The first written mention of the town of Düsseldorf dates back to 1135. Düsseldorf is well known for its Altbier. The name "Altbier" first appeared in the 19th century to differentiate the beers of Düsseldorf from the new pale lager that emerged all over Germany. Brewers in Düsseldorf used the pale malts that were used for the modern pale lagers, but retained the old ("alt") method of using warm fermenting yeasts.
Since that time many breweries have been established in Düsseldorf. The latest one is the Kürzer brewery located in the Old Town (Altstadt). Kürzer is German and means shorter. The name of the brewery is derived from the street the brewery is located in, the Kurze Straße (Short street).
Hans-Peter Schwemin, the brewery owner, gave us a very friendly welcome. We were standing in front of the bar and began talking about the brewery.
"I started with the pub near the brewery and waited for the building next door to be sold. Once I bought it we started planning and building immediately. It has taken some time and we opened in 2010. We kept the style minimal, kind of Bauhaus style, more functionality and less overhead."
We walked towards the second half of the pub, that's where the brew house and fermentation is located. When looking at the brew house we noticed that is made of stainless steel, which is unusual for a brew pub.
"At most brew pubs you will find copper brew houses, but not in ours. Our brew house is stainless steel. We (want to do something new) wanted to do it more modern than the usual retro-style. People like it, and the brewmaster loves it for another reason: of course it is easier to clean than copper."
The brew house itself was built by Braukon. It consists of two vessels. One vessel is for meshing in / boiling and the other is for lautering. The system is very modern using internal cooking method with a capacity of 20hl per brew. The fermenting vessels are located at the roof of the brewery with access to it from the brew house.
In Düsseldorf you don’t need to ask for the brewed beer styles. It is obvious that Altbier is brewed. I was wondering if there are any plans to brew something different but Mr. Schwemin said that there is no capacity for brewing different beers.
"That might be difficult to do. We don't have the capacity to brew many different beers and that's not what we want to do.
The Düsseldorf Altstadt Heinrich-Heine-Allee ecosystem is very stable so why should we brew something our customers don’t ask for."
While taking photos of the brew house we noticed some crates standing around. So we asked about bottling.
"Yes, our beer will be bottled soon, starting in September / October. We use a contract bottler as most breweries in Düsseldorf do. We are currently looking into distributors. It might be nice to have some certain points where our beer will be available. Perhaps there will be an online merchant as well."
Back in front of the pub we had another Alt. "We don’t use kegs or casks within the pub. The bar directly gets the beer from a tank which fills a special tapping unit which I invented. My pub next door also gets the beer directly. No more keg handling, and always best cooled beer!"
We thanked Hans-Peter for his time and the information.
The Kürzer brewery is a pub brewery with a nice audience, interesting architecture, and of course a very good beer. If you are in Düsseldorf you shouldn't miss it. If you are a brewery enthusiast I consider it a must.