ATL Cask Ale Tickets, Dinner & Altbier Report

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BREWTOPIA EVENTS E-MAIL BREWSLETTER
Owen Ogletree (owen@xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx)
May 9, 2009
http://www.ClassicCityBrew.com
Events Calendar - http://classiccitybrew.com/calendar.html
phone (706) 254-BREW



* MAY 12 ATHENS BEER DINNER & FREE ATLANTA CASK ALE TICKETS
The Foundry Park Inn and Melting Point music hall have done a great job in 
hosting our Classic City Brew Fest the past few years and they asked me (Owen) 
to organize a big beer dinner on May 12 in celebration of Craft Beer Week. This 
is going to be a fantastic beer extravaganza, and I've decided that everyone 
who buys a ticket to the dinner gets a free, reserved space at our 2010 Atlanta 
Cask Ale Tasting in January!!!

Look at what you get with this amazing dinner...
- Delicious cheese/olive reception and four course, gourmet meal from the 
Foundry's new star chef Martin Smetana.
- A CASK of Terrapin 90 Shelling Scotch Ale on dark wood
- Atlanta Brewing's unique Belgian Strong Dark Ale aged in a Pappy Van Winkle 
barrel
- Sweetwater IPA fermented with Belgian yeast strains
- The new Allagash Confluence Ale - http://www.allagash.com/confluence.htm
- Stone Russian Imperial Stout with dessert
- Free pass to the coveted 2010 Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting (booked up in six 
hours last year).
- Free Terrapin pint glass
- Craft Beer Week literature
- First 20 to arrive get a copy of the "American Brew" DVD
- Free Bluegrass music concert after the dinner with specials on Terrapin brews

The event takes place May 12, 6:30 PM at the marvelous Melting Point/Foundry 
Park Inn in downtown Athens. Come on craft beer lovers, don't let me down - be 
with The Beer Wench, myself, the Terrapin guys, and other Athens beer 
evangelists at this dinner on Tuesday.  For tickets, call 706-254-6909 or book 
on-line at http://www.meltingpointathens.com.  The dinner is only $45 +tax, 
gratuity and $2 on-line ticket fee = $60 per person (the same price as most all 
beer dinners, once tax/tip are added) - an amazing value (especially with an 
ACAT pass included).



* FROM TRAPPEZE PUB IN ATHENS

TRAPPEZE MALHEUR NIGHT
We will offer all of Malheur's delicious offerings by the pour the evening of 
May 14th as well as giving the first 50 customers a Malheur glass to take home. 
Malheur's beers are made entirely without candy sugar (100% grain) which is a 
departure from other Belgian breweries and American Belgian-style ales. This 
expensive and time consuming difference gives Malheurs beers a depth and 
complexity rarely found in any beer. Malheur also makes some of the only 
Champagne beers in the world and has consistently won international awards for 
their unique and exceptional beers. Make plans to join us the night of May 14th 
to try these tasty treats and take home one of their glasses for your home 
collection.

TRAPPEZE MAY 19 CASK
Trappeze will be tapping a cask of Nick Stafford's Nightmare Stout Porter from 
Hambleton Brewery. Nightmare is full of rich roasted malts that dominate each 
sip and dissipate into a chocolatey creaminess. Hops are present throughout and 
provide an excellent balance without delivering any harsh bitterness. Only 5% 
abv, this flavor packed beer can be enjoyed all night. Nightmare is the 
recipient of many prestigious International Cask Ale awards and is loved for 
it's bold complexity and captivating array of flavors. The tapping will begin 
at 6:00pm sharp.



* FRESH ALT-ERNATIVES
Owen Ogletree's Altbier report from Dusseldorf, Germany - published originally 
in Beer Advocate magazine - http://www.beeradvocate.com.
See the video at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Dx11rFFDq5I.

Allied bombs ravaged the industrial city of Düsseldorf in the North 
Rhine-Westphalia region of Germany during World War II, and only a few medieval 
structures remain in the old part of town (Altstadt). Düsseldorf hardly ranks 
on any list of top tourist destinations in Germany, but locals and hard-core 
beer aficionados from around the world hold the city in high esteem because of 
its delicious and unique style of ancient brew.

A waiter at Düsseldorf 's Füchschen brewery tap informs customers in broken 
English, "Our wonderful Altbier - good for liver, kidneys - you feel good in 
morning." A separate group of patrons smiles and nods in agreement.

