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ALCOHOL NOT FOR SALE TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18
ALCOHOL NOT FOR SALE TO PERSONS UNDER THE AGE OF 18
German Beer Guide - Mothercity Liquor

German Beer Guide

Germans are well known for making great beer. The words quality and tradition immediately spring to mind when thinking about German beers. There are over 1300 breweries and over 5000 brands in Germany with most breweries located in Bavaria which also houses the world famous Oktoberfest celebrations. 

If you’ve heard about German beer, you might have heard about “Reinheitsgebot” or the purity decree issued in 1516, in the town of Ingolstadt, by the Bavarian Duke Wilhem IV. The decree had three objectives:

  1. Protect drinkers from high prices. 
  2. Ban the use of wheat in beer so more bread could be made (critics argue that this decree was more of a bread protection law than a beer one). 
  3. Stop brewers from adding preservatives or flavourings to beer that are usually found in non-German beer. 

Beer could only be made from three ingredients: water, barley and hops. Yeast and its role in alcoholic fermentation was only discovered much later. With only three ingredients permitted. It limited the types of beer that could be brewed and sold. 

Many German brewers still abide by the Reinheitsgebot. Critics often point out that the law focuses on the purity of the beer and doesn’t necessarily guarantee good quality or a great tasting brew. Due to the decree, Weizenbier and most dark beers are technically in violation of the code. These days the law states that malted grains, hops, water and yeast may be used. Nothing else. 

There are different types of German beers/styles. They often originate from a specific region. Let’s have a look at some of the more well known styles. 

Pils

Typically between 4.5% and 5.0% ABV, Pils is the most common beer found in most parts of Germany. Pils, short for Pilsner or Pilsener, comes from the city of Pilsen. Traditionally served in a tall, narrow glass, which allows a large frothy head to form. The beer is pale to the eye and has a slightly bitter taste. 

 

 

Stangen Pils Bier: The deer stands for the beer range Stangen.  A puristic and simple design with a strong message: Made in Germany and brewed according to the German brewing tradition. No unnecessary flavours or ingredients, no nonsense.

The return of the Pils for Stangen. A classic beer type in a new design and a dark, forest-green can.

4.7% ABV

Memminger Premium Pilsner: Memminger Brauerei is counted among the most important breweries of the region and is considered to be one of the 100 largest in Germany.

A distinct fragrance of hops, creamy foam, delicately bitter. These are the Pils brand features that have made it the most popular beer in Germany.

5.1% ABV

Bitburger Premium Pils: A straw-coloured pilsner which is crystal-clear and perfectly hopped, boasting a light taste and a lasting foam head with extra-fine bubbles. This all combines for a moment of pure pilsner enjoyment.

4.8% ABV

Setzlinger Original Bavarian Pilsner: Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law from 1516: Water. Hops. Barley.

The perfect brewing water! The water is one of the important factors when it comes to an outstanding taste. Just like the special yeast that is well cultivated by the Denninghoff's Brewery. The excellent hops in this beer come exclusively from the world famous Hallertau region in Bavaria. It is the largest hop area in the world. The barley is the best 2-row barley as well!

4.9% ABV

Helles aka Munich Helles

Helles translates to “light” or “pale”. Usually a little stronger than Pils, Helles typically has an ABV of 5.0% to 5.5%. Hailing from Bavaria and Southern Germany (particularly Munich), Helles is a clear, light-coloured and well bodied lager. You can expect a very easy-drinking smooth beer. Served in a wide glass with a smaller head, the beer is full-bodied, lightly sweet and has a low bitterness. 

And Union Saturday: An old school lager. Unfiltered and bursting with flavour. This hazy, pale straw coloured beer has aromas of fresh hay and lemon rind. Expect flavours of malty citrus and brioche with a biscuity smooth finish.

5% ABV

Benediktiner Hell: A full-bodied Helles with a fine effervescence and an intense flavour, Crystal clear, brilliant gold-yellow with white foam - light and fine in structure.

