A ways back, let' say 1992 or so, I started to look forward to my first pint whenever I rolled into Portland, OR- it was Widmer's Alt, served at the Gasthaus. It was just a magnificent beer, a great take on a style that expertly walks a tightrope- not too malty, not too bitter (but definitely pushing the limit), not too toasty, not too hoppy- but all of those qualities are present. The trick is, as a brewer, to imbue interest in something that, by definition, seems to be pulling its punches. Widmer's Alt definitely accomplished that- a great creamy body, deliciously hoppy and caramel-infused, with an unexpected dryness and complexity- simultaneoulsy focused yet dodging expectations with each sip. We do get Uerige here in the States, and if you're fortunate you'll get a good sample. There have also been a number of quality American tales on the style throughout the years, some not explicitly calling themselves an Alt but exemplifying the style nonetheless- such as Alaskan Amber or Otter Creek Copper Ale. They have all been good , but none have made that same impression on me as that Widmer Alt of back then. Recently we here in NJ have started to get the Mission beers in 12 oz bottles (although I do remember seeing bombers for a while before that). It's sort of expensive, $13 a sixer, so I've been a bit hesitant, but I gotta say that their Amber (Dusseldorf Style Altbier) has brought me back to those days in Portland for the first time in a long time. I am so glad I finally took the plunge; this stuff is just awesome. Does anybody else really dig the style, and what are your favorites?