Altbier commands an almost maniacal devotion among citizens of Düsseldorf. 
While lagers and German Pilsners reign supreme in most areas of the country, 
Altbier accounts for almost half the beer consumed in Düsseldorf, and local 
Altbier breweries and quaint brewpubs churn out surprising volumes of the 
antique beer style. Usually served by gravity taps from wooden casks, 
Düsseldorfer Alt is consumed from small 0.2 or 0.3 liter cylindrical glasses.

"Alt" translates as "old," and modern Altbiers represent living examples of an 
age-old style of top fermenting ale popular in Germany before Bavarian lagers 
became the rage in the 16th and 17th centuries. Düsseldorf's moderate climate 
provides an ideal environment for brewing the special ale. Production usually 
involves a primary fermentation at 55-65° F, followed by a cold lagering period 
that somewhat reduces the fruity esters associated with most ale styles.

A classic Düsseldorf Altbier should exhibit clean, yet subtly complex, German 
malt and noble hop aromas. No cooked corn (dimethyl sulfide) or butterscotch 
(diacetyl) should be detected. Amber to very light brown color range is 
typical, along with brilliant clarity and an enduring head. In regard to 
flavor, a crisp, moderate, German malt character should balance substantial hop 
bitterness (25-50 IBUs) and light to moderate noble hop flavor. Slight fruity 
esters from the ale yeast may persist in some examples, along with light/medium 
body and moderate carbonation. Original gravities of 1.046 to 1.054 are 
typical, and final alcohol percentages fall within 4.3 to 5.5 ABV.

German malt varieties such as pilsner, Munich, crystal, wheat and a small 
quantity of dark varieties such as chocolate or black malt may make up Altbier 
grain bills. Pilsner malt provides highly attenuative sugars and a light/medium 
mouthfeel in the final beer, while Munich malt often contributes a pleasant, 
toasty character. Noble hop varieties such as Hallertau, Tettnang and Spalt 
hops render aroma, flavor and bitterness reminiscent of flowers, pepper, wood 
tannins and/or light perfume.

Andreas Schumacher, head brewer of the delightful Uerige brewpub, says, "It's 
important to try fresh Altbier in Düsseldorf. There is a big difference in the 
beer here in our brewpubs and the bottles sent to America. Altbier is so 
special because it follows the very old traditions of the region - our beer is 
made by hand in the very traditional way."

Unfortunately, very few U.S. beer lovers or brewers venture to Düsseldorf to 
experience the Altbiers, and the bottled exports tend to suffer from the trip 
and die from oxidation on American shelves. In Düsseldorf, the extremely fresh, 
sessionable Altbiers exhibit elegant complexity, lingering hop/malt flavors, 
and a surprising measure of variability from brewery to brewery.

ALTBIER NOTES:

Uerige
Bergerstrasse 1, Düsseldorf Altstadt
- An extremely popular, multi-room pub with labyrinth-like brewery located in 
the back. Altbier is served from beautiful old wooden barrels that are hoisted 
onto the bar by 2-3 waiters.
- Altbier: Mild aromas of woody, slightly floral hops in the nose; malt aroma 
is low; esters are moderate. Color is deep copper with a light layer of ivory 
foam from light/medium carbonation. Overall impression is a hoppy, dry Altbier 
with light/medium body, low sweetness and impressive tannin-like bitterness. 
Flavor profile includes mild caramel, moderate toast notes and subtle, fruity 
esters. A delectable, toasty, woody flavor lingers on the palate to help create 
one of the most memorable Düsseldorf Alts.

Schlüssel
Bolkerstrasse 41-47, Düsseldorf Altstadt
- This brewpub, located in the heart of the Altstadt, showcases its Altbier tap 
in the front and dining rooms toward the back. Due to severe damage during 
World War II, the exterior and interior of the pub saw refurbishment in recent 
years, with much of the original Old World charm being preserved.
- Altbier: German malts dominate the aroma and produce a grainy, toasty note. 
The aroma hops are floral, and esters almost unnoticeable. This dark copper Alt 
produces a long-lasting, creamy, substantial ivory head and lots of lace on the 
glass. Mild flavors of bread, light caramel and toasted malt meld with slight 
floral, woody hops and very subtle esters to produce a beer not nearly as dry 
and bitter as Uerige's. A hint of toasted nuts highlights the finish.

Füchschen
Ratinger Strasse 28, Düsseldorf Altstadt
- Quaint, homey pub on the north end of the old town. The colossal food menu 
includes rustic, hearty German cuisine. 
- Altbier: Light citrus and grape esters peek through in aroma and flavor. The 
appearance includes a copper color and resilient, medium, off-white head. A 
medium-bodied, creamy, complex Altbier with fruity notes, toasted grain 
character, and a spicy, mineraly, peppery note and medium hop bitterness in the 
finish.

