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German Beer

Home to around a third of the world’s 15,000 different styles of beer, and with more than a thousand operational breweries, Germany is a true beer-drinking nation. In fact, beer is a key ingredient in all manner of historical festivals and celebrations, as well as daily life, and has been enshrined in German law since the 23rd April 1516, when Dukes Ludwig X and Wilhelm IV introduced the famous Reinheitsgebot, or German Beer Purity Law.

The basic ingredients can be traced back even earlier, to a time when brewers would use a half-baked loaf to start the culture for beer fermentation. This technique was perfected by Monks in the Middle Ages and was mentioned in the Grimm fairy-tale, Rumpelstiltskin. “Today I’ll bake, tomorrow I’ll brew. The next I’ll fetch the Queen’s new child”.

The Beer Purity Law laid out in no uncertain terms that beer was to be brewed from nothing more than water, hops, barley and alter (old) yeast. This 500-year-old legislation was created on the banks of the Danube, in Bavaria’s historic city of Ingolstadt. In fact, there is some evidence that the law was formed to prevent a price war between the bakers and the brewers of the day. Bread being a staple food of the time, limiting beer production to just one grain mitigated the risk of direct competition for resources. The Reinheitsgebot was so important to Bavaria that nationwide adoption of the law was one of the state’s conditions for unification with the rest of Germany in 1871. By 1906, it was national law and beer has been considered a protected “traditional food” ever since. Many of our modern beers originated in Germany. The word Lager actually hails from German - coming from the term Lagerbier, or “beer brewed for keeping”, made up of the words Lager, the German for storehouse, and Bier, the German for beer.

Ranked third in the world in terms of beer consumption per-capita (behind only the Czech Republic and Austria), Germany has a beer culture which differs from much of the world, in that the style of beer is almost more-important than the brewery itself. A German beer hall or bar will typically offer a few beers on tap, almost always produced by a single brewery. Pils, or Pilsener, dominates the market, with a share of roughly 60%. The popularity of the remaining styles tends to differ by region. For example, Cologne is well known for the hoppy Kölsch, whereas Bavarians favour styles such as Helles - a light beer with a smooth and less hoppy flavour.

The major beer styles can be broken down as follows:

Pils, Pilsener or Pilsner

Named for the city of Pilsen in the Czech Republic, Pils was first brewed in 1842. Pilsener Urquell - the world’s first blond lager beer, still produced there today - influenced lager around the world, and can rightfully be named as the basis for the vast majority of beer produced around the world. With an ABV ranging from around 4.5-5%, this immensely popular style has a light body and a dominant hoppy flavour.

Helles

A Bavarian staple, Helles, or light beer, is not really as light as the name suggests. In fact, it is the appearance that accounts for the name, as opposed to the strength. First brewed in 1894 by Munich’s Spaten brewery, with an ABV of between 4.5-6%, Helles is a full-bodied, slightly sweet beer, with a milder, less pronounced hoppy bitterness than Pilsener.

Dunkel, or Dunkles

Dunkel (dark) describes several styles of German lager, though typically is a rich, dark style made through a technique known as decoction mashing. This involves boiling a portion of the grains, then returning them to the mash. This raises the temperature during the brewing process. Styles vary from Munich’s malty, sweet variant, to a dry, hoppy style produced in Franconia. ABVs will usually range from between 4.5-6%.

Märzen

Most likely originating in 16th century Bavaria, Märzen is brewed in March (thus the name, which stems from the German, März, meaning March) and is typically cellared over the Summer months. This style is essentially a maltier, fuller version of Helles. It is also the key ingredient in Munich’s famous Oktoberfest, where the city’s six major breweries produce their brews for more than six million visitors to the festival. It is slightly stronger than Helles, with an ABV of between 5.2-6%.

Kölsch

Kölsch, the German term for the residents and products of Köln (Cologne), is a term which was first officially used for beer in 1918. Originally brewed by the Sünner brewery, this very pale, light-bodied, top-fermented beer is made mainly from Pilsener malt. Warm-fermented, then stored at cold temperatures, this style or beer is linked with many northern European brews. Protected by the Kölsch Convention, it has an ABV of between 4.4-5.2%, and is typically very clear, although the rarer Weiß (White) style is an unfiltered variant with a cloudy appearance.

