German Beer

Münchens Oberbürgermeister Christian Ude zapfte am Samstag (18.09.2010) in München auf dem Oktoberfest das erste Fass Bier an. Enlarge image (© picture alliance / dpa) A beer? We can offer you 5000!

This is also true of drinking habits in the various parts of Germany: in general, but especially in north Germany, the light Pilsener with little hops is favoured. Even in Dortmund it has displaced the classic export beer. An amber coloured Alt (a top-fermented dark beer) is popular in Düsseldorf and in the Lower Rhine valleys. In Cologne people drink the light yellow Kölsch which is brewed with lots of hops and served in "Stangen" (straight, narrow glasses). Further down south a lager with more malt is dominant. This is also the home of the "white beer", (a light, highly effervescent, top-fermented beer), slightly cloudy due to the yeast. Under the name "Weizen" it is rapidly gaining friends further north.


The black beer, served in an elegant tulip glass, is starting to regain its former popularity. This very old beer is mainly brewed in the regions of the former East Germany - in Thuringia and Saxony, as well as in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. An unbroken tradition, however, is enjoyed by the Rauchbier (smoked beer) which is brewed in Bamberg. It has a unique ham flavour because the malt that is used is dried over an open fire.Weihenstephan, the world's oldest brewery, is located in Freising, a town near Munich. As early as 1040 monks were brewing beer in Weihenstephan. But for special occasions the dukes of Bavaria ordered Bock beer (strong beer) from Einbeck near Hannover. Even today it's the tradition in Munich to open the strong beer season with a specially brewed Doppelbock (extra strong beer).

Festzelt - Schottenhammel - auf dem Oktoberfest, Muenchen - 22.09.2010 Enlarge image (© picture-alliance / dpa) Extremely light, on the other hand, is the Berliner Weiße (a lager) which is sweetened with woodruff or raspberry syrup. It glows either green or red in a stemmed ball-shaped glass. However, if you want something less intoxicating - why not take a "Radler" or "Alster Wasser" (types of shandy in the south and north respectively)? This is a fifty-fifty combination of beer and lemonade. It is deliciously refreshing and guarantees you can drink more. Up until 1993 these drinks were not allowed to be pre-mixed prior to serving. But now you can get them in bottles just like "Diesel" (beer with cola).

German beer, however, is still brewed as the law has stipulated since 1516: from malt, water, hops and yeast - and nothing else!

German Beer