Ranking your favorite German breweries.

Discussion in 'Beer Talk' started by ZAP, Jul 16, 2019.

  1. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,829) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    I've yet to go to Germany so my rankings only include those that make their way to the U.S. I was thinking about this the other day and had a hard time nailing down a list. I'd be curious what others think and particularly what those who have been to Germany or live there think.

    I'm basing this on their collection of beers. Mine would go like this.

    1. Andechs (My top doppelbock)
    2. Ayinger (My top Hefe)
    3. Weihenstephaner (2nd favorite Hefe and doppel)
    4. Hoffbrau (Love their Maibock and Dunkel)
    5. Paulaner (My top ofest, Salvator also great)
    6. Spaten
    7. Hacker-Pschorr
    8. Warsteiner
  2. Immortale25

    Immortale25 Poo-Bah (3,048) May 13, 2011 North Carolina

    That Andechs Dopplebock is indeed the shit. Sorry, I have nothing else to contribute. Ha
  3. alucard6679

    alucard6679 Aspirant (225) Jul 29, 2012 Arizona

    1. Weihenstephaner
    2. Ayinger
    3. Aecht Schlenkerla
    4. Hofbrau
    5. Paulaner
    6. Schneider
    7. Spaten
    8. Hacker Pschorr
    9. Andechs
    10. Erdinger
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  4. lastmango

    lastmango Champion (815) Dec 11, 2014 Pennsylvania

    Unfortunately, I have not made it to Germany yet. My tops:

    1. Paulaner (My top Hefe and Doppel -Salvator; 2nd Helles)
    2. Weihenstephaner (Second fave Hefe and Doppel; top Weizenbock, Pils and Helles)
    3. Aecht Schlenkerla (Rauchbier Marzen and Eiche)
    4. Andechs (3rd Doppel, 3rd Helles)
    5. Hofbrau (Love their Winter Special and Festbier)
    6. Schneider (Aventis Weizenbock)
    7. Aying (Celebrator Doppel and Dunkel)
    8. Spaten (Doppel)
  5. nc41

    nc41 Poo-Bah (1,943) Sep 25, 2008 North Carolina

    I’ll only see Germany in pictures, so I’m definitely a novice here. But Weihenstephaner and Hacker Pschorr would be my favorites, so the Hefe and Oktoberfest respectively.
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  6. bbtkd

    bbtkd Poo-Bah (2,745) Sep 20, 2015 South Dakota
    Society Trader

    1. Weihenstephaner
    2. Ayinger
    3. Hofbräu
    This is based on my review score for the beer I liked best from each. Seven of the thirteen German beers I've had are Weihenstephaner. I need to try more German beers.

    In 1988 I flew through Germany once on my way to Africa, and spent a 12-hour layover in Frankfurt. Unfortunately this was long before I really got into good beer. I had a beer, don't recall what it was.
  7. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (2,031) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    Great thread idea. Hoping to pick up some suggestions from people.

    First two based on my time spent in Germany. The others are favorites that I enjoy here. Rothaus is now distributed here, but I’ve only seen the Pilsner.

    Martins Brau
    Schneider Weisse

    I’d love to try more from the breweries collaborating with Sierra Nevada:


    And also:

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  8. hopsputin

    hopsputin Poo-Bah (1,888) Apr 1, 2012 New Jersey

    1. Weihenstephaner
    2. Ayinger
    3. Aecht Schlenkerla
    4. Hofbrau
    5. Hacker-Pschorr
    6. Spaten
    7. Paulener
    8. Erdinger

    @TheGent mentioned Rothaus, which I've also seen around here but only the Pilsner. It's awesome though, and I'd love to see more from them. Don't think I've had the Andechs Dopplebock, but from the looks of this thread I need to get on that.
  9. Buck89

    Buck89 Poo-Bah (2,924) Feb 7, 2015 Tennessee
    Society Trader

    Great thread. I also haven’t been to Germany, but for me:

    Aecht Schlenkerla

    This is motivating me to expand my horizons.
  10. steveh

    steveh Poo-Bah (2,270) Oct 8, 2003 Illinois

    Please don't make me choose a favorite child. :wink:
  11. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,155) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The fundamental issue here to my mind is which German brewed beers consistently arrive here in fresh conditions. I am not aware of any German brewed beers that have the fresh beer initiative as instituted for Pilsner Urquell as a point of example.

    FWIW I have been able to find Weihenstephaner beer brands in fresher conditions than other German brewed beers and since they are also brewed to high quality standards I suppose that would be my favorite?

    I am a fan of Rothaus Pilsner but at a price of 16 bucks a 6-pack and old this is not a beer I am willing to purchase.

