Easily accessible, great German beers in the US?

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by jtg5678, Jan 15, 2013.

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  1. jtg5678

    jtg5678 Aspirant (210) Nov 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    So I've made a conscious decision to stray a bit from my US beer drinking habits and look towards European styles. Of the big three regions, German beers are my favorite, but I realized I don't have a lot of expertise on what the good beers/breweries are.

    So, my question is: what are some of your favorite German beers that are easily accessible? All styles welcome..I mean it when I say I like German styles!
  2. hopsputin

    hopsputin Meyvn (1,223) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

  3. StubFaceJoe

    StubFaceJoe Initiate (0) Nov 24, 2011 Colorado

    Also try pretty much anything from these beweries. Especially Weihenstephaner, and Aventinus. It was my favorite beer quest so far cause its cheap and easy to find stuff for the most part.
  4. loafinaround

    loafinaround Aspirant (296) Jul 16, 2011 New York

    And don't forget, another resource for good german beers is an authentic german butcher shop, if there is one near you. I grew-up going to a bilingual butcher shop and always took for granted their giant supply of tasty brews. So did the other german locals...
    Matter of fact, a german mason had "unlimited supply of warsteiner" written into our patio contract.
    RobertColianni and quetzal013 like this.
  5. jzeilinger

    jzeilinger Poo-Bah (5,415) Dec 4, 2004 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    Schneiderweisse (or anything from that brewery IMO). 'Not sure how accessible it is in your area but it is fairly easy to find on the East Coast.
    DelMontiac likes this.
  6. mrcraft

    mrcraft Poo-Bah (1,735) Dec 15, 2012 California
    Premium Member Beer Trader

    I think you're going to be surprised how easy it is to acquire top-notch German beers.

    For example, Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier is probably the best German beer period. You can find them for about $2-3 a bottle at Total Wine, BevMo, or your local favorite bottle shop.

    Here is BA's Top 100 German Beers -


    Again, you can find many of them pretty easily at an affordable price. Have fun!
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  7. MaxOhle

    MaxOhle Devotee (419) Nov 10, 2012 Illinois

    Any of the Weihenstephaner beers are an excellent choice, I've also heard Schneiders is great....gotta get around to trying it.
  8. BJasny

    BJasny Disciple (378) Jul 10, 2011 Texas

    I agree with everything said so far. Weihenstephaner is the first thing that comes to my mind, particularly their hefe. I also like Franziskaner and Paulaner. Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock is also great.
  9. Chinon01

    Chinon01 Initiate (0) Jan 23, 2007 Pennsylvania

    In addition to the above I'd include:
    1. Ayinger (any of their styles)
    2. Hofbrau Original Munich Helles Lager
    3. Scrimshaw Pilsner (USA)
    Pecan likes this.
  10. ShogoKawada

    ShogoKawada Meyvn (1,247) May 31, 2009 Pennsylvania

    Ayinger weizenbock!!!!
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  11. jtg5678

    jtg5678 Aspirant (210) Nov 27, 2012 Illinois
    Beer Trader

    Currently drinking a Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier :slight_smile:

    Brings me back to my Berlin trip in 2011 when all I did was load up on that brewery. Good times.

    Thanks a lot for the suggestions guys. One thing that's always surprised me about German beers is the extreme value. Should be really fun to explore Germany and not break the bank.
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  12. ledzeppelin4

    ledzeppelin4 Initiate (0) May 18, 2011 Illinois

    Hacker Pschorr hefeweizen. (I love Weihenstephaner's, but the Hacker's is much, much easier to find fresh(er) or at all for that matter, and it's almost as good.)
    weonfire likes this.
  13. Lutter

    Lutter Initiate (0) Jun 30, 2010 Texas

    Ayinger Ur-weiss.

    Stuff still blows me away. Their Weizen-bock is just about perfect as well.
  14. fuzzylogic

    fuzzylogic Initiate (0) Nov 16, 2008 Pennsylvania

    Ayinger is awesome and their beers are a great value for the quality (my favorite Oktoberfest)
    In addition to what was already mentioned, try:

    Einbecker Mai Ur Bock
    Reissdorf Kolsch
    Hacker Pschorr Munich Gold
    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  15. Grohnke

    Grohnke Initiate (0) Sep 15, 2009 Illinois

    Buy every Weihenstephaner on the shelf. The brewery is f'n gold. Thats a good place to start. Prof Fritz 1809 Berlinner Weiss is beautiful. Ayinger. and Hofbrau has some tasty treats to. All will be easy to find, and palate pleasing. Enjoy the taste of GER
    woemad likes this.
  16. brewbetter

    brewbetter Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    Not super easy to find, but so far, Uerige Doppelsticke is the only German beer I've found here that I enjoy.
  17. Danny1217