5% ABV

Dunkel aka Dunkelbier

Created using fewer hops than other types of beer, Dunkels have a longer fermentation process. Hailing from the same region as Helles, Dunkels are very similar as they’re a darker lager with an ABV of 5.0% to 5.5%. To appreciate the full, maltier flavour, serve this beer at room temperature. 

Paulaner Weissbier Dunkel: The unusually high content of the finest Munich malt turns this dark version of wheat beer into an intensive taste experience: Light chocolate, cocoa, and tropical fruit flavors impress first. Then wheat, malt, and sparkling roast aroma. Weissbier Dunkel is a muscular beer. Unfiltered, strong, and nutty. At the same time, smooth and soft to the taste. A great accompaniment for any meal. And it even wins over many true wine fans.

5.3% ABV

Hofbrau Dunkel: Bavarian tradition, the archetype of the Munich beer, you can taste its history – this is Hofbräu Dunkel. Long before wheat beers and lagers wetted the throats of Germans, the bottom-fermented dark beer was quenching the thirst of Munich residents. The first beer, which was served in the "Braune Hofbräuhaus", still satisfies to this day with its roasted, hoppy taste and the subtle malty finish.

5.5% ABV

Erdinger Dunkel: Carefully selected dark malts with delicate roasting aromas give Erdinger Dunkel its full-bodied flavor and strong character.

This elegant wheat beer has a lustrous, deep dark-brown appearance in the glass. The first sip reveals a harmonious symphony of carefully selected wheat and barley malts with exquisite Hallertau aroma hops.

The taste buds detect hints of caramel, nuts and fresh bread. An unmistakable top-fermenting accent is provided by Erdingers traditional yeast.

5.3% ABV

Hefewizen aka Weißbier/Weissbier

Native to the Bavarian region, it’s brewed with 50% wheat/ 50% barley. Served typically in a tall glass that is narrower at the bottom compared to the top, thus creating a distinctive head. The beer is unfiltered and as a result, is cloudy to the eye. The beer is lightly hopped and has a distinct fruity flavour. You can expect an ABV of 4.5% to 5.0% with a high gas factor which makes it the perfect summer beer. 

You might come across a Hefeweizen Dunkel. It’s closely related to the standard Hefeweizen, it’s just the darker variation. Equally as sweet but double the darkness.

Apostel Weissbier Hell: Apostel's naturally cloudy Weissbier impresses with its delicate carnation aroma and its particularly tangy taste. Regional German malts ensure the richness and a wonderful amber appearance. The brewery is particularly proud of the brewed ale yeast, which gives a very pleasant and unique identity to the Weissbier. It has been awarded gold several times by the German Food Society (DLG) and is the perfect refreshment, which is why it enjoys great popularity especially in summer. Unfiltered, top-fermented and brewed according to the German purity law.

5.3% ABV

Paulaner Weiss Beer: The No. 1 Weissbier in Germany and one of the world’s favourites. Naturally cloudy and shining silky-gold in the glass under a really strong head of foam. At the first mouthful this weissbier classic has a mild aroma of banana. Finer palates detect a trace of mango and pineapple and the balance between sweet and bitter. Beer connoisseurs appreciate the fine note of yeast and the mild but sparkling mix of aromas. It is a typical beer garden beer, which brings people together all over the world.

5.5% ABV

Kölsch

Kölsch has an ABV of 5%. The name is a play on the city’s name from which it originates: Kölnor, or Cologne for us English speakers. If you aren't a bitter beer lover this would be a great beer to try. It’s easy-drinking, light bodied and very crisp in taste. It’s the combination of the crispness of Pils and smoothness of Helles. Kölsch is served in a small straight 200ml glass to preserve the crispness and freshness of the beer. 

