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Monday, May 14, 2007

Monday Beer Blogging

Heaven in a glass:

One of the world's finest beers: the altbier from Brauerei zum Uerige in Düsseldorf. A reddish copper colored beer (the name "altbier" translates literally to "old beer" but in this case means more "beer in the old style") is just under 5% alcohol by volume, has a clean and malty taste with just a hint of hop flavor. It is fairly well attenuated (i.e. "dry") and a nice bitter finish that leaves you wanting another one as soon the glass is empty. Which is good because the waiter will plop another one down without asking (and mark your coaster to keep track). The glasses are on the smaller side for Germany .25 L but this insures the beer is always fresh and not too warm (if you drink from a 1 liter mug as the Bavarians do, the beer will be warm and flat by the time a typical person gets to the bottom).

This beer is also tradition in a glass: it is served from wooden barrels set on the counter, with no help from anything but Mr Newton and his laws of gravity. The brewery is a charming mix of old and new: all the pumps and valves are controlled by a state of the are computerized brewing system, but the brewer still checks the volume in the brew kettle with a big wooden dipstick. The wooden kegs have RFID chips embedded for inventory control but the bung is hammered in with a big wooden mallet.

The brewery itself is on a busy corner in the Düsseldorf Altstadt ("Old Town"). It has slowly taken over a good portion of the block, expanding into neighboring buildings as they become available. The result is room has its own personality and its own clientele.

(Düsseldorf is about an hour and a half by fast train from Frankfurt airport)

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