Just when you think there couldn’t be any more altbier or amber for me to discuss…you’re wrong.
Northern Germany gets their own, too.
Compared to Dusseldorf Altbiers, the Northern variety are often slightly darker, sweeter, and more caramelly.
The BJCP guide says Northern Altbiers are “fairly bitter yet balanced by a smooth and sometimes sweet malt character that may have a rich, biscuity and/or lightly caramelly flavor. Dry finish often with lingering bitterness. Clean, lager character sometimes with slight sulfury notes and very low to no esters.”
I tried Vermont’s Long Trail Ale, my first Northern Altbier (knowingly), during one night out in Boston. It wasn’t particularly interesting or unusual, but it was very good.
Alaskan Amber is one example of a well-known Northern Altbier. I tried it out of a bottle and absolutely loved it. The brew was perfect with my white bean and avocado soup, the hops cut the fat of the avocado and the sweet and bitter taste was a nice counterpoint to the spicy broth.
I had the beer again a few days later at the Nomad World Pub. Again, the balance is striking and the individual flavors come together very well.
This concludes my foray into Amber Hybrid Beer / category 7 with the exception of the California Common. But, this is definitely not the end of my enjoyment of the style. Try a few altbiers and you’re sure to find a new favorite…ask anyone – if I can learn to love amber beer, so can you.