 

Kölsch Draught by Shackleton: Did you know the German word for ‘Shit that’s good!’ is…’Kölsch’? Okay, that’s not really true, but it should be. Shackletons famous Kölsch is their top-selling craft draught, and for good reason. Or should we say, reasons.

It’s light, crisp, clean, easy-drinking, and lager-like. It is brewed in a similar fashion to the authentic method from Cologne, Germany but done the Shackleton way.

When you crack open your fresh Kölsch and have your first sip, don’t be alarmed if you hear yourself mutter…’Scheisse, das ist gut!’.

4.3% ABV

Schwarzbier

Originating from Eastern Germany, the Schwarzbier has an alcohol content between 4.5% and 5.0%. Black in colour, with a similar flavour to a stout or a porter, Schwarzbier is strictly defined as a lager. Perfect for a cold winter's day, sip a Schwarzbier slowly.

Hofbrau Schwarze Weisse: Hofbrau Schwarze Weisse is the right choice for those who prefer a wheat beer with a mild yeasty and malty flavour. This dark variation on the Hofbrau Hefe Weizen offers a deliciously mild foam and a perfect winter dinner accompaniment.

5.1% ABV

Setzlinger Original Bavarian Schwarzbier: Brewed according to the Bavarian Purity Law from 1516: Water. Hops. Barley.

The perfect brewing water! The water is one of the important factors when it comes to an outstanding taste. Just like the special yeast that is well cultivated by the Denninghoff's Brewery. The excellent hops in this beer come exclusively from the world famous Hallertau region in Bavaria. It is the largest hop area in the world. The barley is the best 2-row barley as well!

This is an Original Bavarian Black Beer!

4.9% ABV

Stangen Schwarz Bier: The deer stands for the beer range Stangen.  A puristic and simple design with a strong message: Made in Germany and brewed according to the German brewing tradition. No unnecessary flavours or ingredients, no nonsense.

Stangen Schwarz Bier is a Full-bodied, bottom-fermented, dark coloured beer.

4.9% ABV

Bock

Definitely the beer with the highest alcohol content out of all the German types. You can expect an ABV of 6.0% to 7.0%. Usually prefixed with Winter- or Mai (May) to indicate the time of year it is brewed. Bock is typically dark brown in colour with a toasted malty taste. 

Hofbrau Maibock: It was a long, long time ago, that the Hofbräu Maibock was brewed for the first time: In 1614 the bottom-fermented beer specialty filled beer steins for the first time. Even today, Munich's oldest bock beer is still as popular as ever with its full-bodied, malty flavor. The relatively high alcohol content of 7.2% Vol. doesn’t do things half-way – and satisfies, especially honest beer connoisseurs.

Erdinger Pikantus: ERDINGER Pikantus is already a legend during the “strong beer season”. But with its complex symphony of aromas, it also stimulates the taste buds making it a perfect aperitif.

With an ABV of 7.3% and an original wort of 16.7°P, this bock beer is Erdinger Weißbräu’s strongest contender.

For a true Bavarian aperitif, divide a bottle of Erdinger Pikantus between two connoisseur glasses. With its dark color and smooth creamy head, Pikantus is already a feast for the eyes. The flavor that develops on the palate is well-rounded and malty with a hint of nutmeg and fine nougat. The sparkling nature of Erdinger Pikantus harmonizes perfectly with its slightly sweet character, as well as its soft and delicate finish.

Fun fact that I learnt about beer gardens or as the German’s would say: Biergarten. When dunkels/dark beers were invented, another law was passed. The beers could only be brewed during certain months and had to be kept in cellars underground. In order for brewers to keep the beers cold, they planted trees to shade the cellars. The brewers ended up putting benches under the trees where customers would sit and enjoy their beers. This was the start of the traditional biergarten. 

As you can see, there’s a lot more to try than the commercial beers we’re mostly accustomed to. We have an ever growing German beer collection and are constantly on the lookout for more. We have a tasting box that we update on a monthly basis that you can try too.

You can see our entire range of German beers here

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