Tuesday, 1 December 2015


Non-homebrew related thinkpiece alert!

This is partly apropos of Boak and Bailey's recent post about drinkability, and partly apropos of the ongoing attempt by Americans to get their heads around the idea of a session beer and why it doesn't just mean "anything under 5%."

I drank quite a bit of Altbier when we were in Dusseldorf the other week. As a style it's basically like a cleaner, colder version of Best Bitter - brown, not too strong, varies from reasonably herbal-bitter to moderately biscuity-sweet. And like Best Bitter, it can be a truly great session beer.

Really traditional Altbier pubs only sell one beer, and they'll repeatedly bring you a fresh 20cl glass of it as and when you finish the current one until you actually tell them to stop. And for as long as they do keep bringing it, you don't get fed up with it and there aren't any out-of-kilter flavours that gradually get annoying. And for as long as they do keep bringing it, you keep swigging and talking and swigging and talking and barely notice the beer. But every now and then, maybe when there's a lull in the conversation, you stop for a second, look at the glass in your hand, let the beer roll around your mouth and think, no, this stuff really is bloody brilliant.

In short, a great session beer demands no attention at all, but will repay as much as you want to give it.


  1. I want to go to a traditional Altbier pub now! (And it's midnight and I'm already drunk. Good job I didn't read this post in mid-afternoon - I'd have been on the plane by nightfall.)

    Dusseldorf you say?

    1. Seconded. Flight... if only I could sprout wings.