Dusseldorf is the capital of North-Rhine Westphalia and a major industrial and financial centre. It’s also, apparently, the fashion hub of Germany. But for our purposes, its real fame lies with its beer. Ok it’s just one beer-no claim to be the craft beer capital of Europe here-Alt. But avoid the malt gloop clones and stick with the quality stuff and a glass or two isn’t the worst way to pass time. And there are certainly some decent pubs in which to drink it. Indeed, the Alstadt in Dusseldorf lays claim to be one mighty pub crawl, albeit not all of them great ones.

German vertical drinking
Yes, I will have another, thanks
We certainly covered all the bases on our weekend in the Fatherland. A good starting point is any one of the four Dusseldorf brewers still producing a distinctive Alt. Ueriga is a very famous one and their brewery tap is well known and not just because Auf Wiedersehen Pet used the back room for filming. It’s what you’d expect from a German boozer; think olde-world Sam Smith charm with plenty of character. And characters. I’m actually more of a fan of their pub than their beer and that pleasure was only increased by the discovery that the smoking ban has finally reached this neck of the woods. A very welcome move that even the locals who had been opposed to it, admitted had not affected trade.
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This looks nice
This doesn't
The other three Alt breweries also have pubs that are well worth a visit. The best in terms of beer, I found, was Schumacher. Not only is their ordinary alt rather pleasingly bitter, I was lucky enough to come across their anniversary beer: 1838. This 5% marvel was hoppy in the traditional IPA style and its eminently drinkable quality made it the best beer in town for my palate. Schlüssel and Füchschen, the other two Dusseldorf Alt specialists of course need trying and everyone will have their favourite. However, you may need to pick your drinking spot carefully during busy times: I gave up waiting to be served outside Schlüssel and waiting for your bill can be another pain.
A typical German enjoying his Alt

There were two other oddities of note. Brauerei Kürzer is the new upstart on the block when it comes to Alt brewing. The interior, promisingly modern at first glance, reveals itself to be rather plain post-industrial chic on closer inspection. I arrived here after the main party had already decided to leave on a customer relations-or rather lack of-point but a taste of the beer was enough for me: poor, with a malt gloop undercurrent. Much better was Schalander which is the worth the trek out of town for. This was comfortably modern with a great downstairs snug-like room. By German standards they serve an unusually large selection of different beers. Recommended.

Dusseldorf is a great place to drink in. But if you get tired of short measures of Alt, which you may well do, you can always sit back and watch the football with 500ml of Jever in the Irish bar.


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