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Chicagoist's "Beer of the Week:" Metropolitan Brewing's "I-Beam" Alt

By Chuck Sudo in Food on Jul 1, 2010 7:00PM

2010_07_1_BOTW.jpg Doug and Tracy Hurst at Metropolitan Brewing have been taking some big strides in recent months. Their Baltic porter, brewed for Craft Brewers Conference a couple months back, was a favorite when we sampled it at Hackney's Printer's Row. Now Doug Hurst is starting to brew some seasonal lagers.

His first release is an amazing altbier brewed with the help of Russ Chibe (of Homebrewers' Pride of the South Side fame), called "I-Beam." "Alt" refers to the pre-lager method of brewing, except the Germans of Westphalia used a top-fermenting yeast like a Pale ale yeast to ferment the beer, then stored the beer at the lower lagering temperatures. Over time, the yeast adjusted to the lower temperatures, resulting in a cleaner tasting, drier beer than an ale. Chibe is an avid homebrewer and a master of the altbier style. He and Doug Hurst have brewed one of the maltiest alts we've ever tasted. The flavor profile includes bread, nuts and apple, with some nice bitterness from the hops. Head on this forms a very tight cap with medium to heavy bubbles and leaves thick lace rings as it dissipates. I-Beam finishes dry, with some welcome but unexpected astringency on the back of the palate.

One place to find I-Beam Alt on draft is Uncommon Ground Devon, which has a wonderful selection of locally produced craft beers on draft.