Now that’s a title that would, until recently, have carried no unsavoury ambiguity. This is all about the beer and Dusseldorf is an extraordinary city from a beer perspective. Virtually all the beer sold there is Altbier. Everyone I know who has drank there has come back enthused.
Altbier is a top-fermented style of beer. In the brewpubs there is considerable variation in taste and appearance. It’s akin to every bar in Glasgow (which has a similar population) selling IPA and very little else.
We tried three bars that brewed their own and the only craft beer bar in the city for good measure.
We started with, in my opinion, the best. Uerige consists of several bars and is all dark wood and glass.
Beer is poured from the wood, brought to your table in small measures and refilled whenever the aproned barmen think your glass is in the slightest danger of becoming empty. It was the hoppiest of the ones we tried.
Food is hefty Germanic style sausage, stuffed cabbage and the like. Uerige is also the only pub I have been in where you pay a charge to the attendant to access the toilet.
People of all ages were drinking Alt outside on both sides of a street that leads to a lively waterfront area on the Rhine. The locals seemed happy anyway.
The traditional brewpubs (we didn’t get to some others as were only there one night and needed an excuse to return) have been joined by Brauerie Kurzer with its modern take on Alt. Served via stainless steel pipes to a glass tank, and aimed at a younger crowd in a street full of bars, this was darker and had a distinctive caramel flavouring.
Fuchschen offered a more bitter, nutty Alt that also drank well in a busy, large old bar. The pubs of Glasgow would love people to come out and drink beer in such numbers.
Finally to the only craft beer bar in a city of over 600,000 people. Holy Craft opened in 2017 in what I presume is a former chapel.
The draught beer list demanded attention. Freigeist is a German gypsy brewer so we tried the Root of Evil (5.5%), a sour that seemed to us to represent a relatively gentle introduction to the style.
We preferred the A le Mania Summer Ale (3.9%), which was very quaffable sitting outside on a warm evening.
Inside literally ticked a few craft boxes by using pallets for seating.
Good, enthusiastic and knowledgeable service made for a positive beery experience to end the night.