About German Beer
The earliest evidence of beer being brewed in Germany comes from 800 BC. By the 2nd century it was already being traded commercially, with monks taking a particular interest in the scientific aspects of brewing. By the 14th century Germany began to export their beers to Holland, England, Scandinavia and even India. In 1516, Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria enacted the Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law) which stated that beer can only be brewed from barley, hops and water. The usage of yeast was not yet known, but they usually had yeast in the air which aided the brewing process. The Reinheitsgebot is the oldest, still enforced food regulation in the world.
The 19th century brought about the industrial development of brewing, using steam engines and artificial refrigeration to produce quality beers. Refrigeration allowed the Germans to brew year-round vs. just the winter months. During this time, Louis Pasteur discovered microorganisms, and the science of fermentation was finally established.
Germany has always been at the forefront of the brewing industry. As of 2012 the country ranked 3rd in Europe in beer production, and had approximately 1,300 breweries producing over 5,000 brands of beer.
The common beers produced in Germany are as follows:
• Berliner Weisse- a Weißbier from Berlin
• Export Lager- from Dortmund and Munich, but big in Bremen
• Gose- flavored wheat beer from Goslar, popular in Saxony
• Helles or Dunkels Lager- from Dortmund and Munich
• Koelsch and Alt- from Cologne and Düsseldorf
• Märzen/Oktoberfest- a Helles lager originally from Bavaria
• Naturtrübe Biere- unfiltered, unpasteurized specialty beers with lots of nutrients from Northern Bavaria
• Pilsner- from Pilsen in the Austrian-German region of Bohemia (today’s Czech Republic)
• Rauchbier- barley malt smoke over beechwood, a speciality of Bamberg in Bavaria
• Schwarzbier- originated in the Eastern German states of Thuringia and Saxony
• Starkbier/ Bockbier- originated in Einbeck, but popularized in Bavaria
• Weißbier (Wheat Beer)- a Southern German favorite