With December approaching we decided to combine a trip to one of Germany’s famous Christmas Market cities that is also renowned for being the home of a beer style called Altbier.
According to the BJCP Guidelines the history of this style is:
Commercial examples of this style are Bolten Alt, Diebels Alt, Füchschen Alt, Original Schlüssel Alt, Schlösser Alt, Schumacher Alt, and Uerige Altbier so the big question is how many of these did we manage to track down?
Privatbrauerei Frankenheim was our first destination where the pork knuckle dish was huge! The Altbier was malty with a nutty finish.
Uerige Obergaerige Hausbrauerei is located in the altstadt (old town) and was a stone’s throw from the main square where a number of the Christmas Market booths were setup. The Altbier was hoppy and cleaner than the Frankenheim version. Their Weizen tasted almost like a Belgian Blonde.
We did not get to the Schlösser brewery but did manage to find their Altbier in a bar. It tasted well balanced between maltiness and hop character making it very drinkable.
Brauerei Schumacher was our first stop on day two. This was an example of the Altbier style which I had heard about prior to our trip and tasted hoppy with citrus notes.
Next up was Brauerei im Füchschen, here we sampled not only their Altbier, which was malty and bitter, but also Erdinger Stiftungsbrau Hell which was smooth, clean and had a great flavor.
Our final brewery visit was Hausbrauerei Zum Schlüssel whose Altbier was malty, nutty and a bit musty from the yeast. Here we found out how they get the wooden casks up onto the bar counter top – it is via a mini lift which comes up from the cellar and rests flush with the bar so the barrel can be slid along to the pouring location.
It was a very interesting experience to taste the subtle differences between the different examples of Altbiers found within the Altstadt. Combining a visit with the Christmas Market is a great idea though the breweries can tend to get quite busy. The only downside is that if you do not like the Altbier style then the choice of alternative beer styles can be quite limited though there is usually a Weissbier on offer. Saying that their is always the Gluhwein served at one of the many booths outside.
If you have any comments or questions, please feel free to post them below.