The acqusition of Alt

Bruce has received some interest from restaurants and bars that would like him to brew a German Altbier. In order to maximize authenticity, I’m trying to locate some. Unfortunately, that’s proving kinda difficult.

Altbier (German for “old beer,” referring to the style, no the age of what’s in the glass) is one of those regional specialties. It’s brewed exclusively around the city of Dusseldorf, and isn’t widely consumed outside of that area. It’s made with ale yeast, but it uses the paler malts originally created for lager brewing. The small Alt-breweries of Dusseldorf (Uerige being the most famous) pour beer into .2 liter glasses and keep track of how many you’ve blasted down by ticking marks on your beer mat. Alternately, you can order a miniature barrel of the stuff which is placed on your table. Beer Advocate has a comprehensive article on the stuff, so I won’t rehash it here.

Problem is, the regional nature of Altbier makes it a rarity here in the USA. For a while, distributors offered Frankenheim Alt, but that stopped in our area due to low demand. Plus, it wasn’t very fresh by the time it cascaded onto our hopeful tongues. So Warsteiner, who was importing Frankenheim, did a ctrl-Alt-delete and now we have no access to a pretty tasty regional style.

My German friends say actually mailing it over is customs fraud, so they won’t help. My only chance is to find a mail order beer store that carries Alt. Or go to Dusseldorf.

Hmmm…. I smell road trip…

-Mark

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One thought on “The acqusition of Alt

  1. I remember the Frankenheim being a German brown ale. Also the Schwelmer Alt was more amber but still relatively dark (used to be carried at Beers of the World). Hard to argue with your photo though there’s sure to be some variation brewery to brewery. Seems like an Alt is a strange request being that it is a fairly obscure style. Personally I never found Alts all that interesting. FWIW.

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