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Thursday, January 13, 2011

Shhhh! Come in Tuesday for a "secret" beer.

One of the fun German beer traditions is the Sticke Alt (pronounced "Shtick-uh ullt"). Alt means "old" in German, and Altbiers are the traditional copper colored German ales that predated the invention of Lagers (think of them as the "Ambers" of their day), and they're still popular today.

So what's a Sticke Alt? "Sticke" means "secret" in German. According to local lore, in olden times brewing was much less scientific and ingredients weren't measured nearly as precisely as they are today. So, every once in a while, the brewmaster (maybe he was drinking while he was brewing) would make a mistake and put too much malt into the beer; to balance it out, more hops would be added with the resulting beer being fuller flavored with higher alcohol than the typical version. Well, regular patrons would pass along the "secret" that their favorite beer was brewed with a little something extra and that was the birth of the "Sticke" Alt.

Uerige brewpub of Dusseldorf has been brewing Altbier since 1862, and they celebrated these "Sticke" alts by intentionally brewing them twice annually and releasing them to the public on the third Tuesday in January and the third Tuesday in October. Customers, regular and new, flock to the bar to enjoy this still delicious but not-so-secret treat.

At Shultzy's, we'd like to bring the Sticke Alt tradition to Seattle, and we're fortunate to have a keg of Chuckanut Brewery's Sticke Alt to share with our regular customers and their friends who know the secret. Chuckanut brews fantastic German-style beers in Bellingham, WA USA, and their Sticke Alt is no exception. Chuckanut intentionally uses larger portions of German malts (Munich, Vienna, & caramel) and German Spalt hops to create this hoppier, richer German ale with a little extra kick!

So, now you're in on the secret. All you have to do is whisper the secret to a few close friends and come in Tuesday for a 1/2 liter or liter of Sticke Alt.