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Germany German craft beer

Discussion in 'Europe' started by einhorn, Dec 20, 2012.

  1. einhorn

    einhorn Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Lots of activity here in the German forum, which I love to see and read. As many of you "regulars" know, well at least for me, it is great to hear about your experiences and ideas about what German beer is, was, and maybe what it is evolving into. Hoping that some of the German brewers will have their own ideas about what the German craft beer scene will consist of in character and beer styles, I thought it better to start a new thread than continue under American Influence thread that Steve started.

    I posted a few days ago this news brief from a beverage website

    Paulaner macht Whiskeyfass auf

    In München geht jetzt auch Paulaner unter die Craft-Brauer: In der "Brauerei am Eiswerk", einem denkmalgeschützten Gebäude auf dem (bisherigen) Areal der Brauerei in zentraler Stadtlage, lässt Paulaner seit einiger Zeit zu Forschungs- und Ausbildungszwecken spezielle Biere herstellen. Die kommen jetzt auf den Markt - neben dem Märzen-Bier Eiswerk 1881 auch ein gerauchtes Joseph´s Bier und der in Whiskey-Fässern ausgelagerte Bourbon-Bock, letzterer für 24,90 Euro pro Champagnerflasche. Die beiden anderen Sorten kosten dem Vernehmen nach rund 3,50 Euro/0,33 Liter.

    Paulaner reiht sich mit seinem "Eiswerk" damit ein in die Riege der bayerischen Edel- und Craftbiere, angefangen mit dem Weihenstephaner Infinium, Schneiders TAP X, Maisel´s & Friends aus Bayreuth, Crew Ale aus München, die ihre Biere bislang in Hohenthann herstellen lassen, und viele andere; in München selbst sorgte erst vor kurzem die kleine Giesinger Brauerei für Schlagzeilen, als die Verantwortlichen ankündigten, innerhalb der Stadt umziehen und sich vergrößern zu wollen.

    Now this turned up today - take it for what it's worth, but there seems to be quite an interest in what they are doing...


    So, maybe if you have future info about things like this (for example, the chap at Pax), maybe we can collect the info here, if you see it being pertinent to the thread/discussion.

  2. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    First of all, it is a great idea to keep a thread where we can come back continually to post out finds we make in Craft beer.

    At Biershop Bayernbiere, http://www.biershop-bayern.de/index.php/?biersorte=241 you can see 8 different IPAs sold only in Bayern. I've had the Auswanderer Bier, which is a super Citras-like hopped up IPA. I had it in the brewery at at a local Gastwirtschft in Miltenberg, and it's at least 8%. It reminded me of a 3 Floyd's Alpha King clone I had made. I'm afraid I'm not familiar with the offeringss from Bavaria, Camra, Maxbrauerei, & Riegele. They also have a page listing 6 different stouts from the 4 listed in the previous sentence.

    There are starting to be the first shoots of a craft beer movement.
  3. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    I like the way the innovation on the German beer market is coming from huge breweries like Schneider, Paulaner and Radeberger (Braufactum). Just to fuck with the heads of "craft" fanatics.
    digita7693 and grantcty like this.
  4. einhorn

    einhorn Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    When you look at the production numbers compared to the US Craft Brewer's Association guideline for being a "craft brewery", not one German brewery produces over 6 mio. barrels (7.5 million HL), so as long as they are independently owned, it fits. As odd as that may seem.
    pixieskid likes this.
  5. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Paulaner and Radeberger are not independently owned though. Schneider is.
  6. steveh

    steveh Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Not sure what you mean, ask any "craft fanatic" and they'll tell you they don't even look twice at German beer. ;)
  7. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Now it's my turn to ask "what the...?" What do you mean, that craft beer fanatics don't look at German beers? I thought that during many of the threads we've come to establish the fact that very very few American craft beer producers can match the quality when it comes to making German styles, especially the Bavarian styles. Or, do you mean don't look at what's being imported to the USA from Germany because the only one's imported are Fernsehbiers?
  8. einhorn

