Beer is widely spread and loved as every country has its own brands enjoyed by the masses. Moreover, it's been popular since ancient times, and its reputation still rises, if that's even possible. The brewers compete by making the best as the oddest ones, just to distinguish themselves. However, beer is like a symbol in Berlin or anywhere else in Germany, a tradition intertwined in all life segments. So, let's look at the top ten finest German beers that stand out in the crowd.
The beer style from Düsseldorf is something in between ale and lager. Altbier, translated as "Old beer," uses warm fermentation from ale production before aging in the cooler temperatures like a lager. This is a malty beer with a somewhat bitter taste, as the color varies from amber to copper. Moreover, people compare the flavor to a classic English beer.
The name separates this old traditional technique in production from newer ones. One of the best altbiers is Schlösser Alt – a clear amber with a nutty and toasty malt flavor and the right amount of bitterness.
9. German Pilsner
Compared to the Czech pilsner beer, the best German pilsner is a bit drier, with a lighter color and hop bitterness. It's often described as refreshing, full-bodied, and clean. Hence, it has a spicy, flowery, and herbal hop bitter aroma blended with its maltiness. It was introduced to the public in the 1870s as a combination of new brewing techniques combined with local hops.
One of the best German pilsners is Jever Pilsner, produced by Friesisches Brauhaus zu Jever, located in Lower Saxony. They are proud of its fresh herbal taste and usage of quality fresh water in the brewing process.
Bock beer is a bottom-fermenting lager, lightly hopped, creamy, smooth, rich, and malty, with a bit toasty aroma. The color varies from golden to amber, even dark brown, as many bocks are out there. Moreover, this is among strong German beers, as the alcohol percentage ranges from 6.3 to 7.6%.
Created in the city of Einbeck in the 14th century, by the 17th century, it was spread all over Germany and especially loved by Bavarian brewmasters. Today the best bock is Einbecker Ur-Bock, and it has preserved much of the original bock style.
Like a bock, doppelbock is a lager beer, but much darker and slightly stronger, first made in Munich by Paulaner monks. The story goes that this is such heavy and decadent beer that the monks could fast for weeks by only drinking it. However, its percentage of alcohol is slightly higher than classic bock, varying between 7 to 8%.
Paulaner Salvator Doppelbock, one of the best and the oldest doppelbocks, is produced by Paulaner Brewing Factory in Munich. The dark chestnut color and the slightly chocolate aroma, made with the best Munich malt, make this beer stand out.
Rauchbier, or smoked beer, originated from Franconia and the city of Bamberg in the 14th century. The smoked aroma comes from the malt dried without using an open flame. This is one of the best German beers, with a clear amber color and medium hop bitterness combined with sweet and malty flavors.
Today, this beer is almost synonymous with Schlenkerla and Spezial Breweries based in Bramberg. Moreover, it perfectly fits grilled meat and cheese. Yet, you can combine rauchbier even with desserts due to its smoky taste.
A dark lager or Dunkel is a famous German beer often associated with Bavaria. Brewed with the finest Munich malt, the beer gets a caramel and a toasty look. Dark Bavarian beer is usually smooth, not too heavy, and subtly sweet. The color varies from copper to dark brown, depending on the brewing company.
Bayerische Staatsbrauerei Weihenstephan produces one of the best German dark beers called Hefeweißbier Dunkel. This is a chestnut-colored wheat beer with light caramel and the fruity sweetness of ripe bananas, perfectly combined with malt aromas. Moreover, Dunkel German beers go well with sausages, barbecue, or roasted beef and pork. Yet, even the strangest meals taste better with it.
This is a famous German beer from Cologne (also known as Kölsch). To the Kölsch Convention from 1986, it can only be produced in the city and adjoining areas. This beer style is unique by its creation, as it uses yeast for ale-making yet brewing lager process.
Therefore, you'll get the lightest German ale with a pale yellow color that's clear and highly fermented. The fermentation process in cooler temperatures gives it dry, crisp excellence. Moreover, at the same time, the ale yeast provides its fruity and bread-like aroma. One of the best German beers is Früh Kölsch, produced by a Früh brewery.
According to beer lovers, weissbier or wheat beer is produced worldwide, yet the Bavarians brew the best ones. The main characteristic of the weissbier is its misty golden color and the mousse-like foam. The brewing process includes wheat, malted barley, and particular kinds of yeast that produce the specific aroma of smoke, banana, and clove.
Some of the best German Weissbiers come from Munich, like Paulaner and Franziskaner. Also produced in Bavaria and equally popular are Erdinger, Weihenstephan, Kapuziner, Schneider Weisse, and Ayinger. If you haven't tried it yet, we highly recommend it, as it goes perfectly with the sausages and the light dishes.
Originating in Munich at the end of the 19th century, Helles was a German answer to the light Czech Pilsner. Its pale golden color, but still quite malty crisp flavor, quickly became very popular in the German brewing industry.
Moreover, Bavarian Helles has a unique refinement and clean, fresh, and dry taste. Its alcohol percentage is usually between 4.8 and 5.2%, making it an excellent choice for beginners. However, they have a more robust version of it, often called Bavarian Export. One of the best ones is Augustiner-Bräu's Helles, an easy-going beer loved by many Germans.
The most common and widely spread beer styles globally are lager and ale. However, they are deferring by the yeast type and production. The lager production uses bottom-fermenting yeast, which needs more time to ferment at lower temperatures than ale yeast. Moreover, the name comes from the German language, meaning - to store, referring to the lagering (maturing) period.
However, being the most worldwide-spread beer type, lager has many alcohol contents, color, and flavor variations. Germany has had the Beer Purity Law since 1516. Hence, all the brewing in Bavaria needs to be done from October till April. Therefore, it's no surprise that the Bavarians make the best German lager. One more thing - you can safely combine it with other drinks.
Our top ten list showcases many excellent German beer brands and styles, but never combine them with other drinks! However, the full experience would be visiting Germany and ordering the beer in some old-fashioned Bräuhaus (a brewery), as they have a unique atmosphere.
Have you ever tried some German beer? What did you like the most? Please write to us in the comment section below.
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