If you’ve been following this blog long, you’ll know that I’ve been involved in the beer and wine industries in a previous job. I don’t want to say “I know my stuff”, but I know my stuff when it comes to beer and wine. I even had the fortune to live in Germany for a few years and drink a lot of Alt beer. That experience is what made me want to be in the beer and wine industry at some point in my life. I think Alt beer is one of my favorite styles. Unfortunately this beer isn’t an Alt beer if you stick to the style guidelines set out by the BJCP.
First let me say what this beer tastes like and if I liked it. I did like it, but it’s not in the style of an Alt beer. Alt means “old” in German and this is an ancient style of beer before there were lagers. All beers were ales (top fermenting yeast) and then lagers came in around 160 years ago and changed how most beer was brewed in Germany. There were a couple of holdouts that didn’t go the lager route. In Cologne and Dortmund they continued with the old ale yeast styles (hence the term Altbier or old beer).
Unfortunately, this isn’t like any Alt beer you would buy in Germany. It’s too dark, too heavy. Alt is a few shades lighter in color and lighter on the palate than this beer. As they say in the BJCP guidelines I lined above “The color ranges from light amber to deep copper color, stopping short of brown; bronze-orange is most common. Brilliant clarity. Thick, creamy, long-lasting off-white head.” Well as you can see by the picture it’s a brown beer and all those heavy flavors associated with beers that dark. It’s not a bad beer. I really like the roasty dark malts on a cold autumn day. Maybe with Trader Joe’s Shepard’s Pie. But it’s not an Alt.
If I were put it on a scale of 1-10 I would give it a 7 without an style bias, but I would give it about a 4 as an Alt because this just isn’t an Alt beer!