The history of German beers goes back 2,000 years, with German beer being one of the best loved and oldest beers in the world.
Germans are very passionate and serious about their beer. Their dedication and commitment to the art of beer production has resulted in Germany being a leading beer making nation. 10% of world market volume is brewed in Germany, with its 1,200 breweries producing up to 6,000 types of beers.
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Beer has been part and parcel of German society, and is subject to multiple rules and laws regarding its production and taxation. The best known German beer rule dates to 1516 and relates to brewing; the Purity Law, or Reinheitsgebot, from make the oldest food law in history. This law asserts that beer ought to only be produced from hops, barley and water. Nowadays of course, yeast is added to the beer, yet all else about the law remains unchanged. This is the reason why German beer is extremely well made, clear and a world brewing market leader.
A common German beer is Altbier, or ‘Old beer’. Such German beers have a light to medium body and are slightly bitter. They originate from Dusseldorf, the best example being Diebels. Altbiers which accompanies strong tasting foods like cheese and oily fish well.
Weisse beer, or wheat beer, is another highly popular German beer. It originates from Berlin, is pretty unique, being sharp and having a tart taste. Weisse beer is low in alcohol content and exceedingly refreshing. Known as the Champagne of beers, it is often served with fruit syrup to counter their sour taste. Should you wish to sample such unique beer, the best varieties to opt for are Schultheiss Berliner Weisse and Berliner Kindl Weisse.
German Bocks are amongst the best beers in the world, packing a strong punch. On the whole, they are dark, full-bodied beers, high in alcohol content, with a malty, rich taste. The lightest bock is Helles bock, an amber coloured beer. Doppelbock beer is stronger, having a malty, dark flavour, akin to English stout. The strongest bock Is Eisbock; this is chilled until ice crystals form. Upon the crystals being removed, a rich, strong beer remains. There are lots of great bocks to select from, with Franziskaner being deemed one of the finest.
German Lager beers
There are multiple types of German lager beer. The two best known are Dortmunder and Pils. Dortmunder, as it names states, is brewed in Dortmund and is strong and pale, having a refreshingly crisp finish.
Other excellent choices are the Dortmunder lagers brewed by the Royal Furstenberg and Henninger breweries. German Pils, short form for Pilsner, is regularly mistaken for the similarly named Czech beer. Nonetheless, German Pils is somewhat different as it is hoppier than and not as malty as the Czech counterpart. Pils is an easy to drink, straightforward lager beer which the Holsten and Astra breweries produce the best known examples of.
Rauchbier is perhaps the most interesting German beer as the malts are dried over beechwood; hence, the beer develops a unique smoky flavour. It is brewed in Northern Bavaria; therefore, it is not so easy to get hold of. Should you have an opportunity to try such a beer, a great example is Heller-Trum Aecht Schlenkeria Rauchbier which is dark, sweet and slightly bitter with a wonderfully smoky flavour.
Even though German beers are to be found throughout the world, Germany is the best place to taste these fantastic brews. Without doubt, the best time to sample these beers is during the Oktoberfest. The biggest beer festival is Munich’s Oktoberfest, where 6m litres of beer are drunk each year. German beers as well as beers from all over the world are available there. This festival has a great ambience. If you are a beer lover, then drinking German beer during the Oktoberfest is an experience you will cherish.