Let me tell you something, I don’t know anything about beer. I am not a heavy drinker as well and I am too old to frequent bars and clubs for randy drinking! But since I came to Germany, I got somehow “educated” about German culture and yes, about their beer drinking culture. I realized that drinking beer is not just a pastime to get drunk and get wasted, or worst, wake up to a stingy hangover. I was totally mistaken…
Here’s how Beer changed my view ;
I live in a town where not only the sleek Audi cars rule the streets, but also a town full of fun-loving Bavarians and Ausländers ( or Foreigners) who loves to drink beer. It’s a lifestyle here, a culture, a tradition and a way of LIFE. It’s like a passion everyday, people here have a reason to always celebrate and sit with friends in the Biergartens and of course, its not complete without a Beer! It doesn´t matter what´s your skin color! Nowadays I even see many foreigners with different skin color and ethnicity loving this cozy tradition. During Volkfests and Oktoberfest, they wear Dirndls and Lederhosen, gulping a big mouthful of Beer. I have written about this in so many posts here in my Blog and this one is not an exception, after all, this is a expat-lifestyle Blog so I love to write so many crazy, unique and one of a kind Expat experiences!
Wilkommen in Bayern, that’s what my neighbors say.I think everyone who moves to Germany can relate to this. In Germany, beer is a F-O-O-D, and not an alcoholic drink. I learned this from my Deutsch teacher. That only means that here in Bayern, Beer [ das Bier] is considered as important as staple foods such as bread. Speaking of bread, Germans have a wonderful world of bread. It’s also another culture but I’m not going to talk more about breads since this post is intended for beer.I hope to finish my draft post about Breads so you would know as well why I am a total convert as well with regards to Bread.
I have to agree that after almost 2 years of living here, I am convinced that Bavarian beer is among the best in the world. It is in fact a “No wonder”. Since 1516, for centuries now, this amber golden liquid has been brewed from nothing other than barley, hops and water of the highest quality. Duke William IV issued a decree for the Bavarian Purity Law in 1516 at a meeting of the Bavarian Estates in Ingolstadt. The ruling was proclaimed in the spacious courtyard of the Neues Schloss and extended the existing brewing regulations to the whole of Bavaria.
And to think that I don’t know anything about Hops!
For beer brewing, hops are so important because they add spice, durability and, last but not least, lather to the drink. But in hops is so much more! This creeper plant contains a resin with valuable bitter substances and essential oils. They are also used as Arnzei and help with loss of appetite, stomach weakness and restlessness. Hops generally have a calming effect but stimulate the metabolism! Because I am so eager to learn more about Beer, we decided to visit a Brewery and of course….the Hop fields! You can see it in my separate posts about this wonderful experience.I hope to return to the Hop fields soon and be engrossed more!
Last month, I attended a private Stadt führung (an organized tour) and our Tour Guide explained to us that in the early days, people are getting sick from drinking beer. Not only getting highly intoxicated but for longer times of drinking, its quite unhealthy. Up in the north of Germany, there are rumors that they are adding intoxicating herbs in their brew that’s why they came up with Beer Purity Law. So you see, be it consumer protection or not, Germans not only wants to enjoy drinking beer, they also take care of what they drink, making sure it does not damage the health.
My husband attends a Beer Tour almost every year together with friends. Our city ohrganized a yearly Beer festival and they´ve had the chance to try different types of Beer from different breweries. So when it comes to variations, I think he knows better than me.What I am trying to say is,that beer drinking in Germany is not a vice, its history tells me that this liquid gold is part of this generation and continues to be a distinctive facet of German culture.
If you are patient enough to dig in to facts and figures, then you can have a wide read about the Beer Purity Law . But to give you an excerpt, in short, the apex of the 1516 Beer Purity Law states :
“In particular we decree that from now on, no ingredients other than barley, hops and water are to be used in all beers in all our towns and markets as well as in the country.”
“Bier ist unter den Getränken das nützlichste, unter den Arzneien das schmackhafteste und unter den Nahrungsmitteln das angenehmste.”
or in English ;
“Beer is the most useful among the drinks, the tastiest among the medicines and the most pleasant among the foods.”
What is so interesting to know that half of the world might not know this but Beer here in Bavaria is actually made from finest ingredients.Water, hops, malt and yeast. These are the ingredients prescribed in the Bayerisches Reinheitsgebot which are predominantly essentials in brewing beer. The plus points: these ingredients not only provide a tasty result, but also provide valuable ingredients.
Every year, we have 2 major feasts here. The Frühlingsfest and the Herbsfest. In this time we have the traditional Volksfest where Beer tents are laid for 2 weeks just like the major Oktoberfest in Munich. On a typical day, like on Weekend markets, the market square in the city center is always filled with locals enjoying this tradition.
From April 27~29, we had our “Fest zum Reinen Bier” and we watched the reenactment or “Die Ausfuhrung des Reinheitsgebot 1516 “. What is so exciting about this historical event is that the declaration of the law was read at exactly 15:16 hours, or 3:15 in the afternoon.The festivity started with a colorful parade and lead up to the Beer exhibition tents near the Hohe Schule and to the Bier brunnen. On the following days, a series of “Walking Act”through the Dollstrasse, Roseneckstrasse and Kanalstrasse was made.All tables are full of people, visitors, and families enjoying beer .
This event was filled of many fascinating programs.I find it quite cool because they always have something for adults and children so the parents can enjoy time while kids are playing.There’s also the Probierführung 1516 ( or the Beer Tasting) organized by the top Breweries where participants can learn more of the history of Beer brewing and sample a taste of different types of Beer.
Classical performances by different bands and talented artists graced the event with their musicals and concerts.It is really a Festive event here.Every year is never the same and I am being fascinated every single time that I witness it.
The Georgitag, which happens on Monday, April 23 was the actual date of announcing the most important Food Law probably in the whole world here in Ingolstadt.On this day, almost 100 Liters of Beer flows from the fountain for everyone to enjoy! FOR FREE! Two of the major breweries here in Ingolstadt, the Herrnbräu and Nordbräu sponsored this wonderful event.
I am not a heavy beer drinker, but what I like about this culture is the “gemutlich ” or the coziness it brings. It’s always lovely to see people dressed up in Lederhose and Dirndls and having a festive mood no matter what your status in life. Germans still rides their bikes after drinking beer and I find that outstanding!
On the health side, its good to know that drinking beer also has proven to be a means of preventing osteoporosis, it reduces the risk of getting kidney stones and its blood-thinning effect affects strokes. The important thing is an “appropriate and moderate drinking pattern”. Those who consume about 0.5 to 1 liter of beer a day in connection with food achieve, on average, the greatest health-promoting effect.
So what happens when you enjoy the Beer culture? This photo of my daughter says it all.
When you have the chance to visit Germany, you should try it yourself and have a taste of the authentic Bavarian beer, and don’t forget, when you say “Prost!” (Cheers) , you should have an eye contact with people you drink with!
Until next time on my Bavarian stories, Dankeschön and Tschüss!