Home / General / World Heritage Status for German Beer Purity Laws?

World Heritage Status for German Beer Purity Laws?


I guess there’s nothing really wrong with granting UNESCO World Heritage status to the German beer purity laws. I mean, whatever, I guess laws holding back the development of more interesting beer is some kind of heritage. But let’s not overstate the case here:

“If Germany is still regarded as the undisputed beer nation, that is due to the Reinheitsgebot,” said Hans-Georg Eils, president of the German Brewers’ Federation.

Well, no one in their right mind who is not actually German thinks Germany is still regarded as the undisputed beer nation, so we can move on. Maybe #3 beer nation. But certainly no higher.

  • Facebook
  • Twitter
  • Google+
  • Linkedin
  • Pinterest
  • wengler

    The problem with the Reinheitsgebot is that it doesn’t include ketchup.

  • agorabum

    A German purity law? What could go wrong…
    Obviously 1 and 2 are the US and Belgium; Germany and the UK can fight it out for 3rd and 4th.

    • Matt_L

      Belgium #1 & Cascadia #2 other parts of the US maybe #3 tied with the UK. Germany is lucky to make it into the top five.

      • Denverite


        • Anonymous

          If you’re including Great Divide, I’ll back you 100%. Best damn collection of beers I ever had. Each one knocked my socks off.

          That said, I bet the Delaware Valley would like a word with the author of this thread.

      • Vermont


        Exhibit a: heady topper
        Exhibit b: hill farmstead

      • ericblair

        Belgium #1

        Absolutely. If kriek lambic is wrong I don’t wanna be right.

        • Lambic Doux at La Becasse in Brussels

        • Matt_L

          an acquaintance of mine who was a beer judge and capable home-brewer the most innovative and interesting beers came from regions where wine making and beer brewing overlapped. While other regions might be able to produce capable and well crafted beers that upheld tradition, it was Belgium and the Pacific Northwest that truly innovated and explored the possibilities of beer and its attendant influence on Dasein.

        • Agreed with Belgium at #1: Saison Dupont is sublime (as are the various Krieks and other Lambic styles).

      • pseudonymous in nc

        Cascadia #2

        No. One of these days, west coast brewers will come out of adolescence and stop treating brewing like a soda fountain, but I’m not holding my breath.

        But that’s a fantastically trolly ranking.

    • blowback

      Why the US? It mostly just does knock-offs of other peoples beers and outside of certain limited areas the availability is not good. For instance, in just about any town in the UK, I can go into a public house and buy a pint of beer that is way better than about 93% of the beer in the United States.

      • I live in the 61st biggest metro area in the U.S. and American beers on tap that are far better than Newcastle or whatever are easily found at many establishments.

        • blowback

          What’s this Newcastle you are referring to? Newcastle Brown Ale? Wouldn’t touch it with a bargepole unless I was making a stew. It makes quite a good carbonnade and that’s about it.

      • Richard Hershberger

        While it is certainly true that the most popular and widely distributed beers in America are collectively terrible, is there any significant area of America left where good beer is unavailable? What do I care that we are awash in lousy beer, so long as I don’t have to drink it, and can get the good stuff?

        • mattH

          Had a military acquaintance who served time in Oklahoma near the Texas border and he had a hell of a time finding good beer on tap. I think the nearest brewer was 50+ miles away and their brews were getting panned pretty hard.

      • Rigby Reardon

        I can go into a public house and buy a pint of beer that is way better than about 93% of the beer in the United States.

        I don’t care whether you’re talking about 93% of the available brands or 93% of the total quantity of beer produced – I call bullshit either way.

      • Dave Brockington

        Why the US? It mostly just does knock-offs of other peoples beers and outside of certain limited areas the availability is not good. For instance, in just about any town in the UK, I can go into a public house and buy a pint of beer that is way better than about 93% of the beer in the United States.

        Wow. I’ve lived in England for ten years, I’m a CAMRA member with lifetime membership, I’m from Seattle, I used to be a brewer . . . and I call bullshit on that statement.

        • blowback

          Which part do you call BS on?
          That about 93% of American beer is not good? Craft brewers in the US account for just over 6% of the market by volume (2012), and name me one really good beer from a non-craft source, because I’ve never found one on my admittedly limited travels across the US. As to the quality of some of the “craft beers”, I have my doubts as well.
          Or is it the bit about knock-offs? Name me all the styles of beer that are unique to the US, not just European recipes made with different or more hops and malts. Bacon maple ale?