    einhorn Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    I believe that many craft drinkers enjoy German (style) beers. They are readily available in the US and they are in the frequent rotation of craft fans. One of the most interesting facets of the craft movement is the lack of brand loyalty - they will try just about anything once, which I think is great.
  9. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I agree that brand loyalty here is a plus, giving up-and-comers or innovators a great chance to break into the market. That, in inverse, is the exact problem in Germany, brand loyaly, where many drink the same beer they've drunk since teenagers even when confronted with something far superior in taste, or they drink the same beer just because their grandfathers drank it 80 years ago. And, that's one main reason for the Brauereiaussterben (brewery death). All those old men are dieing off, not being replaced by younger teens who are shunning, don't want to drink Opa's beer and instead are going to Red Bull-based or juice-based hard liquor concoctions.
  10. einhorn

    einhorn Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    Wasn't much different 15-20 years ago in the US with Bud/Miller/Coors. And to be quite honest, the total craft market share of about 6% is still small by anyone's standards.

    There are lots of parallels of the US 15 years ago and where the Germans are now. The German brewing industry is well aware of what is happening here. I believe that time is ripe and you will soon see lots of new things. All it will take is to have ONE large brewer have any iota of success in the German domestic market and it's off to the races.
  11. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    Agreed, and my money is on Schneider Weisse.
  12. steveh

    steveh Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    First off -- it was a joke (a dig, if you will -- see the emoticon?) -- just read outside the Germany forum, a large majority of BA members think German beer is on the same level as BMC. Sure, there are a few here and there who will mention liking a good Weizen or Doppelbock, but just bring up the "L" word in any conversation about your favorite style and you're bound to get the, "I never drink lagers because they're boring." comment 7 out of 10 times.

    That said, I know the regulars here at the Germany forum are far more enlightened than that... and thought they'd see the irony in my comment... o_O
  13. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I think I said the same thing a year ago! Not as well as you just did, however.
    einhorn likes this.
  14. steveh

    steveh Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Based (only) on BA threads that often bring up "What's your favorite style?" German beers get little respect from the common craft beer drinker.

    However, I think that really points more at the "common craft beer drinker" lacking knowledge in the wide range of different styles available. To the vast majority, if it doesn't slap your face when you drink it, it's not worth drinking -- mention "subtlety" in flavors and you damn near get laughed off the 'net.

    A sad testament to how perception of good beer has turned, but true nevertheless.
    Tmappin, boddhitree and grantcty like this.
  15. WhatANicePub

    WhatANicePub Jul 1, 2009 United Kingdom (Scotland)

    Oettinger is independently owned too ;)
  16. CwrwAmByth

    CwrwAmByth Jan 24, 2011 United Kingdom (England)

    That's why apart from UK beer, German styles are my favourite. If they get it right you get a perfect blend of drinkability and flavour. A proper "drink" drink, as opposed to tiny servings of palate shattering beer closer to liqeurs than proper drinks, which are still nice, I just don't find them good to drink with meals, or if i'm actually thirsty.
    steveh likes this.
  17. einhorn

    einhorn Nov 3, 2005 California
    Beer Trader

    You can be cheeky WANP, that's for sure!

    I just checked the numbers for Oettinger. As the largest (privately owned) German brewery, they produced 6.2 mio. HL (5.3 mio BBL) in 2011, so if they did bring out a barrel aged pilsner or a Gruit beer, it could theoretically be categorized (by US standards) as a craft beer. Let's hope they have no ambitions.
  18. Stahlsturm

    Stahlsturm Mar 21, 2005 Germany

    Informally we call it "Oettinger Schädelsprenger". Which translates to "Skull buster" (but the German word is much more colourful...) and you can imagine what that refers to...
    SirRainboom likes this.
  19. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Jan 24, 2006 Indiana

    Glad I finally wandered over to this forum, as I'm currently in Germany visiting my wife's family who always makes an effort to take me around to various places to sample different beers from various breweries. A few days ago we visited Brauhaus Goslar, where I was able to have a personal tour of the brewery from the owner and had a good conversation with him about what he's doing/experimenting with now and possibly in the future.

    This is a very small brewery in the town where the original Gose was brewed. The Gose there was delicious by the way, I much preferred it to what I sampled the day before at the Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Banhof in Leipzig. (although I want to say the weizen and other beers I had there, especially the special brown Christmas beer (ale?), were absolutely delicious).

