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

Wernesgrüner Brauerei Pils Legende
92 points
Best Buy
A light and refreshing beer with nutty and malty tones on the finish.
92 points $5.99 Best Buy
Hofbrau Munchen Oktoberfestbier
88 points
A restrained Marzen with citrusy high notes.
Hofbrau Munchen Session Reduced Calorie Lager
88 points
The crisp and balanced, easy-drinking light lager that quenches.
Wernesgrüner Brauerei Pils
88 points
A rock-solid pilsner with balanced bitterness and a lively, elegant style.
Hofbrau Munchen Dunkel Lager
87 points
A roasty, easy-drinking lager that's a great cool-weather go-to.