The Germans are very proud of their beer and extremely protective of it almost to the point of snobbishness. No other country has such a great beer tradition, how it should be made, and how it should be served and drunk. There are many interesting facts that surround the German Beer Industry and we look at some of the more bizarre.
The story of German beer is as rich and wonderful than the beer itself, and a little known fact is that there are so many different kinds of German beers that you could drink a different one every day for fifteen years. 1516 was a momentous year in the life of German beer making, as the Reinheitsgebot law came into play. This law dictated that only four elements could be used in the making of German beer. Barley, hops, water and yeast are the only things allowed as ingredients. But if you think about how many different types of hops, malt, and yeast that there are, then you can imagine the many different types beers that can be produced.
The World’s Oldest Brewery
The oldest fully functioning brewery in the world is in the Weihenstephan monastery in Bavaria, which is credited to have made beer as far back at the 8th Century AD. Officially the brewery was licensed in 1040 when the abbot was allowed to sell beer to the good people of Freising.
Beer & Mixers
Interestingly, even though the German people bang the drum loudly over the purity of German beer they often add mixers to their beer. And you can buy many beers that have already been pre-mixed in cans. The best example of this is Radler, which is beer mixed with carbonated lemonade. In the UK they would call this shandy. And the debate rages on between German and British beer drinkers who invented this lite beer first.
The Banning of Coffee
The regent of Prussia, Frederick the Great loved beer so much he took the unusual step of banning coffee in 1777. And after the ban he suggested that his people would be better off drinking beer soup instead of drinking coffee.
The Cologne v Dusseldorf Battle
The cities of Dusseldorf and Cologne are near neighbors, and because so have a fierce rivalry. The people of Dusseldorf are considered modern and full of bling, whereas Cologne has a reputation of being really laid back. The two city’s beers are also quite different, Altbier is a dark ale from Dusseldorf, whilst Cologne produces Kolsh which is a light lager-type beer. Each city is proud of their unique beer and boasts how much better it is than their neighbors. But interestingly, in a blind taste test between die-hard beer fans of both cities many of the tasters could not differentiate between the two beers. It is true that Germany produces some of the best beers in the world; and traveling around the country, each individual town is immensely proud of its own brew and strives to make their beer as best as they possibly can.