Buckle in, dear readers. This beer’s going to have quite the lengthy historical background and discussion. And that’s what I love about beer; there is so much history that can be traced into a single glass that’s nearly impossible to learn everything about everything. Not that I’m not going to try, however.
Today’s beer is the rather interestingly named Torcedores Series: Matt’s Mumme Sticke Ale (Altbier, 7% ABV), by Tampa’s Cigar City Brewing. And before we even begin to talk about the beer, I kinda have to explain that the word torcedor refers to an experienced cigar roller. Cigar City is using this word to describe a series of beers each of their brewers is doing on their own (and without editing or input by Cigar City brewmaster Wayne Wambles).
Okay, so let’s start with the mumme (pronouced something close to moo-mee). A mumme is a traditional light-brown beer, usually consisting of one-third wheat malt and two-thirds barley malt. This beer was one of the most popular beer styles in northern Germany from the 14th through 16th centuries especially in Hamburg. The mumme style, however, has fallen out of favor with German beer drinkers.
Then you’ve got the altbier (pronouced oolt-beer). It’s a speciality of Northwestern Germany, especially around Düsseldorf. It straddles the line between an ale and a lager, using a traditional strain of ale yeast (meant to ferment at warmer temperatures), but the allowed to fermnt for a few months at a time in colder temperatures (like a lager). Altbiers are still consumed in Germany, especially in the NW region. In that area, the beer counts for up to 50% of beer consumed. Many regional breweries brew a darker, more flavorful version of an altbier, which they call a sticke alt (sticke means secret, referring to the secret recipes the breweries have in making the beer).
Back to Tampa. Remember that Torcedores Series? Matt Tucker, one of Cigar City’s brewers, decided to make a mumme for his entry into the series. Apparently, somewhere in the brewing process, it turned into an altbier, too. So they decided to label it a mumme/altbier.
And it is something special. it’s exceptionally close to my beloved dunkelweizen in terms of having a smooth drinkability. it has a beautifully light and aromatic touch of hops, a big caramel flavor and color, and a big body with a smooth and almost creamy mouthfeel. It also has the slightly bigger alcohol content and weight that the sticke alts would have.
It is truly fantastic. It’s just a shame it’ll be gone soon. Maybe we can petition Wayne to let Matt make more…
Drink Florida Craft,