    His (a very nice guy named Odin) brewery has only been opened for 3 years and he seems to have an interest in American beers and also our unique/fruity hop varieties. He is planning on brewing with some Cascades in the near future and is currently experimenting adding American oak chips to some small kegs of bock with good results. He's aware of hop varieties like Citra and Amarillo and I wouldn't be surprised to see him experimenting with these in the future if he's able to get his hands on any. He hasn't visited the U.S. so I'm kicking myself for not bringing some of our IPA's over for him to sample, next time though for sure...

    Hope all this is appropriate to the thread, just thought I'd mention a brewery I've come across that's very small and is also starting to experiment and branch out a little bit. Personally I've wondered about the feasibility of opening an American style brewpub here somewhere, as I do believe the flavor of our beers could definitely catch on if approached in the correct manner, however that may be...
  20. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Any pics taken? Post them please, like I did for the Faust Brauerei tour. If not, give your impressions of the beer and whatever.

    Also, you hopefully can appreciate that the USA is currently the epicenter/Shangra La of beer.
  21. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    There are new German hops coming soon that will have a range of flavors all their own, along with very high Alpha numbers. These were bred at the Huell Institute.
    boddhitree likes this.
  22. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    I've ordered and used a few of them: Herkules, Polaris, Magnum. I haven't used Mandarina Bayern, Aurora (Super Steyrer), Opal, Saphir, Hallertau Blanc, Huell Melon, . Check out this site, which even has some English. I've heard some more that are out or in the pipeline, also from Czech: Smaragd.

    I'm kinda sceptical they'll be used in many large commercial beers. But, all you need is a successful "Becks Saphir" or "Bitburger Mandarina Bayern" or something like that and I'm afraid then all the Fernsehenbiers will copycat them until we can't stand to watch the TV commercials any more.

    Have you heard of these new French hops?
    P08-3 5,70 % AA
    Triskel 9,50 % AA
    Bouclier 7,01 % AA
  23. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    Heard of the German ones you mention. Have not heard of the French ones.

    This is a good read. He talked with growers in the US, UK, Hallertau, and Tetnang.
  24. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Jan 24, 2006 Indiana

    Unfortunately I didn't take any pictures during our visit, nor did I take any tasting notes on the beers (not really into reviewing beer personally)...but I do recommend giving the brewery a visit if anyone is ever in the area. From what I remember though, the Gose (both light and dark) were the definite highlights of the visit, absolutely delicious really. Similarities to a traditional hefe but with a bit more prominent hop presence (from two types of hallertau) with a very subtle coriander and salt presence that was quite honestly balanced to perfection IMO.

    Had a small sample of the pils, which although solid didn't particularly jump out at me (though my desensitized American palate could easily be blamed, the brewer considers it his favorite beer he brews-my sample was also a bit small to get the best overall impression of the beer as well), and a doppelbock, which I can't really make many comments on because it's probably my least favorite German style in general for some reason, but compared to others I've sampled here it was quite nice though perhaps a little over carbonated.

    What did strike me in our conversation though was the number of times I asked him about various things he was doing or was thinking of doing where he mentioned the Reinheitsgebot as basically a hindrance to things he was doing. He didn't describe it as a hindrance or negative thing himself, but from what I was hearing it definitely seemed like it to me. I know there's ways around it-he had to apply for an exemption in order to brew his Gose for example-but I don't know how easy/possible it would be to get exemptions for things like barrel aging or coffee beers for instance. I need to do some research in what this law is all about because for me (and my admittedly limited knowledge on the subject) I see it as a potentially major hindrance to the expansion of German craft brewing.

    As far as the U.S. being the epicenter, sure, I agree we're producing some of the best beer anywhere and are definitely on the forefront of experimentation and what not, but at the some time we pretty much owe our entire brewing history to countries like Germany and Belgium and in my opinion aren't necessarily a better brewing country in general. But as far as the continued evolution of better beer brewing, absolutely.
  25. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Here's my favorite article against the RHG, by Ron Pattinson, entitled
    The German Reinheitsgebot - why it's a load of old bollocks.

    He says all you need to know why the RHG is, well, "bollocks." I wholeheartedly agree with you that it's a hindrance to brewing, but it's as much a brewer self-imposed hindrance because, I believe, and please someone correct me if I'm wrong, it only applies as law in Bayern; otherwise, it's mostly a marketing gimmick to pull the wool over Germans' eyes that their Fernsehbiere are somehow superior to what people in Belgium :eek: drink.

