Alt Right on the Night

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.

20 thoughts on “Alt Right on the Night

  1. We saw a lot of the W/C attendant set up in Munich. Saw it a bit in public ones in Bamberg. I have long been curious about the mannequins in pubs and restaurants in Germany. Do you happen to know the origin of that?

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  2. Ashamed to say I’ve never been to Bamberg but haven’t paid in other parts of Germany. I assume the mannequins are part of general kitsch you can encounter in some countries (also Belgium) but must look into it more.

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      1. “I’m hoping my lack of knowledge baits one of your readers into sharing theirs.”

        Looking around as well during some of my spare time. No bloody luck yet (a bit like Alan wanting to know those flags outside the Ring O’ Bells. 😦

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      2. I too looked around on the Internet to no avail. I found it odd I could find nothing. Are we the only people obsessed by this German trend or are all the answers only in German? Weird that I can’t find an answer to why local German restaurants have replicas of old people in them. Sad to see the Internet failing us.

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  3. “Uerige is also the only pub I have been in where you pay a charge to the attendant to access the toilet.”

    Talk about a captive audience. 😉

    ” The locals seemed happy anyway.”

    LOL

    “this was darker and had a distinctive caramel flavouring.”

    Michael Jackson says caramel colouring was the norm for Altbier until 1984 when most switched to a dark malt:

    http://www.beerhunter.com/documents/19133-000838.html

    “We preferred the A le Mania Summer Ale (3.9%), which was very quaffable sitting outside on a warm evening.”

    Can’t argue with that. 🙂

    Cheers

    PS – “We preferred the A le Mania Summer Ale”

    Just FYI, the company is Ale Mania (the spelling on that board is to blame):

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  4. Did a crawl of the brewpubs in Dusseldirf a few years ago after being a big fan of Diebels for years I came to the conclusion I actually prefer Kolsch!
    The German craft beer scene is weird, I’ve yet to find a consistently good brewery among them. They all seem to try some weird and wonderful styles, usually failing in some significant manner. The Braustelle brewpub in Cologne does a pretty good beer festival around this time of year though; the first place I ever tried the Trumans revival beers.

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    1. Not been to Cologne – another place to add to the never-ending list. The craft scene is under developed in Germany, perhaps because of people’s familiarity and contentment with beers brewed in traditional ways. Berlin had some good new wave bars though.

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  5. Nice photos from Uerige, and good coverage of a unique city. I visited Dusseldorf and Cologne last November. They celebrate Carnival on Nov 11 in that part of Germany, and it was quite a site to see. As a beer tourist those two cities are great because they are so unique. If I lived there I might pine for something other than a toasty, bitter beer from time to time.

    As you said there is quite a bit of variation from one brewery to another. I visited Uerige, Fuchschen, and Schlussel and I agree Uerige has more bittering hops character than the others. I will say that alt beer hasn’t been embraced by craft brewers as much as other styles from Germany and Belgium. It loses something when you take it out of its environment.

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    1. Yes, the approach to drinking in Germany – with some exceptions – hasn’t diversified like much of Europe. Haven’t been to Cologne and will seek your views and advice on there when we meet.

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