    The majority of commercially brewed German beer style beers that I purchase are US craft brewed beers since in my area (Philly area) there are plenty of high quality brewed German styled beers available to me fresh (e.g.. less than 1 month from packaging).

    For my personal consumption the most German style beers I drink are those I homebrew.

    If you can find quality German brewed beers in good condition (i.e., fresh) I recommend that you buy them (and I hope that your local beer stores are 'better' than mine in this regard).

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  12. Gutes_Bier

    Gutes_Bier Disciple (353) Jul 31, 2011 Germany

    1) Uerige
    2) Rothaus
    3) Bamberg
  13. rtrasr

    rtrasr Disciple (311) Feb 16, 2009 Arkansas

    1. Radeberger
    2. Kostritzer
    3. Paulaner
    4. Weihenstephaner
    5. Rothaus

    Of course that is subject to change.
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  14. TheGent

    TheGent Poo-Bah (2,031) Jun 29, 2010 New Jersey
    Society Trader

    This is the main reason why I do not buy German beers. I do love them though.

    Last Summer I found Weihenstephaner Hefe and it was 4 months from packaging. This is the freshest I’ve ever seen it here, and the flavor and aroma reflected that.

    Are there any that you consistently find fresh?

    Edit: I should add that the beers canned here by B. United have been great.
  15. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,274) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    I've had more beers from Weihenstephan than from any other German brewery, and they were all excellent. The Hefeweissbier and Kristallweissbier are my favorites, the former because it's awesome and the latter because it's the most beautiful pour I've ever seen.

    Full disclosure, though: after having my DNA tested and discovering that I'm not German despite what I was told growing up, I crossed Germany off my bucket list. Now I want to go to England for the cask ales and Scotland for the whisky. :slight_smile:


    I'm also African-American, apparently. :wink:
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  16. cheeseheadinMinneapolis

    cheeseheadinMinneapolis Aspirant (225) Sep 20, 2017 Minnesota

    Ayinger, most of there beers
    Weltenburger Kloster Asam-Bock, Barock Dunkel
    Aecht Schlenkerla
    plus others
    what ever is available and fresh
    Spaceman_Jer and Roadkizzle like this.
  17. cheeseheadinMinneapolis

    cheeseheadinMinneapolis Aspirant (225) Sep 20, 2017 Minnesota

    [QUOTE="dcotom, post: 6566081, member: 839463"
    Full disclosure, though: after having my DNA tested and discovering that I'm not German despite what I was told growing up, I crossed Germany off my bucket list. Now I want to go to England for the cask ales and Scotland for the whisky. . :wink:[/QUOTE]
    Ireland and Scotland: can be Celtic, Celtic were Germans 2000 years ago?? I'm I wrong???
  18. tigg924

    tigg924 Poo-Bah (5,120) Apr 30, 2008 Massachusetts

    Went to Germany last year and it was amazing. Spent most of my time around Bamberg, so my list is Bamberg heavy. Need to plot my way back and explore other German beer regions.

    1) Schlenkerla
    2) Weihenstephaner
    3) Augustiner
    4) Mahrs
    5) Spezial
    6) Flensburger
    7) Einbecker
    8) Greifenklau
    9) Keesmann
    10) Ayinger
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  19. JackHorzempa

    JackHorzempa Poo-Bah (4,155) Dec 15, 2005 Pennsylvania

    The best that I can say (as I posted) is that Weihenstephaner are fresher than the beers from other German breweries typically. I will not say that those Weihenstephaner brands are less than 4 months old though.

    To repeat myself:

    "The majority of commercially brewed German beer style beers that I purchase are US craft brewed beers since in my area (Philly area) there are plenty of high quality brewed German styled beers available to me fresh (e.g.. less than 1 month from packaging)."

    Hopefully in Jersey you can find the beers from Sly Fox, Neshaminy Creek and others in fresh condition too?

    Premo88 likes this.
  20. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,466) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    I lived in Germany, I go back just about every year. There are so many good breweries. The lack of some on here shows it is import centric.

