About German Beer

About German Beer
Germany: A Matter of Purity

There is good evidence that grain beverages were brewed by ancient Egyptian and Middle Eastern cultures, but many Europeans commonly credit the development of beer as we know it to Bavarian brewers of the 16th century. It is no surprise, then, that Germany exemplifies a beer-drinking nation with rich historical ties to many of the styles consumers still encounter today.

Beer purity is a cornerstone of the German beer-making process. The Reinheitsgebot, or Beer Purity Law, originally stipulated the strict use of only water, barley and hops in brewing. The law was later modified to include yeast upon it’s discovery. German-brewed beer is still largely produced under this law.

Germany’s strong regional brewing traditions have given rise to many popular beer styles. Hamburg is known for its dry pilsner-style lagers. Berlin specializes in tart Berliner weisse beer. Dortmund is world famous for its rich “export” lagers. Dusseldorf clings to its traditional alt beers, and Cologne continues to produce refreshing kölsch beers. Luckily for U.S. consumers, Germany remains the world’s largest beer exporter by a wide margin, making these regional styles—along with others like Munich helles-style lagers and weizen beers—available in the U.S. market.

In recent years, German beer consumption has seen an uncharacteristic decline. The result of this decline has been a decrease in the number of commercial breweries in the country, though Germany still remains a major player in the beer industry overall.

Top Picks for Germany

Hofmühl Weissbier Hell
96 points
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of banana soufflé, pressed flowers, apricot, and honeycomb with a satiny, vibrant, fruity light-to-medium body and a warming, distinctive, medium-long finish displaying accents of sweet zucchini bread with butter, cashew caraway, coriander, and clove finish. A beautiful, nuanced hefeweizen with a celebratory quality; cheers!
Ayinger Bräuweisse
96 points
Hazy yellow straw color. Toasty, fruity aromas and flavors of frosted banana cake, cashew brittle, white macadamia cookie, and kiwi-mango relish with a supple, bright, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, complex, long finish that shows touches of melon and nectarine and banana custard finish. A superb Hefeweizen with great flavor, balance, and sessionability.
Awards: 2017 Best Weizen Hefe , 2017 Best German Beer
Hofmühl Hell
95 points
Gold color. Aromas of fresh egg croissant, dried apricot, peach scone, and mead with a satiny, vibrant, effervescent, dryish light body and a warming, refreshing, medium-long tea with cream and herb focaccia finish. A very tasty Munich Helles with great integration of flavors; drink up.
Hofmühl Weissbier Leicht
95 points
Hazy light gold color. Pure aromas and flavors of fresh,spicy banana nut muffin and pudding with a creamy, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, complex, long finish revealing notes of wheat wafer, banana chip, jicama, and watercress finish. A fantastically pure and delicious hefeweizen that is a great example of the style; liquid sunshine.
Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock
95 points
Dark bronze color. Fruity, smoky aromas and flavors of chocolate banana cake and pudding, toffee, smoked nuts, and sundried-tomato chutney with a supple, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a smooth, complex, very long finish that exhibits elements of honeyed lettuce and mocha gelato finish. A fantastically flavorful and instantly appealing doppelbock with tremendous versatility.
Awards: 2017 Best Doppelbock
Hofmühl Märzen Gold
95 points
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of praline, sassafras, pear kefir, and honeyed baked biscuit with a silky, bright, effervescent, dryish light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, medium-length finish evoking touches of starfruit, arugula, hint of pepper and olive, and minerals finish. A nicely layered marzen with great savory flavors and drinkability.
Hofmühl Original Rother Kellerbier
94 points
Amber color. Aromas and flavors of candied yams, zucchini bread with bran, orange marmalade, and cheese soufflé with a velvety, vibrant, effervescent, dryish light-to-medium body and a smooth, appealing, medium-long finish evoking elements of pear butter and pretzel bread pudding finish. A delicious, malty yet buoyant Zwickl that will have you coming back for a second.
Hofmühl Zerberus Doppelbock
94 points
Hazy deep amber color. Inviting aromas and flavors of bananas foster with nuts, frosted pound cake, chamomile tea, and pomegranate vinaigrette with a slightly chewy, soft, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, long finish revealing notes of toffee, banana soufflé, and daikon finish. A delightfully chewy and appetizing weizen bock to savor.
Ayinger Bavarian Pils
94 points
Minutely hazy golden yellow color. Inviting aromas and flavors of cookie dough, corn flakes, hint of dried pineapple, and clay spice jar with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a tingling, interesting, very long finish that presents accents of honey roasted nuts, bibb lettuce and radicchio, and pepper cracker finish. A pure, rich and flavorful Pilsner that is sure to please and finishes for a mile.
Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel
94 points
Hazy bronze color. Artificial aromas and flavors of chocolate nuts and custard and fruitcake with a supple, bright, effervescent, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a tingling, interesting, long finish evoking notes of root beer float, mocha fudge, and grainy dark bread pudding finish. A robust and satisfying dark lager that is sure to please.
Awards: 2017 Best Dark Lager