In the category of German or German-inspired beers that you will find little to nowhere in the United States, the Alt Bier is one of the least popular of styles. Truly, for those who live in the Pacific Northwest, the area is home to a handful of breweries that have brewed this relative unknown style of beer.
Born during a period when breweries were operated in homes instead of as a business, the Alt Bier originated during the Middle Ages. With its origins found in Pilsners and Dunkels, the style borrowed from techniques refined in Northwest Germany, where it was legal to brew throughout the year when compared with nearby Bavaria. Eschewing lager yeast, which requires the yeast to age in the bottom of the barrel, the Alt Bier is closer in makeup to the Kolsch than it's clearer, paler, cousin the Pilsner. Brewed in Dusseldorf, the Alt Bier didn't completely forget its Bavarian roots as the beer retains a darker hue, commonly found in Dunkels and Bocks of the time.
Starting with German malts Pilsner and Munich, the Alt Bier's base starts out much like many other German beers before the brewer adds some color in the form of caramel or black mats. The result is a beer that has a firm body from the Pilsner malt, some toastiness from the Munich malt, and a strong overall malt flavor and aroma. Overall, this style is refreshing and dark in color and in some respects can have the equivalent complement of hops as the India Pale Ale.
Recognizing the rarity of this style, Merchant du Vin and Pinkus are happy to announce the limited-availability of Pinkus Münster Alt. Already in bottles, in limited quantities, the brewery has agreed to share a ration of kegs for sale in the United States. Look for draft-editions of Pinkus Münster Alt, at 5.1% and 20 IBU, via Merchant du Vin's beer finder or by asking your nearest bar if they've ordered any.
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More on Pinkus Münster Alt
Pinkus Münster Alt is the only remaining example of a traditional regional style, Münster altbier. Altbiers from Dusseldorf range from dark caramel to brown color, but Münster Alt is a slightly hazy pale golden color, with appetizing acidity and a hint of sourness: a small ratio of soured, reboiled wort is in the recipe. Thirst-quenching and inviting, there is really no other beer like Pinkus Münster Alt.
More on Pinkus Brewery
In 1816, when the Müller family opened Pinkus Brewery in the German city of Münster, all breweries were organic. In the 1980s, Pinkus became the first brewery of the modern era to commit to full all-organic production: Pinkus Münster Alt, Pinkus Ur-Pils, and Pinkus Hefeweizen are all USDA Certified Organic.