Few traditions color the world's perception of Germany more than the brewing and drinking of beer. And with 1,300 active breweries, beer is still an important part of German culture. German beer is, however, far more than the blond pilsners for which it's known the world over.
Germany offers a rich and diverse beer landscape, with local specialties that challenge and delight the palette. From salty Leipziger Gose, to smoky Rauchbier from Bamberg, to the tart urban tonic of Berliner Weiße to the powerhouse dinner in a bottle of Bavarian Bock, Germany offers a beer for every taste.
Although it existed in some form before, the biergarten was officially born under a decree of Bavarian King Maximilian I in 1812. For the last 200 years, Germans have been seeking the shade of the chestnut tree, the aroma of grilled fish, ham hock and fresh pretzels, plus the unadorned perfection of an outside beer in summertime.
Does Altbier translate as “old beer?” And is Kölsch simply the dialect of the Cologne metropolitan region? Although these assumptions seem feasible, Altbier is not an aged beer and Kölsch is much more than just a regional dialect.
Beers of the Rhineland
What nuns and monks have boiled, baked, mixed, brewed and distilled – that's what less pious people on the other side of the thick monastery walls also enjoy. Beer is still the money-maker among the consumable products of German monasteries.
The tradition of brewing beer in Germany is almost 500 years old, and the regional diversity of Germany’s popular brew is phenomenal. Connoisseurs admire the color spectrum ranges, the aroma, and the bouquet. But is Germany really a beer-drinking nation?
Germany & Beer