    This guy could brew jenseits (beyond) the RHG, as they say here, but they're too cowardly to buck the marketing mindset German brewers have: they believe the German consumer won't buy anything that doesn't trumpet it's beer blindly following the RHG, no matter how close to swill the stuff is.
    donald_w7 and PancakeMcWaffles like this.
  26. drtth

    drtth Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    My understanding of an EU Court ruling is that the RHG applies as law if you claim on label or in advertising to follow it. If you don't follow it then you've mislabled/advertised your product.

    However, if the customers won't buy your beer unless it says it was brewed under the RHG....

    Edit: Given what I've seen here and there in Germany and heard expressed on this forum, what you suggest as being cowardly is actually based in some realistic realities of the marketplace.
  27. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Up until the mid to late 80's, the RHG was law, which is how German brewers kept out beer imported from all other EU & non-EU countries. The EU found that as patently discriminatory to any beer brewed with any adjunct at all, especially Dutch, Belgium and British beers and forced Germany to open up it's country to all beer imports, irregardless of ingredients, as long as they were listed as ingredients.
  28. drtth

    drtth Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Yeah, I think that’s either the same court case or era when it was decided that if you said your beer followed the RHG then you had to adhere to the RHG. So the sales of those beers allowed in after the ruling should be an indicator of the market place willingness to buy non-RHG beer. If they had showed a big boom in sales I think we'd see much more non RHG experimentation among German brewers.
  29. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    Given your own successful experiments with different hops/malts/flavors in your homebrew, I'm curious as to what, exactly, it is about U.S. craft brewing that you're so covetous of? What, specifically, are you missing that you are not finding in your homebrew? I readily admit that we make the world's best DIPAs and RISs -- and that Centennial/Cascade/Citra hops taste very good. But other than that, what is the huge draw such that you call the U.S. the world's beer paradise? The sheer number of beers? The ranges of styles covered? There is not a single U.S. brewer that makes the world's best Pils, Dunkel, Kellerbier, Weizen, Bock, Maerzen, Rauchbier, Schwarzbier, Koelsch, Alt, or Gose; Flemish Red, Wit, Gueuze, Quad/Tripel/Dubbel, or Belgian Strong Ale; Mild, session pale, or cask anything; Bohemian Pils, Czech black beer, or low alcohol European style lager. Are you more wowed by having a wider range of decent examples of these styles in stock (and frequently in less than ideal condition) at your local bottle shop than by having the world's best -- in their freshest and most authentic form -- within a reasonable traveling distance? Could you please provide some detailed credentials to accompany the U.S. "world's best" craft beer calling card you keep handing out?
    DarthVorador, Vonstein15 and JBogan like this.
  30. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Jan 24, 2006 Indiana

    So then am I understanding correctly that the RHG is not actually a real law (like speed limits) that is enforced and MUST be adhered to, just something almost all brewers do for the sake of being more marketable and perhaps respecting German brewing tradition? I know this is what's being said, just want to make sure, because it sounds like before the EU pressured them to allow non-RHG brewed beer it was in fact a law that had to be followed. I ask because the way the brewer I talked to talked about it (again, not in necessarily a negative way) made it sound like he had no choice.

    Agree with this 100%. Not only do we not approach the best versions of these styles, in most cases when a brewer throws the word hefeweizen (the biggest offender IMO) many times the resulting beer isn't even representative at all. Though I will say some out there are coming close, it bugs me to no end that many BA's these days fully believe our German and Belgian style beers are not only as good, but better than the originals which in my opinion is full fledged nonsense.
  31. drtth

    drtth Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    Well if you have to label or claim your beer as being made under the RHG to get it to sell to your customer base and if you have to adhere to the RHG to be able to make that claim, then there isn't a whole lot of freedom of choice.

    And yes before the EU court decision the RHG was a law throughout Germany. The court basically ruled that it represented restraint of free trade among member states and so was illegal. Thereby making possible the importation of beers from other countries in the EU.

