Beer:Terms and Vocabulary Related to "Bier" in German

By Laura Wise

When you want a drink in Germany, you'll probably want a beer. Make sure you get the beer you want! Learn about the different types of German's national drink, a saying, some history and the words related to beer.

History and different brands

Germany has a beer brewing tradition which dates back to well before the 14th century, when the German town of Einbeck, with over 700 breweries, was the beer production center of the world. Einbeck is still a famous brand, although the original name mutated to Bock, meaning a strong, dark beer. The main distinction of the different types of beer lies in hell and dunkel (light and dark) and the alcohol content. The color of the beer depends entirely on the color and quality of the malt. Here are a few famous brands of German beer;

Alt - although literally meaning 'old', the term doesn't refer to a beer which is old, but to the fact that it has been brewed according to old tradition. Alt is dark and a speciality of the German city of Duesseldorf. Whereas Pils tastes the better the more 'Blume' it has on top and the slower it is drafted, Alt is consumed with very little foam.

Berliner Weisse - is a speciality from Berlin. The beer is light, little fermented with a low alcohol content and slightly sour. It's drunk as a refreshing drink during the summer months in Berlin with a dash or 'Schuss' of rasberry syrup to give it a pink color and to dilute the sour taste.

Pils - light and golden in color, Pils is the most popular beer in Germany.

Eisbock - this strong, dark beer is made more potent by reducing the water content through freezing. Eisbock is quite expensive and not an everyday drink.

Koelsch - Like Duesseldorf, the German city of Cologne is a center of beer brewing and Koelsch is the name of a brand exclusively produced there. The beer is light in color and drunk from tall, slim glasses, called 'Stange'.

Rauchbier - means a beer where the malt has been dried over a wood fire which gives the beer a distinctive, smoky taste.

Terms related to beer

Das Bier - beer

Der Steinkrug - beer mug, often with a lid

Der Humpen - beer mug

Der Bierdeckel - coaster

Die Flasche - bottle

Dunkel - dark

Hell - light

Stark - strong

Das Malz - malt

Der Hopfen - hop

Brauen - to brew

Die Brauerei - brewery

Das Wasser - water

Das Glass - glass

Prost! - cheers

zum Wohl! - to your health

Der Bierspruch - toast

Das Oktoberfest - beer festival

Die "Blume" - literally 'flower' but meaning the foam on top

Die Temperatur - temperature

zapfen - to draw the beer

vom Hahn - draught beer

Das Flaschenbier - bottled beer

gaeren - to ferment

Gaerung - fermentation

Das Fass - barrel

anzapfen - first draught of the year (ceremony at the Oktoberfest)

A saying

The German equivalent of someone who has apparently has 'lost his marbles' is: Bei ihm ist Hopfen und Malz verloren, literally translating into: he has lost hop and malt.

Bierkrug and Teresienwiese (Oktoberfestplatz)

Two curiosities

Bierdeckel or beer coasters with the adverts of different brands printed on them are collectors items and many a German is proud of his 'Bierdeckelsammlung'.

In Bavaria, beer is not classified as a drink but as food!

Prost und zum Wohl!