O'zapft is! Oktoberfest season is upon us, and German beer favorites are back. Whether you drink these timeless brews in the fall or all year round it’s no surprise that they’re a favorite amongst beer consumers. With so many different styles, you’re bound to find one that you like! In fact, approximately 7 million liters of beer are consumed during Oktoberfest alone. However, there’s more to love about German beer than just the taste. These classics are overflowing with history! So, grab a stein and sit back, you might learn a thing or two about your favorite bee
While Germans did not invent beer, there are several varieties that were created in Germany. Beer itself originates from the Middle East and is over 13,000 years old while German’s brewing history dates to over 1,000 years. Babylonians and Egyptians were the first to discover the art and it was later passed to the Romans, who weren’t exactly big fans of the drink and considered it to be a drink for barbarians. However, ancient Germans had high regard for beer and thought it to be a sacrifice to the gods. That’s where Germany’s beer history begins, in 12th century Bohemia. The Weissbier style caught on quickly and the wheat beer brewing process was soon monopolized by the Degenberg family for 80 years before passing it off to the Wittelsbach family, who truly monopolized it. The Weissbier style was to be served at every Bavarian inn for 200 years.
It wasn’t until 1798 that Weissbier could be sold to other monasteries and private breweries, like Weihenstephan, the oldest brewery in Germany. In fact, they still produce beer today!
Origination of German Beer Types
After years of Weissbier being on top in Bavaria, lager brewing came on the scene after the German Purity Laws, Reineitsgebot, regulated the production of beer to only Barley, Hops and Water (yeast was later added). This resulted in classic lager styles like the Märzen, Helles, Rauchbier, Kellerbier, Dunkel, Schwarzbier, and Bock. Although these regulations are not as strict in modern day Germany, this “pure” badge of honor is still a selling point for authentic German-made beer.
German Beer Styles
Now that you know some of the rich history behind German-crafted beer, let’s take a look at some of the styles!