Germany is a popular travel destination for many reasons, but for beer lovers it is the holy land. To visit without sampling some of the country’s finest brews would be a shame, but navigating the multitude of tasty options on the spur of the moment can also be daunting. So here is a brief beginner’s guide to take you through the world of hops, malt and beverages with serious names such as Doppelbock and Hefeweißbier!
1. Pale Beer
With its crisp light flavour, it is no wonder that it was the Pilsner that took the world by storm back when German beer only had a native following. Although this beverage is one of the hardest beers to make, its flavour epitomises all that is typical of quality German craftsmanship. Give one of these a try and you simply cannot go wrong:
- Weihenstephaner Pils – this historic beverage is crafted by the world’s oldest brewery.
- Ayinger Märzen – with its smooth caramel flavour and crisp finish, this one is a real winner.
- Altbier – this Westphalian beer is said to be ‘light and full of character’, which is easily translates to ‘delicious’!
2. Dark Beer
This one is strikingly identifiable, and not just because of its dark colour. The grandfather of German brews hearkens from austere origins, when monks would brew them for sustenance during Lenten fasting. Consequently, as you can imagine, it is a meal in a glass and one that can leave you with a mighty sore head the next day if it’s not sipped and savoured slowly.
- Augustiner-Brau Dunkel – this one pairs beautifully with a traditional roasted ham hock.
- Schwarzbier – the lager drinkers’ choice amongst the more ‘serious’ beers.
- Bock – exercise caution with this decadently tempting tipple that may have an alcohol volume as high as 11%!
3. Wheat Beers
Unsurprisingly, German wheat beers are all about the yeast. Served in that iconic vertigo-inducing tall glass, Hefeweizen is produced by an unusual strain of yeast that results in powerful clove and banana-like aromatics. Be sure to reach for the heady heights of:
- Weihenstephaner Hefeweißbier – a yeasty hazy glass of German delight.
- Bayerischer Bahnhof – as the darling of the craft beer world, this beverage is tart and refreshingly brilliant on a warm summer day.
A holiday in Germany can be full of anything from mountain ranges to lush green meadows or even the cosmopolitan energy found in trendy city hotspots. But regardless of which side of Germany you chose to embrace, there is sure to be a beer that goes with it. The amiably jovial atmosphere found in any self-respecting local beer hall inspires camaraderie, revelry and possibly a lapse in your ability to keep track of just how many you’ve had! So enjoy the sights, scenes and flavours of Germany at its best, and remember that quality such as this should never be gulped