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The Many Beers of Germany

Beers of Germany


German Beer Imports

German Beer Imports

Jennifer McGavin
  • “Water is for washing!” (Wasser ist zum waschen da!)
  • “Beer is liquid bread!” (Bier ist flüssiges Brot)
  • “Beer is food!” (Bier ist Nahrung) Old German beer sayings

Germany may be most famous for its beers, which were used to pay workers in earlier times (the daily ration being one Maβ, about a liter). Due to the German Purity Law of 1641, German beer can only contain four ingredients: water; malt; hops; and yeast. While this sounds plain, the variety of yeast and bacteria used to brew each type of beer actually contributes to various complex aromas and tastes in the beer.

German beer is sold in six-packs (11.2 oz. or 333ml) or 500ml bottles. A few come in cans. Green glass is used only for export, as it is considered inferior to brown glass. In Germany, beer is sold in 20 packs, or cartons, which are plastic. Beer bottles and cartons have a deposit on them.

In Germany, you would keep the beer stored in the cellar and take a basket down there before dinner to pick up the bottles you need and return the empty ones, ready to take back to the “Bottle Store." Some baskets come with four or six partitions to keep the bottles upright.

Beer is drunk a little warmer in Germany than in the US, but few people use a “beer warmer” in their glass anymore, like they did before 1950. In the summer, a cold beer is just as revered in Germany as in America.

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