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 Hell
97 points
Brilliant light gold color. Floral, sweaty, sulfurous, grassy, clean aromas of butter toasted multi-grain baguette with scrambled eggs, lemongrass tea, and sandalwood with a soft, crisp, finely carbonated, dry light-to-medium body and a sleek, short honeyed citrus peels, pepper bread toast, classic old world hop, and honeyed quince and melon finish. A brilliant, vibrant Helles with pinpoint precision and generous flavor.
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 Weissbier
95 points
Cloudy hazy old gold color. Citrusy, fruity, peppery, inviting aromas of banana creme, big league bubble gum, orange Creamsicle, and croissant dough with a round, spritzy, medium body and a graceful, interesting, medium-length raw flour, lemon custard, allspice cookie, and spice cake finish. A delicious, mouth-filling Hefeweizen with fine balance and depth.
Hofmühl Zerberus Doppelbock
95 points
Cloudy medium golden amber color. Fruity, spicy, yeasty, complex, inviting aromas of caramelized banana, banana pudding, vanilla custard, and unglazed cinnamon bun with a creamy, petillant, moderately sweet medium body and a warming, distinctive, easy banana pancake with syrup, banana creme pie, allspice cake, and vanilla spice cake finish. A rich and flavorful Weizenbock with great texture and palate-satiating flavors.
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 Privat Pils
94 points
Brilliant yellow color. Grassy, clean, toasty, herbal, floral aromas of nougat and saltines, buttery egg croissant, and spanakopita with a velvety, soft, fizzy, dryish medium body and a graceful, charming, medium-length cracked pepper crackers, mango slices, and fresh thyme finish. A spot on Pilsner with impressive drinkability.
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
Hofmühl Original Rother Kellerbier
93 points
Minutely hazy gold color. Yeasty, woody, herbal, grassy, fruity aromas of graham crackers, hawaiian roll, and honeyed bread with a creamy, soft, petillant, moderately sweet medium-to-full body and a smooth, appealing, medium-length toffee hard candy, caramel apple, toasted whole wheat english muffin, and roasted nuts finish. A round and chewy Zwickl.