    Danny1217 Champion (856) Jul 15, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Have to agree with 1809. I tried it just a few days ago, and loved it. Weihenstephaner, Ayinger, and Aventinus are obvious ones.
  18. Longstaff

    Longstaff Initiate (0) May 23, 2002 Massachusetts

    Doesn't get anymore accessible than St Pauli Girl. IMO, the most flavorful of the cheap lager 12 packs coming from Germany these days.
  19. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    don't underestimate the pleasure of a simple helles lager

    - whenever there is a new shipment of augustiner edelstoff (the bottles don't have a date stamp or batch code), make a once-in-a-blue-moon splurge on the $14-17 for a sixer.

    - in the meantime, weihenstephaner original

    - also try schlenkerla helles, which is brewed on the same equipment as their rauchbiers but without the actual use of smoked malt.
  20. brewbetter

    brewbetter Initiate (0) Jun 2, 2012 Nauru

    Forgot about 1809. That's definitely a very good easily available german brew.
  21. MeadGuyfromMD

    MeadGuyfromMD Aspirant (215) May 23, 2007 Maryland

    I really enjoy:

    Innstadt Doppelbock
    Spaten Lager
    Spaten Optimator
    Ayinger Maibock

  22. jwheeler87

    jwheeler87 Aspirant (226) Oct 27, 2011 Massachusetts

    Yeah this about sums up my German beer selection. Everything from these breweries is excellent.
  23. acevenom

    acevenom Initiate (0) Oct 7, 2011 Louisiana

    You can't go wrong with the Schlenkerla line or anything from Weihenstephan or Ayinger. I would recommend giving Aventinus and the Aventinus Weizen-Eisbock a try if you can find that one. One underrated German beer IMO is Kulmbacher Reichelbrau Eisbock.
    Droogins likes this.
  24. jibjib513

    jibjib513 Initiate (0) Oct 16, 2012 Ohio

    Others have mentioned it, but I feel it's worth mentioning again.


    I've found them to be a little bit pricier than Weihenstephaner here in the Cincinnati but definitely worth it. When the seasons roll around again, look out for their Oktoberfest, it's my favorite.
    cavedave, nogophers and Pecan like this.
  25. Pecan

    Pecan Devotee (421) Dec 20, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Going to back up the Ayinger sentiment expressed in several posts here. By far my favorite German brewery.

    Also agreeing with the Oktoberfest-Marzen love, one of my favorite session beers. Although, I'd say most of their beers are top notch for style from German breweries.
    nogophers likes this.
  26. vader06

    vader06 Initiate (0) Jan 13, 2011 Michigan

    Erdinger is very good the Hefewiezen and Dunkel. Weihenstephaner is also very very good. I am getting thirsty.
  27. od_sf

    od_sf Aspirant (265) Nov 2, 2010 California

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  28. highdesertdrinker

    highdesertdrinker Disciple (378) Nov 5, 2012 Arizona
    Beer Trader

    Weihenstephaner Vitus is just awesome and you can't beat it at 2.99 a pint. The Munich Helles are very underrated and I think Hacker Pschorr is just a hair better than Weihenstephaner and Paulaner. Weihenstaphaner Hefe's are maybe my favorite beer if there could be such a thing with me but the Spaten Franziskaner 12 pack @ 15.49 is also an excellent hef and it is a little "spicier" than the other hefs.
  29. Zhiguli

    Zhiguli Initiate (140) Jul 12, 2012 California

    still never had one that makes me go back and buy another
  30. bleakies

    bleakies Disciple (388) Apr 11, 2011 Massachusetts

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  31. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,015) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Yet... you appear to have 2 pictured eloquently in your avatar. :astonished:

    Some other beers being consumed from German vessels?
  32. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    There are a number of good recommendations in this thread.

    There was a similar thread not too long ago where I opined:

    "I would recommend some other European lagers assuming you can obtain them fresh and not beat up:

    · Weihenstephan: Original (Helles), Pilsner and Festbier
    · Ayinger: Dunkel, Jahrhundert Bier (Helles), Oktober Fest-Märzen
    · Mahr’s: Ungespundet-hefetrüb (Kellerbier), Pilsner, Bock-Bier
    · Furst Wallerstein: Zwickel, Pilsner
    · Jever: Pilsner"

    Some German breweries do not date their bottles: Augustiner was previously mentioned in this regard. Schlenkerla is another brewery who doesn’t date their beers.