Bock

A strong variety of German lager, Bock is a dark, rich, lightly hopped ale with a malty flavour. It was first brewed in the 1300s in the town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony. The style was adopted by the brewers of Munich in the 17th century, and their Bavarian accents led to them mispronouncing the name of the town as “ein Bock”, which translates as “a billy goat”. The name Bock stuck, and is used to describe this rich, bittersweet variety, with an ABV of 6.5-7%. There are various sub styles of bock, including maibock, or heller bock (May Bock or Light Bock) - a paler and more hoppy style; Doppelbock (double bock) - stronger and very malty; and Eisbock (Ice bock) - a very strong style made by part-freezing the beer and removing the ice which forms.

Schwarzbier

Schwarzbier (black beer) is a very dark style of lager, with an almost-opaque appearance. Not dissimilar to stout, Schwarzbier is made from heavily roasted malt, which accounts for both the colour, and the chocolate-like, coffee-rich, malty flavour. Historically linked to the regions of Thuringia and Saxony and made through a process of bottom-fermentation, these roasty, rich brews have an ABV of 4.1-5%.

Weizen, Hefewezien, or Weißbier

Known as Weißbier (white beer) in Bavaria, and Weizen or Hefeweizen (wheat or yeast wheat) fairly universally, this filling style of beer is made by replacing a large proportion of the malted barley with malted wheat. According to the Reinheitsgebot, German wheat beer must be brewed through a process of top-fermentation. With a very mild hop flavour and traditionally from Bavaria, ABVs can range from 4.5% all the way up to 8% and more. Dunkel weizen (dark wheat beer) is a variety of wheat beer made with roasted malt, and offering up a richer, more roasted flavour.

Altbier

Brewed only in the Lower Rhine and in Düsseldorf, Altbier (old beer) is a top-fermented lager beer which hails from Westphalia. A few breweries remain there to this day, and there are around ten breweries in the Düsseldorf region still producing Altbier. This bitter, hoppy style is notable for its warm copper hue, and a fruity, crisp flavour. Typically, Altbier will have ab ABV of between 5-6.5%

Hofbräu Original Gift Pack with Stein

200cl, 5.1%
Hofbräu München

Brilliant Bavarian beer, with a stein to match. This gift pack from Hofbräu München contains four 50cl bottles of their Hofbräu Original lager alongside a branded stein to enjoy said beer from!  More info

Hofbräu Original Gift Pack with Stein
$18.82

Hacker-Pschorr Weisse

50cl, 5.5%
Hacker-Pschorr

A traditional wheat beer from Hacker-Pschorr, one of the six breweries that supply beer for Munich's Oktoberfest celebrations. A simple but stunning beer from the German brewers.  More info

Hacker-Pschorr Weisse
$2.62

Paulaner Münchner Dunkel

50cl, 5%
Paulaner Brauerei

A traditional style of lager from Paulaner Brauerei, made with a higher percentage of roasted malts then their classic Münchner Hell. This was more popular than their Hell throughout the 19th…  More info

Paulaner Münchner Dunkel
$2.20

Erdinger Pikantus

50cl, 7.3%
Erdinger

The strongest expression of Erdinger's offering, this dark wheat beer is bottled at a generous 7.3%, and makes for a classic Bavarian aperitif.  More info

Erdinger Pikantus
$3.66

Erdinger Dunkel

50cl, 5.3%
Erdinger

This dark wheat beer was first created by Erdinger's master brewers as a birthday present for the owner in 1989. As ways to kiss up to the boss go, that's pretty awesome. It was so popular that it…  More info

Erdinger Dunkel
$2.95

Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417

50cl, 5.5%
Hacker-Pschorr

Hacker-Pschorr's Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417 harks back to the old days of Bavarian brewing, and as such, this flavoursome lager is bottled without filtration. Hacker-Pschorr is one of the six…  More info

Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Kellerbier Anno 1417
$3.53

Paulaner Münchner Hell

50cl, 4.9%
Paulaner Brauerei

This is a classic Munich lager from Paulaner Brauerei, who have been brewing in the German city since the 1600s. They're even one of the six breweries which supply beer to the Munich Oktoberfest…  More info

Paulaner Münchner Hell
1
$2.30

Flensburger Pilsener

33cl, 4.8%
Flensburger

Traditionally packaged north German Pilsener from Flensburger, one of the few remaining independent breweries in Germany. We reckon this'll be perfect for sunny afternoons in the garden. Or evenings,…  More info

Flensburger Pilsener
$2.17

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Naturtrüb

50cl, 5.5%
Paulaner Brauerei

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Naturtrüb is one of Germany's most popular wheat beers. The brewery was established back in the 1600s and resides in the beautiful city of Munich.  More info

