient, can you talk about about your approach to making music?
AH: Making music is always depending on the mood. At least for us. We barely never go in the studio and say “hey, let's do a super fun track” or “let's get dark today”. Music has a lot of power. It might the the most powerful thing in this world. It connects people, cultures, countries, generations and hearts. It can heal you but it can also destroy you. It can be a therapy and your sense in life. So there is a lot of emotions while making music. If you're sad you gonna produce sad music. You never know where a session is going to take you.
PW: We’re frequently asked what our favorite styles of beers are, do you have music styles that influence you the most?
AH: Not really. We are influenced by all kinds of music around us. That starts at a very early stage of your life I guess. What you listened to as a kid, teenager and so on.
PW: House music is big in Chicago. Could you describe you brand of house music and what makes it so super?
AH: Haha. We call it Super House, yes. It's just a name for what we do since it's not easy to categorize it. It can be everything but you will always recognize the andhim fingerprint.
PW: It’s a big leap to open a craft brewery, and beer in general is an industry that attracts all sorts of people from all backgrounds and previous job experiences. Was there a moment that you decided that you were definitely going to make a go of it and pursue a career in music?
AH: It was a feeling. At one point we knew this could work and we decided to fully concentrate on this project to make it great. If you do what you love you always have this super big motivation. This motivation is still there and we can't wait for the next years to come.