I had not heard of Southampton Publick House until I picked up a six-pack of their Double White a few weeks ago. It’s a pretty good beer, which I will review at another time, so I decided to have a try of their Altbier, too. I could not find much information about Southampton Publick House, which is unfortunate because it looks like the beer is bottled in Pennsylvania, even though the microbrewery is located in Long Island. A mystery that is yet to be solved.
That said, the Altbier is in the Düsseldorf style, meaning it should have low esters (and fruitiness that comes from them) with a strong malt flavor and some decent amount of hops. The altbier style is simply a distinction of the “old” style of making beer (relative to the German timeline of beermaking) and that rather than being a “newer” style lager, it is an ale.
The beer pours a nice clear, dark amber color with about 1.5″ of head. The aroma has a floral and spicy or peppery character to it, although, again, my nose isn’t the best. I may detect a little bit of caramel toffee in the aroma, too.
This beer seems to land on the bitter end of malty rather than the sweeter end. There is a bit of that typical noble hops “twang” in the finish, but the bitterness in the beginning of the flavor seems to be more from the malt roast, not the hops. I get none of the toffee in the flavor that I noticed in the aroma, and I also get a touch of sourness in the flavor. Way back in the aftertaste I get a metallic flavor, I think from the noble hops, and it is brief and not unpleasant. The Altbier has a pretty clean finish, overall, and because of the light sourness and bitterness, I find it refreshing. There really isn’t much more to find in the aroma or flavor for me.
This is a decent beer… it isn’t knocking my socks off, but it isn’t bad by any stretch, either. This is sort of the lager of the ale world… low complexity and nice balanced drinker. Overall, not a bad beer for a session beer down at the bar with some friends, but you won’t find a lot of depth to it.