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Naturtrüb
4
$2.30

Früh Kölsch

50cl, 4.8%
Fruh

A refreshing, clear and unpasteurised ale with a style distinctive to Cologne, 'Kölsch', which is protected by law. Früh are regarded as one of the finest brewers of Kölsch, so this is a good place…  More info

Früh Kölsch
$3.11

Erdinger Kristall

50cl, 5.3%
Erdinger

Intensely filtered wheat beer from Bavarian specialists Erdinger, with extra sparkling and carbonic acid for a wonderfully refreshing, crystal clear wheat beer.  More info

Erdinger Kristall
$2.95

Flensburger Gold

33cl, 4.8%
Flensburger

Flensburger is the world's biggest user of flip top bottles (every day is a school day, as they say), and they use them to house the tasty beer that comes from Germany's most northerly brewery.  More info

Flensburger Gold
$2.25

Erdinger Urweisse

50cl, 4.9%
Erdinger

Dating back to the founding days of the Erdinger brewery in 1886, Urweisse is a classic Bavarian wheat beer - top fermented and generously hopped for a full bodied, distinctive style.  More info

Erdinger Urweisse
$2.88

Berliner Pilsner

33cl, 5%
Berliner Pilsner

A long-running German Pilsner from Berlin, featuring a bear on the label as a reference to berlin's coat of arms. Refreshing stuff.  More info

Berliner Pilsner
$1.91

Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbíer

50cl, 4.3%
Brauerei Heller Bamberg

Classic Helles lager from the folk at Brauerei Heller Bamberg, fermented with the same yeast which is used to produce their legendary smoked beer. The result is a delicious twist on the traditional…  More info

Helles Schlenkerla Lagerbíer
$2.75

Paulaner Salvator

33cl, 7.9%
Paulaner Brauerei

The strongest beer from Paulaner Brauerei - Salvator! A big-bodied, bottom-fermented German doppelbock, brewed by Paulaner for over 350 years. They use Herkules, Taurus and Hallertauer Tradition hops…  More info

Paulaner Salvator
3
$2.08

Bitburger Pils

33cl, 4.8%
Bitburger

Bitburger is a brewery steeped in history; founded in 1817 and still family owned, they were the first to produce a Pilsener style beer outside of its traditional home of Bohemia, and have gone on to…  More info

Bitburger Pils
1
$1.95

Paulaner Münchner Hell 33cl

33cl, 4.9%
Paulaner Brauerei

This little guy is the handy-sized companion to the classic Munich lager from Paulaner Brauerei, the 500ml Paulaner Münchner Hell, also stocked at MoM towers (because we're awesome).  More info

Paulaner Münchner Hell 33cl
$2.12

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel

50cl, 5.3%
Paulaner Brauerei

For their Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel, Paulaner Brauerei used a high percentage of dark Munich malts, resulting in a deep bronze hue. If you like your wheat beers but want a bit of a change from the classic…  More info

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier Dunkel
$2.25

Erdinger Weiss

50cl, 5.3%
Erdinger

An all time classic wheat beer - one that's enjoyed by beer lovers all over the world. A top fermented beer matured in the bottle (as they do for Champagne), this is a Bavarian speciality.  More info

Erdinger Weiss
$2.95

Brewbarrel IPA Kit

Brewbarrel

An IPA homebrew kit from Brewbarrel, featuring all you'll need to put together your very own IPA - you know, like what all those craft distillers are big on. This kit includes... 1 x 750g bottle…  More info

Brewbarrel IPA Kit
$36.00

Schneider Weisse Original

50cl, 5.4%
Schneider Weisse

Founded by Georg Schneider in 1872, the Bavarian brewing company is still in the hands of his descendants, producing classic wheat beer.  More info

Schneider Weisse Original
$3.21

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

50cl, 5.1%
Brauerei Heller Bamberg

Schlenkerla's classic Rauchbier or 'smoked beer' from Bamberg. The beer takes its name from 'schlenkern', which is an old Frankish term for somebody who can't walk straight!  More info

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen

50cl, 5.2%
Brauerei Heller Bamberg

A German wheat Rauchbier, or smoked beer if you will. It's made using the Schlenkerla smokemalt and unsmoked wheat.  More info

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Weizen
$3.16

Brewbarrel Lager Kit

Brewbarrel

Fancy brewing some tasty, creamy lager? Pick up a Brewbarrel Lager Kit, containing everything you'll need to brew up your very own lager beer! You'll have to supply your own stein. This kit…  More info

Brewbarrel Lager Kit
$30.43

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