Where: Real German beers enjoyed through the world – visit Klostar Ettal in Weltenburg or Bamberg, Bavaria for authentic beer history
best brew: Smoked Beer
Serving Suggestion: A nice, slow demi-litre at a brewery beer garden, smoothed down with a pretzel
Did you know: Benedictine monks invented beer
If there’s one drink you immediately think of in connection with Germany, it’s beer. But far from the chemical fizz served up in bars elsewhere in the world, German beer adheres to a strict set of purity laws (the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot) laid down in 1516, which dictate that the drink can contain nothing more than yeast, hops, barley malt and water.
A History of Beery Intoxication
Strange as it sounds, it was the Benedictine monks who began brewing beer as early as the 6th century. It was considered to be ‘liquid bread’, and therefore suitable quaffing for fast days. At this time, beer consisted almost entirely of oats and was weak and hardly intoxicating.
From 1805, the monastic breweries began to be wrested from the monks and placed in the care of the crown. Only three managed to escape this fate and among them is Kloster Ettal. Located in the heart of Werdenfelser Country, Weltenburg, Kloster Ettal was founded in 1050 and is the oldest brewery still under monastic management.
This brewery still produces around 90 million litres of beer every year, transported all over Germany, as well as the special potent mixture of herbs called ‘klosterlikor‘, which can be sampled in local inns and restaurants.
Beer Lovers Itinerary
Today, it is the family run micro breweries that produce some of the country’s best beer and a must to visit for any beer lovers itinerary is Bamberg. With nine micro breweries, this town in the north of Bavaria has the highest concentration of breweries in the country. Worth checking is the town’s speciality, smoked beer, you’ll love it if you dig bacon crisps.
Beer is an intrinsic part of the local culture, beer halls have served generations of families and drinking societies or stimmerlings, who have their own place in the beer hall to stand or sit and, for the lucky few, to keep their steins (beer mugs).
Where to Enjoy a Nice, Cool Demi-Litre
Mahr’s Brau is one of the nine micro breweries dotted around Bamberg. Stefan Michel is the third generation of his family to work as a brewer master and produces some of the best beer in town. The brewery has a beer garden where fans of the ale can enjoy a litre at their leisure. And as any local would tell you, the perfect accompaniment for beer is the pretzel.