          • dave brockington

            My first two peer reviewed articles, published 17 and 18 years ago, were about styles of beer developed in the United States. In my experience here in England, the stylistic range outside of a very rare pub in a very rare city (e.g. the White Horse Parsons Green) is limited to a couple hand pumps of the local / regional take on English ale, four lagers, a really bad cider, and Guinness. Maybe Becks in a bottle if you’re lucky. The attitude you’re demonstrating, based on a self-admitted “limited” travels to the US, is one of pointless prejudice informed by ignorance.

            My observation, informed by a decade living here, and a not insubstantial amount of travel in all four constituent countries of the United Kingdom, is that curiosity in beer styles aside from the *one* brewed in a given region is rare to non-existent. In terms of innovation and curiosity, the UK is well over a generation behind the United States.

            And finally, ultimately, every beer style is a variant on another, just with more or different malts or hops.

            But what do I know?

            Finally, according to your self-serving definition of “style”, what the hell has Britain innovated that doesn’t involve simply more or different malts or hops to a pre-existing style?

      • agorabum

        Sure, plenty of fine beers in the UK. But what are the most popular? The top 5 in the UK are:
        Stella Artois, Foster’s, Carling, Carlsberg, Budweiser.
        Not anything special to brag about.
        In general, UK beer is in a more narrow band of flavor profiles. The US has changed a lot, and haws micros just about everywhere, with a much wider variety. You can get just about anything, and the US beer warehouses / distribution stores (like BevMo and other ‘Big Booze Box’ stores) allow anyone to buy from the wide selection.
        Old ways die slow, so if you step into a small town saloon in say, Oklahoma, you probably won’t see anything special. But every town in California, Washington, Colorado, Oregon, etc. has a bar with fine microbrew options.

        • blowback

          I quite agree with you about the top five selling beers in the UK but that was not my argument.
          As to the rest, the UK has an expanding range of flavour profiles having started from a larger base than the US and also benefiting from the growth of microbreweries. The coverage of Belgian and German styles beers brewed within the UK is not good but why bother when you can get the real thing just a Ryanair flight away. As for availability, I can walk into my local supermarket and buy well over a hundred different beers covering most British and continental styles and the town has a population similar to Cortez, CO.

          • agorabum

            I’ve been in Beertopia states with high microbrew per capita levels and excellent access (no need for a Ryanair Southwest flight…), so hard to say if coverage is bad… but was in western PA not too long ago and had a pretty tasty imperial creme brule stout from a nearby brewery – and the store where I bought it had growlers to take it on tap. As well as many other micros. Dunno about the supermarket, though.
            But there are twice as many breweries in the US as in the UK. CAMRA is doing good work, and plenty of micros are opening in the UK…the UK recently passed the 1000 brewery mark – twice as many as 10 years ago. But the US has 2500 – and has been over the 1000 mark for more than 10 years.
            In 1976, we’d be way down on that list. But now, we have the breweries…and we take the crown with sheer numbers.

      • PhillyOC

        That is the most rediculous thing I have ever heard. Bro, do you even beer?

  • Manju

    Well, better this than Purity Balls.

    • Indeed, I don’t have a tux to wear to the purity ball!

      • Does anyone where a tux to a purity ball? I always assumed it was like dads in ill-fitting suits or poorly ironed trousers and sports coats, ties declaring their affiliation with various profession sport franchises, the animal they are most fond of hunting for sport, or, in the case of that one guy who won’t shut up about what a wild child he was before he realized Jesus wanted him to hate gays and women, something from the J. Garcia collection; and the girls in white crinoline that makes them look like something halfway between a real doll and the work of someone Hannibal Lecter plays go with by correspondence?

        • Tom Servo

          I was invited to a family member’s daughter’s debutante cotillion. Not really a purity ball, but not far off I guess. Really bizarre and strangely depressing.

          • debutante ball:purity ball::Larry the Cable Guy show:Klan rally

            • Tom Servo

              You know that’s not far off. It was one of the most surreal experiences of my life. Mostly people from places like Texas and South Carolina. The band actually played Dixie.

              Hopefully the last time I ever have to wear white tie. If anything, the experience completely reaffirmed my belief in the importance of diversity.

              • Tom Servo

                I misread your analogy. I’ve never been to a purity ball and have no interest in doing so to verify your analogy.

