The year 2013 in the Lower Rhine region was dominated by Altbier! The top-fermented hop beer bears this name because it is brewed according to "old tradition", as its beginnings date back to the Middle Ages.
Originally, a herbal beer called Grutbier was drunk in the Lower Rhine region. In the course of the 15th century, however, hop beer, the forefather of today's Altbier, prevailed. Until well into modern times, beer was considered not only a beverage and stimulant, but also a staple food that was even consumed for breakfast. Its esteem is reflected in numerous elaborately designed beer mugs. From the 18th century onward, spirits increasingly competed with beer, consumption of which declined rapidly.
While top-fermented beer was displaced by bottom-fermented pilsner and export beers in almost all of Germany in the 19th century, the beverage brewed according to the "old tradition" survived in the Lower Rhine region and in the Netherlands and Belgium. With the emergence of large breweries in the second half of the 19th century, Altbier experienced a renaissance in the Lower Rhine region. Numerous breweries were established, especially in the vicinity of Neuss and Düsseldorf, some of which still exist today.
The exhibition was part of the "Lower Rhine ALTernatives" project. Under this title, around 30 German and Dutch museums and cultural institutions, which are united in the Lower Rhine Museum Network, offered a colorful program of exhibitions and events on the subject of Altbier in 2013 and 2014. In Neuss, in addition to the Clemens-Sels-Museum Neuss and the Feld-Haus - Museum für populäre Druckgrafik, the Rheinisches Schützenmuseum and the Stadtarchiv also presented a wide range of exhibitions on the subject.