We’ve been talking a lot over the past few months about the exciting beers we brew when we have our lager yeast strain in house. If you’re not familiar with the style, you might think Altbier is another of our German-style lagers, but it’s actually brewed with an ale yeast.
By the mid to late nineteenth century, lighter colored lager beers had become the norm throughout Germany. But along the Rhine River in Düsseldorf, brewers were still using top-fermenting yeast strains. They made a beautiful copper to mahogany colored beer that came to be called Alt, meaning “old,” as in the old way of making beer.
The style evolved, though, and these brews bore little resemblance to the muddy and sometimes cloying ales of the past; these dark beers were actually crisp and clear, due in part to the fact that they were being fermented more slowly at colder temperatures, and then cold-conditioned.
We base our recipe on perhaps the two greatest examples of Altbier--Zum Uerige and Im Füchschen. German pilsner, caramelized, and chocolate wheat malts are balanced by authentic noble hops. The resulting beer is a beautiful deep copper color, bittersweet with nutty roast malt and notes of fruit and woodsy spice.
Don’t miss this special beer. Come down for a dimpled mug of this tasty, traditional style. Put some money in the jukebox and play a song by Kraftwerk (Düsseldorf’s other great contribution to global culture). You’ll feel like you’re in the Rhineland. And you’ll be thankful German beer is not limited to lager.
-Dr. Patrick Hurley, barman and resident beer historian
The Civil Blog has returned. It is predominantly authored by Civil Life Barman, Dr. Patrick Hurley, who can be found tending to our bar patrons on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays. He is also responsible for tending to our draft lines, which is recognized as one of our most important tasks. Special guest writers will appear from time to time. We hope reading this blog will give you much insight about the Civil Life and most importantly help you understand a bit more about all of us that work here and the beers we put our hearts into.