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)
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)
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!