    If you do find a date on a German beer it seems like it is ‘popular’ to use a best by date. The ‘challenge’ here is that they typically are of a 1 year duration which is too damn long!

    highdesertdrinker likes this.
  33. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Did they stop used smoked malt in making the Helles Lagerbier?

    Below is a review of the Schlenkerla Helles Lagerbier by Buckeyenation a number of years ago (2006):


    4.33/5 rDev +9.1%
    look: 4 | smell: 4 | taste: 4.5 | feel: 4 | overall: 4.5

    Classic amber with a flawless interior disturbed only by a slow parade of superfine bubbles seeking higher ground. Those bubbles contribute to a cap that is a shade or two darker than bright white and has a quality look about it. A wide ring of delicate lace completes the picture of a fine looking German lager.

    Like all the Brauerei Heller-Trum beers, this one features smoke to the near exclusion of all else (In fact, it's difficult to tell what style they are by the nose alone because beechwood smoke is all one is treated to on the sniff. They only differ in the intensity of the smokiness). That's more than fine with me since smoke, given its dominant nature, would have to be too laid back for anything else to be evident.

    Helles Lagerbier is a helluva good lager beer. I love how each one of this brewery's offerings shares an obvious similarity, yet each one is also distinctly different. They wouldn't work nearly as well as they do if the brewers relied on the fragrant, woodsy smoke to paper over inferior beer. These guys are true craftsmen who just happen to love rauchbier and have decided to share it with the world. Good for us.

    The key, of course, to this beer's success, and to the success of the entire lineup, is the balancing act between malt, hops, yeast and smoke. The hops provide a modest bitterness and the lager yeast doesn't provide much of anything at all in terms of flavor; nor should it. That leaves lightly sweet golden malt and beautiful beechwood smoke. Delicious.

    The mouthfeel is right where it needs to be in terms of size and in the amount and character of the carbonation. While nothing about it stands out as exceptional, it's perfectly calibrated to the task at hand, that of delivering the devilishly good flavor to the expectant taste buds, while refreshing the drinker at the same time.

    I've been looking for this offering for quite some time now and I'm glad that I finally found a bottle. It's a great addition to the Aecht Schlekerla series of beers and is easily the equal of my other favorites of the Munich Helles Lager style, the versions from Brauereien Aying and Weihenstephaner. Helles Lagerbier is a light, smoky treat and should be on the 'must try' list of all who consider themselves connoisseurs of smoked beer.

    Serving type: bottle

    11-10-2006 15:10:12”

  34. BedetheVenerable

    BedetheVenerable Meyvn (1,023) Sep 5, 2008 Missouri

    Not German, but definitely German in flavor and style; try to get ahold of (likely through trade) of Urban Chestnut's Zwickel...around $8.00 a 4-pk of pint bottles in St. Louis, so you shouldn't have to trade an arm and a leg for it. New brewery that does some traditional German stuff as well as some experimental brews. The Zwickel showcases everything that's great about traditional German lagers.
  35. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    it's a myth that they use smoked malt for the helles. it's just brewed and lagered in the same tanks. here's the description from schlenkerla themselves:


    “Schlenkerla Helles” is brewed with fine Bavarian aroma hops from the area around the city of Nürnberg. It's lagered in century old caves underneath the historic Schlenkerla brewery and maltings. Schlenkerla Helles is boiled in the same copper kettles and bottom fermented by the same yeast as the historic Schlenkerla Smokebeer. Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes “Helles Schlenkerla Lager” a unique representative of the classic lager beer style “Bavarian Helles”
  36. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (3,451) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania
    Premium Member

    Thank you for the education!

    “Its subtle smokiness without using smoke malt makes …” Do you happen to know how they achieve “subtle smokiness” without used smoked malt?

  37. chinabeergeek

    chinabeergeek Meyvn (1,279) Aug 10, 2007 Massachusetts
    Beer Trader

    being brewed, lagered and packaged on the same equipment and in the same rooms as all the other beers in a "rauchbier-only" brewery. simple as that.
  38. SeaOfShells

    SeaOfShells Initiate (0) Feb 22, 2011 California

    It's been said before, but I'll say it again: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier. Done.
  39. jbertsch

    jbertsch Meyvn (1,110) Dec 14, 2008 Massachusetts

    This one's easily in my top 5 German list. A well-made helles is a thing of beauty.
  40. jcb7472

    jcb7472 Zealot (551) Jul 13, 2011 Florida
    Beer Trader

    Just wanted to point out that the following German breweries are majority owned by Anheuser Busch InBev:

    St. Pauli Girl

    Nowadays, I usually go for Weihenstephaner when I buy German beer. They are always excellent.
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