Schumacher
Oststrasse 123, Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte
- Düsseldorf's only traditional Altbier brewery that's located just outside the 
Altstadt. Despite the fact that this is also the city's oldest brewery, 
portions of the interior appear fresh and refurbished. 
- Altbier: Floral hops, mild fruity esters and a subtle sulfur note mingle with 
light grainy, toasty malts in the aroma. A thin ivory head sits atop the clear, 
copper-hued ale, and bready, toasty flavors control the malt flavor profile. 
Hops are floral/woody in flavor and produce mild bitterness. Hints of agreeable 
esters and mineral-like notes come through in the light-bodied, dry, slightly 
watery finish. 

Frankenheim
Wielandstrasse 14-16, Düsseldorf-Stadtmitte
- The brewery, once located in a complex behind the pub, relocated to a large, 
modern facility outside of town to keep up with German and export demand. 
Located several blocks northeast of the Altstadt, Frankenheim's taphouse offers 
several dining rooms and a bar area filled with artifacts from the old brewery.
- Altbier: Light fruit, dark malt, toast and light hoppiness comprise the aroma 
profile. Brown in color, this is a very dark example of the style (21-22 SRM). 
Flavor balance is definitely toward toasty, nutty, slightly roasty malts; and 
hops show an herbal quality. Bitterness is moderate and countered by a 
pleasant, fruity note. Medium-bodied with light carbonation and mild creaminess.

Diebels Fasskeller
Bolkerstrasse 14-16, Düsseldorf Altstadt
- A smoky, single room pub that showcases the mass marketed Diebels Altbier 
from InBev. Available on draft and in bottles in several countries (including 
the U.S.), Diebels is the world's largest producer of Altbier.
- Altbier: Very slight aromas include floral hops and a hint of dried stone 
fruits. A large, creamy, ivory head rises from the dark copper colored beer. 
Slightly sweet flavors of caramel, mild fruit, light toast and grains dominate 
very mild hop undertones and create a light/medium body and smooth finish.

Ratinger Brauhaus
Bahnstrasse 15, Ratingen (15 km north of Düsseldorf)
- This brewpub in a "suburb" of Düsseldorf houses a cozy dining room to the 
right; a middle bar area with traditional, dark wood; and a bright, refurbished 
room to the left with faux rock walls and models of brew kettles.
- Altbier: Aroma leans toward malt with hints of cherries and banana. At 21-22 
SRM, this brown Altbier comes in at the dark end of the style's color range and 
throws dark cream/beige foam with medium head retention. There's a substantial 
carbon dioxide prickle on the tongue and a note of hazelnuts and caramel in the 
aftertaste.

Velberter Brauhaus
Friedrichstrasse 102, Velbert (40 km northeast of Düsseldorf)
- A smoky, neighborhood brewpub filled with locals enjoying their Altbier. 
Quaint trinkets and decor from the town adorn the walls.
- Altbier: Light aromas of well-balanced, toasty malt and floral hops set the 
stage for a clean flavor profile that includes light/moderate noble hop 
bitterness; elegant toasted Munich malt; and a very mild, dark toffee finish. A 
smooth, refreshing, crisp Altbier with impressive malt/hop balance, light 
esters and a slightly dry finish. Dark copper in color with a thick band of 
ivory/cream colored foam.


SIDE NOTE:
"Sticke" means "secret," and the term designates a higher gravity version of 
Altbier that was once produced just for brewers and pub owners. Darker, 
sweeter, maltier and more complex than regular Alts, Sticke also boasts 
enhanced lagering periods and hop intensities (even dry-hopping). Available for 
consumption at the Düsseldorf pub only on the third Tuesday in January and 
October, Uerige's Sticke also makes its way to several U.S. export markets 
year-round. Double Sticke, an extra powerful version from Uerige, continues to 
gain notoriety as well. Latzenbier, Schumacher Brewery's extra potent Altbier, 
sells at the pub on the third Thursday of March, September and November.


______________________ 

That's about all for now. Take care and remember to always drink responsibly 
and support homebrewing and craft-brewed beers whenever possible!

Owen Ogletree is an Athens, GA beer writer, beer traveler, nationally certified 
beer judge, and founder/director of www.ClassicCityBrew.com, the Classic City 
Brew Fest, and the Atlanta Cask Ale Tasting.

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