What you should know about beer types

Germans usually drink Pils. We say: boring! Try something new. With our beer ABC we will guide you to new taste experiences from ale to gusset beer.

Germany is considered a beer country. But it would be wrong to deduce from this a joy of variety. Although there are hundreds of different types of beer in Germany, the German favourite beer is usually called Pils. So that barley juice lovers don’t miss out on the best of the beer world, we have put together the ABC of beer varieties to inspire them to make their next purchase. See also Spiegel News about Beer.

In Great Britain, ale is virtually synonymous with “beer”. In keeping with English cuisine, the top-fermented and mostly amber-coloured brewed product usually has a “bitter” taste – but it can also easily slide off into the sweet or sour. It is available as Mild Ale, Dry Pale Ale, Brown Ale, Light Ale and Long Matured Stock Ale. Heather ale from Scotland is flavoured with heather.

At the longest bar in the world, of course, only one beer is served: Alt. The mostly dark to bronze-coloured and slightly sour beer is drunk mainly in the Lower Rhine region, around Düsseldorf, Krefeld and Mönchengladbach. Although it has certain similarities to Bitter Ale, the name has nothing to do with British brewing: “Alt” merely refers to the production according to the traditional top-fermented brewing method.

They are the seasonal forces among the beers and are usually only available at certain times: the bock beers. But whether it is Festbock, Maibock or Eisbock – what the malty, reddish-dark strong beers have in common is a proportion of over 16 percent in the original wort, which is usually reflected in an alcohol content of over 6 percent. The name and origin of the Bock beers go back to the town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony.

Berlin white beer
This beer is a trademark – and one registered by the Berlin Brewers’ Association. Only draught beers that undergo fermentation with lactic acid bacteria and are actually brewed in the German capital may call themselves Berliner Weiße. The alcohol content rarely exceeds 2.8 percent. By the way, one of the favourite beers you drink at Casino Online Suisse Games. Because it is so bitter, the Weiße is often offered with a shot of raspberry or woodruff syrup.

Dark beer
That dark beer is so dark is due to the malt, which is roasted at unusually high temperatures of over 100 degrees. With the light malts it is 20 degrees less. Even if the “light” has long since outstripped them, dark beers are particularly common in Bavaria, which is why the spicy brew with a hoppy, dry finish is often referred to as the “Munich” or “Bavarian style”.

Industry insiders say that Eisbier is particularly popular with women and younger beer drinkers because of its particularly mild and smooth taste. The bottom-fermented brew originally comes from North America, but has also been produced by German breweries for several years. However, the technical complexity of the brewing process is high: the young beer is stored at low temperatures, resulting in the formation of ice crystals that bind the bitter substances. Does it need to be mentioned that Eisbier is best drunk very cold?

Strong in taste, the alcohol content usually higher than that of Pils – this makes export beers particularly popular. They owe their name to the fact that these beers had a longer shelf life due to the bottom-fermented brewing method and could therefore be transported across city and national borders. The most famous variety, Dortmund’s export, was for a long time the undisputed beer of the working class at the coal and steel locations of the Ruhr area.

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In Bavaria, light beer is virtually a staple food, and light golden yellow and malty-sweet beer is a natural part of most meals. As a bottom-fermented full-bodied beer, there is hardly any difference to light export or lager. The light beer has a long tradition in the Alpine foothills: there, there has always been enough natural ice during the long winter to guarantee the low temperatures needed for brewing.

Honey beer
The analysis of her drinking horns has confirmed Even the ancient Teutons added honey to their brew, similar to their mead. In the Middle Ages, honey was also used as a beer seasoning by the people and ensured that the drink had a longer shelf life. Today, honey beer is sold under names such as Odin-Trunk, Wells-Waggle or Ambrosius-Bräu.

As so often, the name says it all: Lager is a bottom-fermented beer that only becomes tasty through storage. In Bavaria it was originally only allowed to be brewed in the winter months so that the beer could be stored on natural ice. Lager beers are a German invention and are still widely used today, especially in southern Germany and Austria. In German, however, the name has become rare – light lager beers are usually simply called Helles or Kellerbier.

Malt beer
The malt beer is actually not a beer at all – at least according to a ruling of the Federal Court of Justice in 1958, which found the addition of sugar in the “Malztrunk” annoying. In fact, unlike in the normal brewing process, the yeast is added at temperatures around freezing point, so that practically no alcohol is produced – the addition of sugar then serves as a flavouring. The actual malt beer was invented in 1920 in Weihenstephan, Bavaria.

It is the Germans’ favourite beer: the Pils, named after the Bohemian city of Pilsen, where the pale beer with the extra portion of hops was invented in 1842 by the Bavarian master brewer Josef Groll. However, its popularity in this country is now crumbling dramatically: the share of Pils in the German beer market has fallen from over 70 per cent to just 55 per cent in recent years.

Smoked beer
It is said that the shed of a poor brewer once burned down, causing smoke to flow through the malt stored in it. The man brewed with it anyway and his customer liked the swill so much that a new type of beer was created. So the legend says. In fact, Rauchbier was a store of malt that was smoked over a beech wood fire. In Germany Bamberg is the stronghold of this speciality.

Red Beer
Nowadays it has become rare – but red beer was already brewed in the Middle Ages. The fruity and sour drink has its origins in West Flanders and gets its typical reddish colour from fermentation in wooden barrels. Sometimes, however, also by adding fruit or fruit juice. Red beer is usually only prepared by small breweries. One of the most famous representatives is the Irish Red Beer from the Murphy’s brewery.

Black beer
When people in Germany think of black beer, they think of Bad Köstritz in Thuringia – because although the darkest German beer only had a niche existence in the GDR, it became a bestseller after reunification. The beer gets its black colour from the use of dark brewing salt and its taste is reminiscent of semi-bitter chocolate.

Strong beer
All strong beers have one thing in common: an original wort content of more than 16 percent – and thus an alcohol content of 6.5 percent or more. Strong beers include the various Bock beers, Porte or the Irish Guinness.

It is considered the younger brother of the British porter: Stout, which translates as “plump” or “stocky”. In fact, the dark, hop-fermented beer is often very rustic. There is Imperial Stout (with a higher alcohol content), the Sweet Stout with added sugar or the Black Chocolate Stout, whose taste experts compare to Sachertorte. The Dry Stout became popular mainly through the Irish Guinness. Common to all Stout beers is the firm, creamy foam.

They are booming on the German beer market: wheat or wheat beers. Fresh, mild beers are hardly ever brewed in northern Germany – but almost every one of the more than 600 Bavarian breweries has at least one wheat beer in its range. They are available as Hefeweizen, Dunkelweizen, Steinweizen or Weizenbock – some of them get their naturally cloudy colour from the natural suspended matter in the yeast.

Pickle Beer
This pale, naturally cloudy brew, also known as cellar beer, should always be drunk quickly as it has a short shelf life. The unfiltered, naturally cloudy beer has not yet undergone the process of cold maturation and is characterised by low carbonation. Originally the sample taken by the brewmaster from the barrel with the so-called gusset tap was meant as a gusset beer.