    As a side note the RHG originated in Bavaria and only became law throughout Germany with the formation of the nation state now known as Germany. It was a condition that the Bavarians insisted had to be in place before they would join.
    boddhitree likes this.
  32. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    German Autobahns are full of speed limits that must be adhered to, either due to traffic, construction or some other arbitrary reason, and I've read that only 30% of the Autobahn system is truly free of all speed limits. Go over those speed limits, and you'll get blitzt, or get a pic of you behind the wheel speeding, facing a nice fine and points added to your drivers license, which could lead to its suspension.

    He may have been speaking metaphorically, like, "if I brew any non-RHG beer, who the hell would buy it?" Or he could simply be another of those brewers that slavishly, cowardly feels the RHG is the sole avenue to lend legitimacy to his beer. The RHG is a brainwashing tool to lull Germans into drinking ever worse beer but sticking loyally to it no matter what in the name of false sense of nationalism (please, no Nazi comparisons), like living off the laurels of your reputation, and they're being murdered in the market with ever fewer younger Germans who won't buy the BS and have turned to Red Bull flavored/mixed concoctions of hard liquor, their clientele slowly dieing out, and the quality going ever more to the dogs in a race to being the cheapest, but still being to advertise you're following the RHG.
    I'm not saying your friend in Goslar is doing that, but I'd love to hear from him why it's so important to adhere to this legally non-binding RHG. He may truly believe only beers brewed under the RHG's auspices are worthy beers, but his ability to brew a Gose says something good for him. But he slavishly follows his customers prejudices instead of leading by innovating? That to me, in a nutshell, is more an indictment of the German psyche or failing to think outside to box and Ordnung muss sein! (order must be) thinking.
    BenBreeg and PancakeMcWaffles like this.
  33. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    For me, the variety and the possibility to at least buy either a American craft brewed version of umpteen styles, or if those aren't up to snuff, the originals from their own country, is a million times better than what is available in Germany. You can do neither in Germany. Yes, you can get an outstanding Pils, Dunkel, Kellerbier, Weizen, Bock, Maerzen, Rauchbier, Schwarzbier, Koelsch, Alt if you order online, but at many places you can't physically buy/pick it up, unless you're willing to settle for Fernsehbiere. When you have over 2000 craft brewers, at least a few should be able to produce a great version of all the world's beer, or at least pretty damn good versions. And then there's the creative spirit of American craft brewers that all but died out in Europe and being slowly being brought back from the dead all over Europe.

    You say "within a reasonable traveling distance"... what is that? A four hour drive just to buy a bottle of beer? You're nuts. And how often do you go that far to buy whatever? Is that shorter or farther than your local bottle shop? Does that mean I have to drive around Franken just to get a good Märzen? Drive to Düsseldorf to buy my Alt, or Köln to buy a Kölsch, or... forget Pils, it's my least favorite style. Sure, there are pockets of great beer made in Germany but the German consumer barely registers their existence and thus almost never to be found. Ok, so you can get these fresher here? What about any decent Belgian or British style? Do I need to fly to England just to buy any Brit beer? Or take a 7 hour drive to Belgium? In the USA, check, either craft or imported versions. In Germany.... ugh, online or a very very spotty selection in a very very few places.

    So which would you rather have? In the Brit forum it seems one of the leading threads is who got what American beer this week. I wonder why. So, you can either you can be constantly traveling from country to country just to try beer, or you live in the USA and get it all, and creative, innovative American craft beers to boot.
  34. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    So if I understand you correctly, the reason the U.S. is the world's best beer nation is that more (variety/quantity/availability --- even if it means sacrificing freshness, stylistic authenticity, and quality) is better. Fits well with the other "creative" notion dominating the U.S. craft beer scene that more hops/malt varieties/ABV is better. You may indeed be a perfect fit for the current beer "culture" here. Time to move back? ;)

    p.s. Why does everyone seem to hate travel? I was a Lektor at a German university, too, and I used the generous vacation time to make multiple trips to the Czech Republic, Belgium, the UK, as well as throughout Bavaria/Franconia...often hitting these places during their (frequent) beer festivals. IMO, nothing the U.S. craft beer culture has to offer can come close to the education I received while drinking readily available beers with regular people from the world's great brewing nations -- all in the environs of pub/tavern/beergarden cultures that were developed, and carefully protected, over centuries.
  35. drtth

    drtth Nov 25, 2007 Pennsylvania

    I think you miss the point. Not all of us live in a beer wasteland such as you describe (or seem to inhabit :) ). I have easy access to fresh world class examples of most of the beers you list above.