                • Rigby Reardon

                  So a purity ball is the only missing piece of that analogy for you?

                • Manju

                  So a purity ball is the only missing piece of that analogy for you?


          • LeeEsq

            Fun fact: The High School proms were invented to be a debutante balls for the masses.

      • Manju

        Wait! I just meant Tim Tebow’s cojones.

    • Wouldn’t a more accurate name be Purity Blue Balls?

  • Eric

    Number 2? Really? Belgium is clearly first, but no overly hoppy flood of American craft beers will make the US second ahead of Germany. Ever.

    • Belgium for the variety, the Czech Republic for the Pilsners, but Germany has some great beers, including interesting styles (Schwarzbier, Alt, Kolsch, Urbock, etc). Eli says still tied for second although the industry has really suffered from consolidation. Denmark has some lovely Porters.

      Problem with the US is besides BudCoorsMiller there are no real original styles. Good beers, but not original.

      • Anonymous

        Rauchbier bitte!

      • butcher pete

        Anchor Steam

      • djw

        Problem with the US is besides BudCoorsMiller there are no real original styles. Good beers, but not original.

        Completely absurd, nonsensical claim.

        • dmf


      • Manny Kant

        I’d say the big issue is that, while there are many very good beers made in the US, the median quality beer drunk in the United States is terrible, whereas the median quality beer in Germany is pretty good. Germany isn’t going to have as nice fancy beer bars as the US, but it’s average bar for non-beer snobs is going to sell much better beer than such a bar in the US would.

        That’s not nothing.

        • dmf

          I think you mean “average”. The median of US beers does not get weighed down by the copious amounts of skunk water drunk at backyard BBQs and sporting events.

          • Manny Kant

            Not the median type of beer, but the median beer. As in, if you line up every bottle, can, or draught pint of beer that someone has drunk in the last year in order from best to worst, the one that is in the middle. I’d guess it’s a Budweiser or thereabouts.

            • Aaron Morrow

              “if you line up every bottle, can, or draught pint of beer that someone has drunk in the last year in order from best to worst”

              then you have the mean beer.

              Are you assuming that so much Bud, Coors, and Miller is drunk that it overwhelms the population and we effectively have a normal distribution of the three?

              • Anonymous

                A friend was joking the other day about the kind of joint that serves lousy beer. He said he knows he’s in the wrong place when he asks, “What kind of beer do you have?” and they tell him, “We have pretty much everything.” No, you don’t, but now I know what you do have: Bud, Bud Light, Bud Lime, Coors, and maybe (around here) Labatts.

                We live in marvelous times in the US when it comes to beer, but like our heath care it is not universally accessible.

              • Manny Kant

                The mean beer would be if you add up all the beer and then divide it by the number of beers. Whereas the median would be the middle beer in quality out of all the beers drunk. In this particular case that might work out to the same thing.

          • ericblair

            The median of US beers does not get weighed down by the copious amounts of skunk water drunk at backyard BBQs and sporting events.

            I think that applies everywhere. The generic cheaper piss-up suds in Belgium is Jupiler which IMO is no great fucking shakes either.

            • dmf

              On a related note, for the first 3 months or so after I moved to the Netherlands I misread all the signs and thought the beer was called “Jupiter”.

      • rea

        And of course, Bud is now owned by Belgians, so naturally Belgium is the king beer country

      • dmf

        Between Amager, Mikkeller, and Evil Twin I would say Denmark has a helluva lot more than “some lovely porters”.

        • Well, the bulk of Mikkeller beers are brewed in Belgium :)

          Anybody who writes off Germany has never visited Bamberg (and the region of Franconia). Also a wine region, FWIW.

          If you took the mythical “”man/woman on the street” in each country (i.e. not a beer geek) what would his/her typical beer be? I’d guess the German one would be better. There is a lot of dreck drunk in Belgium — a huge chunk of the “Craft beer” is exported to the US and the UK.

          If you want up and coming breaking the mold kind of beers, look to Italy. Number 3 in Europe in number of breweries (after Germany and UK) and not limited by having a traditional beer culture.

          • dmf

            Brewfist is impressive.

          • dmf

            Also, ehh, a lot of Chevys are made in Canada and Toyotas are made in the US. Doesn’t mean you start calling Toyota an American Car Maker.

            • When more Toyotas are made in the US than Japan, I think then you can call it an American car.

              I’d be surprised if 10% of Mikkeller beers are brewed in Denmark.

