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
219871
Ayinger
Bräuweisse
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 melon and nectarine and banana custard finish. A superb Hefeweizen with great flavor, balance, and sessionability.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
215367
Privatbrauerei Hofmühl
Hofmühl Zerberus
Hazy amber color. Lively, interesting aromas and flavors of butter roasted peaches, nuts and bananas, hot iron, nettles, and spicy with a soft, shy, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a tingling, intricate, medium-long creamy banana custard, lettuce, and caramel nougat bar finish. A super smooth, creamy weizen bock that offers tons of enjoyment.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
219821
Hofmühl
Zerberus Doppelbock
Cloudy golden amber color. Roasted aromas and flavors of grilled bananas, roasted cashews and pumpkin seeds, molasses cookie, and Swedish rye cracker with a satiny, bright, finely carbonated, fruity fat body and a warming, engaging, long banana creme brulee, watercress, nutskin, and pepper finish. A rich, warming weizenbock.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218421
Privatbrauerei Hofmühl
Märzen Gold
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 starfruit, arugula, hint of pepper and olive, and minerals finish. A nicely layered marzen with great savory flavors and drinkability.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218666
ABK
Edel Spezialbier
Light gold color. Aromas and flavors of apple-banana nut muffin and hint of coconut oil with a supple, bright, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a sleek, stimulating, medium-long spiced fruits, sweet lettuces, and toasted corn bread finish. A lively and delicately fruity dortmunder that will be very versatile.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
218420
Privatbrauerei Hofmühl
Amadeus Pale Øl
Straw color. Grassy, herbal aromas and flavors of herb baguette, toasted nuts, dried lemon, and lemon basil grass and mint with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light-to-medium body and a smooth, layered, long hint of arugula, lemon, and tortilla finish. A delicious, vibrant, dry-hopped pilsner.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
216727
Privatbrauerei Hofmühl
Hofmühl Dunkel
Brilliant bronze color. Aromas and flavors of fresh pretzel bread, nuts, and arugula with a satiny, crisp, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium body and a smooth, interesting, medium-long chocolate fig muffin, sprouts, corn puff cereal, and clay finish. A finely balanced, very sessionable dark lager for the long haul.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
202884
Privatbrauerei Aying
Ayinger Bräuweisse
Hazy old gold color. Aromas of banana muffin, peppery spices, meringue, and clay with a crisp, plush, dry-yet-fruity medium body and an apple, baking spice, and radish accented finish. Classically styled, vibrant and delicious.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220104
Weihenstephan
Vitus Single Bock
Hazy amber color. Savory, meaty aromas and flavors of turkey and egg croissant sandwich, spiced chestnuts, and hint of mint with a chewy, vibrant, finely carbonated, fruity medium-to-full body and a warming, very long toasted rye with peach preserves, banana cake, spiced nuts, and yams finish. A delicious, chewy, and warming wheat bock.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab
220105
Weihenstephan
Hefeweissbier
Cloudy old gold color. Aromas and flavors of roasted spice nuts, banana bread, sweet potato puree, and wheatgrass with a satiny, vibrant, finely carbonated, dry-yet-fruity medium-to-full body and a polished, layered, medium-long delicate spiced nuts, wafers, sprouts and chamomile, and minerals finish. A delightful Hefeweizen with class, flavor and style.
Date Tasted: in our Chicago tasting lab