As soon as you think of German beer, you swiftly conjure images at Oktoberfest, tents filled with beer-lovers, neatly lined tables, a happy rowdy crowd and of course, the ever so important frothy oversized glasses (Mass or Steins) of amber nectar. Beer is as integral to German culture as it is to Britain’s although the signature styles are a total contrast. Germans are masters of light, refreshing, low abv brews like Pilsener, Kellerbier, Kolsch, and Weissebier, boasting brands such as Erdinger, Schneider-Weisse, Veltins and Augustiner.
The corner stone of German brewing tradition is the Reinheitsgebot the world’s first purity law which dates back over 500 years. The decree banned anything other than water, barley and hops to be used in beer production although yeast was later added when it was discovered. This was repealed in 1987 but remains a huge part of the brewing ethos across all the main brewing regions. The obvious exception to these standards are wheat beers which clearly breach the original Reinheitsgebot document however laws develop and many of the Wheat beer brewers claim to be permissible under these exacting standards.
Enjoy exploring our German Beers below, and for more information on a particular style please see the handy reference at the bottom of this page.
Typical German Beer Styles:
German beer distinguishes itself by styles but commonly also differentiate according to region as well:
- Wheat Beer –Known as Weizenbier and Weißbier, (Wheat meaning Weizen and Weiß meaning White). Far and away the most common style is the HefeWeizen which is an unfiltered wheat beer, although different varieties are available e.g. Kristallweizen ( a filtered Hefe) and Roggenbier (a darker beer made with rye)
- Kolsch – Only brewed in Cologne, clear, light and straw coloured
- Pilsener – Everyone knows pilsener, it’s lager in another name! The most common type of beer consumed on the planet!
- Bock – Darker than your average German beer, it’s malty too and was first produced in Einbeck, which was distorted by other Germans to Ein Bock, hence the name Bock beer. Randomly Bock also means goat so you often find a goat hidden amomgst the labelling too.
- Altbier – These are dark lager, top fermented beers and are brewed by a handful of brewers in Düsseldorf. The name literally means old beer