      • Red_cted
    • Sturgeon’s law, duder. A large number of jackoffs think more hops=more interesting. They don’t exist if you choose to ignore them.

      • Anonymous

        Marry me.

        • CJColucci

          Just like on the ballpark scoreboard. Well???

      • sparks

        A point driven home to me every time a friend or acquaintance pressed a bottle of beer in my hand while saying, “You gotta try this!!” Invariably it was ridiculously hoppy. If I have to drink horse piss, I prefer it not to be really bitter horse piss.

    • laura

      I say Germany is number 2. UK beer is not that great. There is some excellent Canadian beer though, if you stay away from the brands.

      • Paul Herzberg

        “UK beer is not that great”.

        I recently had some very good beers from Thornbridge brewery and a night in Sheffield that had more hits than misses including a very good porter and a mild among all the bitter (though I also had good company, which helps).

        When I’ve been to Doncaster Beer Festival the standard has generally been top notch.

        So I don’t understand how you can dismiss an entire country without at least a qualifiying statement.

        • dmf

          Thornbridge is indeed quite good. BrewDog can be. The Kernel is fantastic.

          But that doesn’t contradict that UK beer in general is not that great.

          • Paul Herzberg

            I may be that when I go home I only go to the good pubs, then.

            How many good beers does the UK have to have to counter Carling Black Label?

            Let me be bold. UK beer is great. There are some great UK beers. Until you can point me to a country that can make a session beer in roughly the same league as Timothy Taylor’s Landlord to suggest otherwise is plain wrong.

            • dmf

              Well then I’ll just give you the Bishop’s Finger then.

              • Paul Herzberg

                That would be nice. All I can get out here is Bombadier and London Pride.

                So, again, how is UK beer not so great if we discount the binge swill just as we are discounting Bud? Can we get CAMRA and the American equivalent of CAMRA to adjudicate?

                • dmf

                  Variety? They don’t seem to get much outside their comfort zone. Which, to me, is relatively small.

              • Paul Herzberg

                It seems the quoting has maxed out. So I’ll reply here if that’s all right by you.

                Variety? I’m sorry you’ve lost me. The beer is good but we only make one of them?

                Bitter, porter, mild, IPA, stout, lager, dark ale, amber ale, pale ale and a wiesse beer are all on the Thornbridge page. Should they drop a bit of fruit in too?

                Can I ask, have you been in a CAMRA pub? Or to a British beer festival?

                • dmf

                  If I cite Thornbridge as an outlier, it doesn’t make much sense to use them as an example against my point, now, does it?

                  And yes. I have.

                • dmf

                  Also, just in case you’re wondering, I don’t “even lift, bro”.

                • Paul Herzberg

                  Yes, I realise it was a little aggressive as a strategy to ask for your UK experience, but I just wanted to establish some kind of base line. I had assumed you’d drunk a few decent US beers and had a bad or indifferent experience in the UK and were extrapolating from that (as an Englishman abroad I get that a lot, particularly concerning food). Especially as you were being pretty non-specific.

                  So, I mentioned Thornbirdge first, you didn’t cite them. The reason I mentioned them was because it was the last last English pint I’d drunk, in Manchester Airport of all places and I was pretty impressed.

                  As I also mentioned earlier, the last time I went drinking in the UK was in Sheffield, The Tap (one of the finest railway-station pubs in England), The Rutland Arms and the Graduate (a student pub, but near the Crucible) all within a couple of minutes of each other. In all I had the choice of, at minimum, 15 different beers, I probably sampled 6, one was below par.

                  From previous experience Theakstons, Martons, Black Sheep, Timmy Taylors, Wychwood and Spitfire are the sort of beer that are widely available, even in the local Asda.

                  The Doncaster Beer Festival (yes, I’m northern, Doncaster is a grey northern industrial town — 34th largest district by population says wikipedia, 61 is Hackney I know nothing about there — and previous home to a bunch of industries that are no longer viable) had 125 beers on. Not all of them would have been great, but if it was anything like the times I went a good few of them would be worth tracking down.

                  You want to tell me UK beer isn’t great. I want you tell me what’s better.

  • Warren Terra

    They have applied to Unesco for their Reinheitsgebot law to join a list of “intangible heritage” that includes Spanish flamenco and Turkey’s Kirkpinar oil-wrestling festival.
    Also included on Unesco’s List of Intangible Cultural Heritage in Need of Urgent Safeguarding are the Argentine tango, carpet weaving from southwest Iran, the French gastronomic meal and Bigwala music and dance by the Basoga people of Uganda.

