If you are traveling Europe, tasting German beer is essential. Germany hosts some of the best beer in the world. Germans know this and are very proud. Indeed, people get fiercely territorial over beers. National favorites are always great, but no beer beats a local beer. One from their hometown is always the winner. Keep reading to find out our favorite German beers. We compared them for you, including taste, reputation, style, and, significantly – where they are from.
Table of Contents
Kölsch: One of the best German beers
Let’s start with a classic. Kölsch is the beer of Cologne – and a national favorite. This is a beer to drink slowly. It is a light color and similar to a lager, yet holds the hoppy tinge of ale. It has a distinct taste that you cannot rush. You also want to preserve a Kölsch as it comes in smaller glasses. They serve this beer in a special cylindrical glass: a Kölsch rod. It is small and neat, and essential to the Kölsch drinking experience.
Another national pride? Astra, the beer of Hamburg. You can see its Hamburgian roots in the anchor logo it promotes. It is strongly associated with the city, its maritime history, coolness, and popularity. The brand has expanded, now including fruit beers, premiums, and radlers. Whichever you choose, be sure to try this German beer, especially when you find yourself in Hamburg. One of the main appeals of Astra is its unique bottle – small, red and rounded. A good style bottle always helps. It stands out on a shelf and sticks in your mind.
Another German city offering excellent German beer is Dortmund. Brinkhoffs brewery dominates the area, creating pale pilsner lagers. There are specific Dortmunder favorites. However, the joy of this local beer is variety. Dortmund holds the highest concentrations of breweries in Germany. Visit, taste and choose your own preferences. All of them are real and authentic to their origins.
Licher is a regional beer of Hessen. It is a Frankfurt favorite and offers a range of beer types. From wheat beer to pilsners, to radlers, to export, Licher is a famous and vast brewery. They specialize in premium beers, rich in local value. It celebrates being from the ‘heart of nature.’ Indeed, you can recognize these beers by the classic bird logo.
This is another German beer celebrating its relationship to nature. Defined as a ‘pearl of nature,’ the mountain spring water which creates it supposedly inspires an essence of purity with every drink. Indeed, the small town of Krombach is full of natural beauty. The rural area does seem to enhance a humble, local quality to the drink. It is a standard, likable German beer – not too strong and not too rich. Bitterness is fine, and flavors are subtle. It is light and refreshing. The beauty and history of the place that created it is what makes Krombacher unique and appealing.
In the east, the city of Leipzig is rising in popularity and its beer is growing with it. Sternburg is a local beer with a history going back to the 13th Century. It is the best, yet still one of the cheapest, in the area. Sternburg receives mixed reviews. Some complain that it is bland. Indeed, it does not hold the heavy hop flavor of some beers. Yet most people rave that is a classic, the best of German beer.
Let’s not forget Germany’s capital. Berlin offers some of the best beer the country has to offer. White beer is a distinct style, cloudy, sour, and incomparable to many mainstream Western beers. Berlin bars and people at home traditionally serve Berliner Weisse in a bowl shaped glass. However, that is not the only thing that makes this beer distinctive. The blend of lactic acid and yeast creates an original, subtle milky taste. One that only adds to the richness of the beer. Make sure you grab one of these refreshing German beers and immerse yourself in the culture of the capital.
Located in the south of Germany is the Rothaus brewery. Tannenzäpfle is in small, golden, colorful bottles, classic symbols of Black Forest beer culture. Indeed the logo is a stereotypical image – a girl in a forest carrying two glasses, called the Biergit. This German beer originated in the 50s when smaller 0.33l bottles were more common. This tradition has continued, making drinking these more of an occasion drink, rather than a mainstream beer. You do not want to drink too many at once anyway, they are strong and rich.
Finally, you cannot discuss German beer without considering Munich. It is home to the Oktoberfest and globally renowned for its collection of beer. We have narrowed it down to two Munich favorites. One of these is Augustiner. The Helles is the most popular. A bit lighter than a common pilsner, it is pale and flavorsome. Old and independent, this brewery is full of history. Be sure to try out their Weissbier while you are in Bavaria.
The second beer of Munich is Paulaner. This is the Oktoberfest stereotype. The one drank in liter glasses and spilled over the table when you swing it back and forth. Indeed, they brew it specifically for the annual occasion. For those of you who like German wheat beer, this is the one to try. Especially in Munich, beer drinking is an experience in itself. Embrace it – drink in beer halls, wear lederhosen and dirndl, listen to German folk bands. Many stereotypes, lots of fun.
You will struggle to find a German who does not love a good beer. This is for a reason. German beer is globally renowned. People travel here to embrace the culture and its incredible range of drinks. The excellent quality partly stems from the Reinheitsgebot, a purity law that regulates beer production. Ingredients are limited and standards are strict. This, combined with national and local passion, makes German beer probably the best in the world.