Germans are known around the world for their beer, and most of them will argue that they have the best there is. Despite the reputation, beer consumption in Germany has dropped to record lows, and while the blame is being put on mixed drinks and wine, could it be that there just isn’t enough exploration in new types if brews?
Germany is one of the few countries that still follows a strict brewing method for their beer. The 1516 Beer Purity Law, also known as the Reinheitsgebot, restricts the ingredients to only water, barley, and hops. There are some German breweries that introduce a few extra ingredients, but for the most part German beers stick to the age-old rule. Despite the three ingredient rule, thousands of unique tastes have been created over the years, but some younger beer drinkers in Germany are discovering that imported craft beers may have a little more to offer the taste bud.
Deutsche Welle (DW) ran a story that looked at this growing trend of foreign beer consumption that is taking place specifically in Berlin. Dirk Hoplitschek, the co-founder of the online social beer rating site, the Beer Index, shed some light on the boredom surrounding German beers. He told DW, “if you compare standard German and American products, like Anheuser-Busch beers, American ones are certainly worse. But there’s not a whole lot variety or innovation in Germany. What we’re trying to do is open up people’s eyes and tell them that there so much exciting stuff out there. Beer can be so much more than just this uniform crap.”
One of the things the Beer Index does to explore new beers is called “crowd beering”. Beer lovers who are wanting to try something new, pledge that they will buy a package of a specific beer that is not available at the local bar or store. When enough pledges come in, a large shipment of the beer is ordered, making the shipping and import costs more reasonable.
More specifically in Berlin, new bars are opening up that cater towards serving imported beer. Hoplitschek believes Germans have lost interest in beer because they don’t know enough about it. That is why he believes these new bars are crucial for providing Germans with a educational tasting experience.
There is a lot more in the DW story, including an in-depth look at a bar specifically serving up Belgium brews. It is a fascinating read and it might just provide some insight into how Germany can bounce back from its declining beer sales.