Beer From Saints, for Sinners
Put simply, an altbier has the smoothness of a classic lager with the flavors of an ale. A more rigorous definition must take history into account. Ale brewing in Germany predates the now-predominant lager production. As the lager process spread from Bohemia, some brewers retained the top-fermenting ale process but adopted the cold maturation associated with lager—hence the name “old beer” (alt means old in German). Altbier is associated with Düsseldorf, Munster and Hanover. This style of ale is light- to medium-bodied, less fruity, less yeasty, and has lower acidity than a traditional English ale. In the United States, some amber ales are actually in the alt style.
Interpreting the 100-point Scale
Consumers can translate the point score to the following quality bands:
|Less than 80
- = Brewpub
- ABV = Alcohol by volume
- Date denotes the date on which the beer was tasted
92 Samuel Adams Boston Ale, The Boston Beer Co. (MA). 5.1% ABV (5/11)
Bright light amber color. Subtle aromas of pineapple, caramel and toast with plush, crisp dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a juicy peach, pepper and mesclun greens-like hop finish. Very attractive.
86 Leavenworth 8 Mile Alt Bier, Fish Brewing Co. (WA). 4.6% ABV (5/11)
Deep amber color. Delicate citrus and peach marmalade on buttered toast aromas and flavors with a crisp, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a round, legume and grassy hop-accented finish.