Wheres all the beer?

Currently, I’m struggling. The struggle is not with adapting socially, culturally, homesickness, or language. It is none of the things you would assume to be typical issues that occur when moving to a new place. I’ve made great friends, am learning Deutsch with surprising ease, and am picking up on social nuisances … yeah you get it. My greatest dilemma may in fact be the last thing you would assume to be a problem when moving to Germany, of all places. The beer. THE BEER.

I mean, yes, the beer is good. In fact, 90% of German beer is probably still heaps better than your best macro-brewed American beer. But the variety is lacking. There are some small craft brewers popping up around the country, producing some new styles and great plays on traditional styles. A few of the most impressive breweries I’ve encountered in my short time are Kehrweider Kreativbrauerei and Riegele . Both breweries create beers that are more reminiscent of the “American styles” with their higher IBUs and pungent aromas. Riegele, out of Augsburg, has been a benchmark brewery here for me and most beers I’ve tried have been consistently delicious and unique. Some were a little too fruity/sweet and strong for my likings, but it satisfied a desperate need of diversity for my taste buds. I have only been able to get my hands on the Kehrweider Mosaic SHIPA which was really nice, having citrus, melon, mango and peach notes with a slightly sweet malt character and amber/orange color. Lekker. I have yet to find a really luxurious Stout or Porter. You should see the look on people’s faces when you mention chocolate, coffee and beer in the same sentence.

So, ah, the controversy here really lies in the basic question of “What is beer?”. For Germany, beer  includes hops, barley, yeast and water. That is all. The Reinheitsgebot says so, buzzkill right? Other countries like Belgium, Czech Republic, the USA, etc. all say otherwise. While preserving traditional brewing methods is important, loosening up the restrictions juuuust a bit could create again an excitement for beer and it’s “hipness” amongst the younger generations of the German population. An for selfish reasons, fulfill my own void. After all, the consumption of beer (while still ridiculously high) has actually decreased in the past eight years because consumers are switching to wine/liquor. What is the reason for this? These beverages are seen as more complex and offering a wider variety of flavor. Hmmm…. maybe adding a couple more hops to the beer could spice it up for these nay-sayers?

My observation is by no means a slam of traditional German styles of beer. Weizen (Wheat), Pils, and Helles beers are the most popular year round, with seasonal offerings like Oktoberfest and Bock bier. I gladly drink these styles and try and decide on a favorite, although I would say that the German people have a better palate for distinguishing amongst these traditional styles when it comes to deciding the best amongst the local brewery offerings. It’s what they have been drinking for ages. The subtleties are more obvious to them than to me. Sure, there is a difference between one Helles and another…. but its small enough for me to think “so what?” Alas, I have a palate corrupted by Cascade, Centennial. and Columbus so there is no going back. The heart wants what the heart wants.

And so I soldier on in search of umm… beer. In Germany.




2 Comments Add yours

  1. Luke says:

    You should start home brewing in Ulm 🙂


    1. calogan0303 says:

      Big dreams, one day… somewhere!


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