    Also, you base your reading of trends in US beer culture on a biased subset (i.e., BAs and the threads on this site). If what you suggest is true then Victory's Headwaters Pale Ale should not have sold so well that they have been driven to suspend tours of their present facility and open a second brewery to keep up with the demand for their basic best selling beers.

    My basic question of you is why should I care that I can't have the absolute best in each of those categories so long as I have easy, convenient easy access to competitive world class examples of almost all of them?
    JackHorzempa and boddhitree like this.
  36. PancakeMcWaffles

    PancakeMcWaffles Jun 15, 2012 Germany

    I've got to go on a rant here. With the exception of Schneider I can't stand any of those companies. Schneider has always had good beer and Georg Schneider VI really seems to care about the beer culture in Germany, and the fact that they are a family owned brewery makes it even better.

    Now, Braufactum. I would really enjoy smashing bottles of Braufactum. I hate the way their head-brewer Marc Rauschmann states that they are the first to brew craft beer in germany. I hate how Radeberger uses its massive budget to boost advertisment and marketing for them. For me real german craft beer is the "Hausbrauerei", there may be many black sheep who don't give a **** about their beer amongst them, but most Hausbrauereien brew really good beers and care about beer culture. They may not stir their mash by hand like many start up breweries in the US did, but their brewing process is still a lot of work and not done by machines. For me "craft beer comes from the heart" and not from a big company smelling easy money by deceiving customers with fancy bottles and overpriced beers and marketing it as "craft beer". Let me ask you, is there any Braufactum beer you think is worth the money?
    I'd love to see those companies make good beer ALL THE TIME and not do something "special" -that really isn't interesting- for christmas just to look like a brewery that produces good beer.
    Paulaner is doing the same! Good beer does not have to be expensive as hell and marketed as "posh".

    Another rant of mine is how the big breweries have pushed "good beers" to be called "spezialbier" everywhere, I can't stand that term. Only because something is not your average bland Pilsner or Hefeweizen it doesn't have to be special! Why not have great beer all the time? I really hate how unique and interesting beers have been pushed into the "Spezialbier-corner".

    Rant is over for now, maybe some more soon :D
    I think I have to enjoy some good and tasty craft beer from my hometown now and calm down :D
    Oh yeah, I am a little late with apocalypse jokes, but I think Radeberger wanted to get a good image with Braufactum before apocalypse so they don't have to go to hell for making boring beer.
    LBerges and boddhitree like this.
  37. lotsaswigs

    lotsaswigs Jan 24, 2006 Indiana

    [quote="He may have been speaking metaphorically, like, "if I brew any non-RHG beer, who the hell would buy it?" Or he could simply be another of those brewers that slavishly, cowardly feels the RHG is the sole avenue to lend legitimacy to his beer. The RHG is a brainwashing tool to lull Germans into drinking ever worse beer but sticking loyally to it no matter what in the name of false sense of nationalism (please, no Nazi comparisons), like living off the laurels of your reputation, and they're being murdered in the market with ever fewer younger Germans who won't buy the BS and have turned to Red Bull flavored/mixed concoctions of hard liquor, their clientele slowly dieing out, and the quality going ever more to the dogs in a race to being the cheapest, but still being to advertise you're following the RHG.
    I'm not saying your friend in Goslar is doing that, but I'd love to hear from him why it's so important to adhere to this legally non-binding RHG. He may truly believe only beers brewed under the RHG's auspices are worthy beers, but his ability to brew a Gose says something good for him. But he slavishly follows his customers prejudices instead of leading by innovating? That to me, in a nutshell, is more an indictment of the German psyche or failing to think outside to box and Ordnung muss sein! (order must be) thinking.[/quote]

    I guess I wasn't clear on the speed limit thing, I meant "not actually a real law (like speed limits ARE a real law)" I know the common misperception there is no speed limit is completely false, having driven all over Germany I know they are actually quite strict on speed limits and other driving laws (which I wish the US was smart enough to adopt-especially passing only on the left and getting the hell over if you're not passing!!!), though I will say driving in the free zones on the autobahn is awesome.

