The Germans’ favourite alcoholic beverage? That can only be beer. Statistically speaking, every German drank 95 litres of beer in 2020. Around 5,000 different types of beer now provide plenty of variety. They are produced in around 1,300 breweries in Destination Germany, more than half of them in the southern German state of Bavaria. This diversity is unique in the world.
However, the Germans did not invent their favourite drink, even if that is just too fitting. As one of the oldest alcohol-based beverages, beer’s many stages of development go back to early times. But today’s beer production has been perfected in Germany. For over 500 years, the German Purity Law has ensured clearly regulated ingredients: Water, malt, hops, yeast – and nothing else.
Anything else is not beer. After all, the so-called “Purity Law” is not to be trifled with. It is far more than a pure promise of quality. It is, in fact, the oldest consumer protection law in the world, dating back to 1516. Before that, beer served as a healthy substitute for water, which was usually contaminated. At that time, the beer was fortified with all kinds of questionable ingredients. This practice ended the introduction of the Purity Law. The ingredient “yeast” was added a little later. One thing is certain: German brewers still adhere to the Purity Law today. Not for nothing is it recognised worldwide as a seal of quality.
Clear ingredients and at the same time diverse regional beer varieties. You could almost think that every region has its own preference when it comes to the “taste of beer”. As the most widely drunk beer, the “Pils” is now represented everywhere in Germany, even though the original recipe goes back to the Czech city of Pilsen. Refreshing and light in colour with a strong hint of hops, it is brewed inexpensively and in a very short time. Experts refer to it as a “bottom-fermented full beer”. Its antagonist is the “top-fermented Altbier, which is very popular in western Germany and easily recognisable thanks to its dark malt colour. What would Düsseldorf be without its Altbier… Bavarians like it a bit fruitier with the traditional “Weizenbier”, served in stylish long glasses – preferably in the Bavarian beer garden. There are countless varieties that Germans enjoy as cool refreshment in summer, as a drink at the end of the day or just for fun. And rightly so, because it tastes delicious.
The love of beer is even reflected in the language. Germans like to talk verbatimly about “something brewing”. They mean a storm is coming or, in a figurative sense, the fact that trouble or a quarrel is in the air. And when every effort is in vain, one often hears the exclamation: ” Hops and malt are lost”, meaning it’s hopeless”. Countless other idioms make for a lively German language.
So, before “something is brewing”, first drink a beer together and discover more idioms of the German language.