    And so on
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  21. cheeseheadinMinneapolis

    cheeseheadinMinneapolis Aspirant (225) Sep 20, 2017 Minnesota

    KROPF DARK, that settles it. this thread is closed:wink:
  22. jeebeel

    jeebeel Initiate (176) Jun 17, 2003 Texas

    Absolutely. And I'll to your excellent short list (especially Kneitinger) with some more good ones:

    Zum Schluessel
    Waldschlossbrauerei Frammersbach
    and on and on ...
  23. dcotom

    dcotom Poo-Bah (2,274) Aug 4, 2014 Iowa
    Society Trader

    Well, I do know that some of my ancestors were hill folk back in the "old country," and that most of my family are hillbillies today. (Maybe that's why I'm partial to Highland single malts??)
  24. SFACRKnight

    SFACRKnight Meyvn (1,351) Jan 20, 2012 Colorado

    Coloradogets shit on when it comes to German distro. But my list looks like this...
    1. Ayinger and it ain't even close. Jarhundert bier is one of my favorite beers of all time.
    2. Sherlenkerla . I haven't seen the helles, and we didnt get the fastenbier, but everything else is great.
    3. Everything else. After my top two I am just as likely to pick up a paulaner as I am a hacker pschorr. Nothing wrong with these beers, I just like ayinger and Scherlakerla a bit more.
  25. rgordon

    rgordon Savant (975) Apr 26, 2012 North Carolina

    These lists are pretty good really. Traveling in Germany gives you an idea of beer and culture combined, and beers are in every town. The beers are not nearly as monolithic as many assume.
  26. HopBelT

    HopBelT Meyvn (1,485) Mar 18, 2014 Belgium
    Society Trader

    6.Crew Republic
  27. ZAP

    ZAP Poo-Bah (3,829) Dec 1, 2001 Minnesota

    Are these readily available or very local? For instance if you were in Munich would you be able to find these?
  28. Lingenbrau

    Lingenbrau Poo-Bah (3,408) Apr 9, 2011 Oregon

    Aecht Schlenkerla
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  29. EmperorBatman

    EmperorBatman Initiate (75) Mar 16, 2018 District of Columbia

    1. Ayinger (Alt Bayrisch is one of my favorite beers in the world, and their Oktoberfest is the best as well)
    2. Schneider
    3. Weihenstephaner
    4. Münchner Augustiner
    5. Hofbräu
    6. Jever
    7. Paulaner
    8. Bitburger
    9. Köstritzer
    10. Gaffel

    Austrian brands (related, but not German:wink:)
    1. Trumer
    2. Augustiner-Müllner Bräu
    3. Stiegl
    4. Ottakringer
    5. Gösser
  30. surfcaster

    surfcaster Zealot (543) Apr 20, 2013 North Carolina

    My favorite is a glass on the patio in that nondescript Bavarian town enjoyed alongside locals. The experience is easy to replicate throughout that region.

    Otherwise give me an Oktoberfest beginning in September and typically get a six/four of all ones above but last year really enjoyed the Hofbrau whereas it has not always been my favorite.
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  31. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,088) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    @ZAP see the two posts above, especially @hopfenunmaltz 's.

    Do you want JUST imports? Because you'll get wildly different lists depending on one's experience traveling to Germany.

    This would be akin to going to the Germany forum and asking them to list their favorite US beers. And the list might look something like this...

    1) Stone
    2) Sierra Nevada
    3) Dogfish Head

    Whereas my list might go something like this because I'm in the US...

    1) Notch
    2) Hill Farmstead
    3) Allagash

    I think you'll be ok going to England for cask ales and Scotland for Scotch. :wink:
  32. hopfenunmaltz

    hopfenunmaltz Meyvn (1,466) Jun 8, 2005 Michigan

    You can find some of those in Munich if you try.
    Tegernsee has an outlet in Munich, right across from Schneider.
    Schönram can be found in Munich.
    AlcahueteJ likes this.
  33. snegopady

    snegopady Initiate (90) Sep 26, 2009 New Jersey

    Ayinger and Bayerischer Bahnhof.
  34. rozzom

    rozzom Champion (823) Jan 22, 2011 New York

    Exactly. If someone started a “best British breweries” thread, then no doubt - despite it being 2019 - we’d still see Sam Smiths being mentioned (shudder).

    @dcotom congrats. Scottish (well three quarters Scottish and a quarter English - I don’t talk about the second part) here, born in Glasgow. Just got back from a London>Cotswolds>East Lothian trip with my wife and two small kids. You’ll have a great time when you make it over.
  35. invertalon

    invertalon Crusader (777) Jan 27, 2009 Ohio
    Society Trader

    This is an extremely tough question. I was fortunate last month to take a bucket-list trip to Germany and enjoy beers in Cologne, Dusseldorf, Munich and Bamberg over two weeks. Needless to say, Germany is filled with the best beer in the world IMO. I thought that before the trip even, just based on the imports, but after visiting it’s just forever confirmed in my mind.

    That being said, I think it’s almost too hard to choose favorites, but I will try anyway with my ‘approximate tops!