    Anyways I'm not so sure the consensus here is correct, I think for German breweries they may still be required by law to brew by the RHG (my German father in law is trying to find this out for sure as I type), while the EU law simply stopped them from prohibiting beers from other countries being sold in Germany. I don't know why else the breweries in both Goslar and Leipzig told us they had to receive special permission to brew Gose if it were solely up to them. **see below (maybe just to be able to legally call it beer?)

    Also those mixed/radler type beer/fruit/cola whatever mixed beverages, from what I understand, are mixed with beer that was also brewed under the RHG, though after the fact when they are mixed and bottled they are no longer considered beer thus do not fall under these restrictions.

    I will say I think you're pretty far off on the cowardly comments, most Germans I've met don't seem to fit these descriptions. And I don't think the popularity of the mixed drinks have anything to do with the quality of beer going down (why would it, they've been following the law for hundreds of years and are well known for their beer for a good reason?), more so I think young people growing up in the type of capitalism we've exported here are falling victim to the same type of advertising tactics miller/bud/mike's hard lemonade etc. that are so successful in the US. You see ads for that crap everywhere.

    **Alright, according to my father-in-law (a pretty smart dude though obviously just one guys interpretation of the law he is reading) brewers in germany must still adhere to the RHG (or now the Biergesetz I guess) if they want to be able to call their beer beer...but from what I understand you could call it ale or whatever else you want, but then, as has been discussed above, no one would buy it...Forgive me, this is all new to me. But I will say it's obvious the law or whatever it is very confusing (now he's reading other stuff saying something else-I think the crux of the issue is taxation perhaps?) and though I don't think degrading the German beer scene is necessary or appropriate, I will agree the RHG isn't doing German breweries any favors these day IMO.
    boddhitree and PancakeMcWaffles like this.
  38. herrburgess

    herrburgess Nov 4, 2009 South Carolina
    Beer Trader

    You bring up a very valid point. There are certain pockets of U.S. craft culture (PNW, a number of spots in CA, Philly) where a living, vibrant beer culture exists and things like freshness and a reverence for tradtion(s) are of paramount importance because the majority of people are more interested in drinking a brewery's basic best-selling beer than in chasing the latest-greatest new fad. But this only reinforces my point in a way: U.S. beer culture is not some ubiquitous land of milk and honey (hmmm...honey milk stout already been done?) where everyone has access to fresh, competitive takes on the most of the world's great styles. If you want that, you actually have to travel to these places -- which I fully intend to do if I haven't already. Still, I don't think any U.S. brewer has yet to best the originals (though a handful come close, including Olde Mecklenburg in NC...luckily enough for me), and so it is worth my time -- especially if I'm living in Germany -- to seek out these sources...and get in some nice vacation time/cultural education as well. Finally, I agree with you 100% that this is the direction -- i.e. mastering the basics, and not simply spitting out more and more of the same limited releases and/or experimental extreme beers -- that U.S. craft brewing should take if it ever wishes to hold its own against the world's traditional greats. Unfortunately all too many U.S. craft beer fans seem more enamored of the newest trend than they are of the basic styles done -- and served -- right.
    LBerges likes this.
  39. PancakeMcWaffles

    PancakeMcWaffles Jun 15, 2012 Germany

    The Reinheitsgebot may have saved us from adjuncts like corn or rice, but it also killed the "Erfindergeist"... Fruit in beer? Nope, not possible! Spices? Nope!
    And the marketing of the RHG is pretty huge too, every Macro Pils is advertised with "brewed under the RHG" (Like it was some kind of a thing only premium beers have) and other things claiming purity of ingredients etc.
    Your father in law is right, in some states of germany (not all of them as far as I know) you are not allowed to call something beer that is not made following the rules of the RHG.
    Another small rant: I am always really close to yelling "go f*** yourselves" if I see TV-ads for Krombacher for example, I don't give a s*** about how clear their "Fellsquellwasser" is and how long their Gerste has been bred, the local brewpub makes beer 10 times better with average tap water.... :rolleyes:
    boddhitree likes this.
  40. boddhitree

    boddhitree Apr 13, 2008 Germany

    Go tell 'em, my man! Amen
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