Thursday, January 24, 2008

Twenty Centiliters, Down the Hatch.

Someday I'll give you my complex theory on why the American craft beer palate leans toward the hoppy and extreme. It's a theory that draws from cultural studies, economics, history and my own personal experience. In short, it's total conjecture. Barroom talk. Bullshit. Someday I'll tell you about it, but not today. Today I only wanted to say that when I was in Dusseldorf over the weekend, I was drawn again and again to the hoppiest Altbier in town: Uerige.

I tried a lot of Altbiers over the two-day period. To be honest, I enjoyed them all. Even the relatively subdued big-market ones, like Gatz and Diebels. But my favorites definitely hailed the dim, smoky, bustling Altstadt pubs where the stuff is still brewed on the premises. Especially the Schlussel and the Uerige.

The Zum Schlussel pub was too crowded the first time we tried. Not just too packed to sit, but too packed to stand. But it was fate, because we vowed to come back for lunch. So we did. And we were glad. My bratwurst, with fried potatoes from the same skillet, plus red cabbage and apples, was one of the best meals I've had in Germany... and I've had plenty of meals in Germany. The Schlussel Alt was the bitter, malty, fresh bow tied on to the package. I love how they keep it coming, long as you don't put your coaster atop the glass.

As nice as Schlussel was, Uerige was my vice. We had to stop in there the first evening. And again the next afternoon. Oops, once more late that night, on the way back to the hotel.
Something about that fresh, serious, dry bitterness kept me coming back. I only knew that I wanted more. I want more right now, frankly.

Well, listen: I'm not wholly converted to American, barrel-aged, imperial craft-beer extremism. One thing I love in a beer is sessionability. Quaffability. Refreshment! Nothing wrong with a beer that makes you want to drink it all weekend.

Ah, Dusseldorf. The Duece. Probably for the best I don't live there.


  1. Hello,
    Good you're online.
    I live way too close at 50km.

  2. That was nearly one too many visits to Uerige for me. But it is a cool place.