    1.) Augustiner … This may be the only one on the list that I’m sure of. Went there three of four times, at multiple locations while in Munich and was just blown away with each visit. The Lagerbier (from the barrel!), Edelstoff, Dunkel, Maibock… All phenomenal. If I went back to Munich and could only go to one brewery, this would be it. Just last week I found a local import shop that actually had 6-packs of Edelstoff, actually kept cold and fresh most importantly, which has made my heart grow fonder even more… Needless to say, I’m headed back to buy even more!

    2.) Spezial in Bamberg – So when it comes down strictly to the beer, Schlenkerla would edge Spezial out. However, I’d give the nod to Spezial when in Bamberg due to a larger variety available (a few beers versus just two at Schlenkerla) plus that incredible Spezial-Keller location on top of the hill. Just a better overall ‘experience’, if you will. I am a Rauchbier fein, so visiting this city was just unreal.

    3.) Cologne… This pick my be cheap, but I say Cologne as a whole… The Kolsch served all over is just incredible and it’s just too difficult to pick particular favorites… Päffgen, Peters, Gaffel, Gilden, Fruh, Reissdorf, etc.. I just love absolutely love this city and it’s beer. The small nuisances between the flavors of the Kolsch between the different breweries is an experience. Some with a bit more noble hop characters, others with more malt complexity… But all so crisp and beautiful.

    4.) Hofbrauhaus… Now, we only walked through the touristy location in Munich, but did go to the beer garden (Hofbräukeller) and had one of the best Helles of the trip. The Garden was beautiful, relaxed and really wish we spent more time here. Back home, we go to our Cleveland location once and a while and always enjoy the beer immensely. The imports are top notch as well, with last year’s Oktoberfest being the best. Can’t wait for this years!

    5.) Paulaner … Also one of our most frequently visited while in Munich. Always amazing beer, fantastic food as well. The Paulaner Oktoberfest is a classic, one of which I need to buy each year! Always been a huge fan.

    That’s my best shot… Aside from #1 though, it’s just too difficult… Aecht Schlenkerla, Keesman, Ayinger, Schneider, Köstritzer, Rothaus… All up there as well and many others I’m forgetting, I’m sure. We simply just had too much incredible beer over there!
  36. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (349) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Probably Henninger. It's Frankfurt's beer, but I've never seen it in the states.
    bbtkd likes this.
  37. officerbill

    officerbill Disciple (349) Feb 9, 2019 New York

    Don't be too hasty. My father in law's parents came to NYC from a small town south of the Danish border in 1930. My mother in law's parents arrived from Hamburg in 1927. Both families can trace their German ancestors back at least 3 generations in their home towns. My wife's Ancestry DNA results showed her to be 66% English, 20% "western European", followed by Scandinavian & other.
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  38. Domingo

    Domingo Poo-Bah (2,618) Apr 23, 2005 Colorado

    Someone asked me this the other day and I'm not sure I can. It's tough to compare a brewery like Weihenstephaner that brews a dozen or more wonderful items to a place like Schumacher that might have 2.

    Generally speaking, I feel like most of the breweries that are near but not actually in Munich produce a very high level of beers. Andechs, Weihenstephaner, and Ayinger being prime examples. In Munich I'd say Augustiner and Hofbrau are head and shoulders above the others, although everyone has at least 1-2 gems.

    In Bamberg there aren't many bad beers to be had and there are about 25 great ones. There are some places with occasional consistency issues, though.

    Haven't been to Regensberg, but the bottles I've had from there are pretty amazing. Flavor profiles remind me of the breweries surrounding Munich.

    Never had anything less than stellar from Dusseldorf or Cologne. They might not have much in terms of variety, but they do what they do rather well. Fresh altbier is something to behold. I appreciate Kolsch, but it doesn't captivate me like it does some people.

    Outside of those areas, Jever and Rothaus are making great beers in other regions.
  39. abovethearch

    abovethearch Initiate (26) Sep 26, 2016 Ohio

    I’ve lurked on here long before an account. This is a great subject (even though I can only get what imports Ohio allows in), and I’d add (for my first post):

    Julius Echter Hefe-Weissebier Hell (Wurzburger Hofbrau).

    While I could concede that the Andechs might be the best of this category, I love that Julius has its differences as less sweet, less tart, less clove, and more like drinking an apricot inside-out without at all being like a wit.
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  40. AlcahueteJ

    AlcahueteJ Meyvn (1,088) Dec 4, 2004 Massachusetts

    What a garbage list...not one IPA on there.

    But seriously, I'm planning on possibly hitting up Oktoberfest (I've already been) next fall and doing this exact trip. Dusseldorf, Cologne, and Bamberg (never been to any of them), and obviously Munich.

    My brother wants to go, but my other brother is hesitant since he's a Bud Light drinker...