    Umm, yeah. I’m willing to believe that cultural and economic pressures endanger carpet weaving in Iran and the music and dance of the Basoga people. The rest of this is just tourism boards that have gotten bored and run amok.

    • Nope this is about keeping the Belgium beers out.

      • Warren Terra

        No. The recognition bythe UN of the Beer Purity laws as something to celebrate, preserve, and advertise has absolutely no effect to “keep Belgian beer out”. I could imagine an attempt promoted by Germany to regulate the use of the word “Bier” for advertising and branding purposes (much as the term “Champagne” is restricted to sparkling white wines from the Champagne region of France, rather than being permissible for use by other sparkling white wines), but that attempt would have to be made in the EU, not the UN. Even if such an attempt were successful (which seems just a smidgen unlikely), Germany couldn’t under EU rules prevent the sale of Belgian ales – they could only affect their labeling.

        • Tom Servo

          I’ve mostly managed to stop being immature. But I still get a kick out of calling all bubbly wine champagne and egregiously mispronouncing French words.

        • Dave Brockington

          Agreed with WT. Reinheitsgebot has not been in force since 1988 (courtesy the EU), so Germany can (and does) import whatever the hell it likes. This World Heritage thing isn’t a trade restriction, it’s just deserved recognition. And frankly, I’ve never thought a ranking of beer regions / countries is at all useful or constructive. I judge on a beer-by-beer basis.

          • Lurker

            No. The Reinheitsgebot is in force inside Germany and it applies to German-brewed beers meant for consumption in Germany. Anyone may import beers not conforming to the German law, as long as they conform to the domestic regulations of the EU member state of their origin. This is the EU law.

            Germany also allows the German brewers to brew beer for export without conforming with the Reinheitsgebot.

            • Dave Brockington

              No, it is not that ironclad, even for domestic beers brewed in Germany for the German market. And it doesn’t explain any of the variants of Bavarian Weizen, Berliner Weissbier, or the re-emergence of Roggenbier in Bavaria in the past 25 years or so, all three of which I’ve imbibed in situ in Germany brewed by German brewers. Unless you’re planning on taking up the argument that ales are not beer, of course,.

              It’s best understood as applying to a subset of styles, and only bottom fermenting styles at that, and then again, not uniformly, as there are exceptions that are a) lager beers, which b) do not conform to the Reinheitsgebot, yet c) are allowed to be sold as “bier”.

              Since the European Court of Justice decision in 1988, the Reinheitsgebot is a nice symbol, good marketing tool, but nothing more.

              • Chris Campbell

                Can’t speak to the legal force of the Reinheitsgebot, but Weizen and Roggenbier are both in line with it, as the the formula is malt, hops, water and yeast. These beers are simply madewith malted wheat or rye, instead of (or including) barley.

                • Dave Brockington

                  No. The origin of the Reinheitsgebot was to reduce demand on wheat and rye by specifying that beer can only be made with barley (because if brewers progressively increased their use of wheat and rye, bread becomes more expensive, and people get pissed off). Pedantically, the original didn’t specify yeast, either, but that was added later. The original specification did not discuss “malt”. Indeed, my understanding of it today (and it goes by a different name) — at least when I was active in the brewing world — it refers to barley malt.

                • Chris Campbell

                  David – fair enough, my mistake. Many breweries there apparently claim to follow the Reinheitsgebot (RHG?) even with their wheat beers, which is where I got confused by it. Still, they make a remarkable variety of products with just a few simple ingredients.

              • If you want to be pedantic (who would do that?) the Rheinheitsgebot only states that beer must be made with barley, hops and water — no mention of yeast and none of malt.

                As one of the conditions of joining Germany, Bavaria insisted their beer laws be adopted by the new nation. The applicable law was called the “Biersteuergesetz” (Beer tax law) of (some year). THis states that for bottom fermented beers only barley malt, yeast, hops and water are allowed. For top fermented beers (i.e. “ales” which include wheat and rye beers) the rules are much looser. And the Finance Minister can grant exceptions like for Leipziger Gosebier which is brewed with coriander and salt.

                I think we can agree that any countries factory beers are un-interesting and that smaller breweries make more interesting beer. Who cares where it comes from if it is good.

        • Snarki, child of Loki

          ” this is about keeping the Belgium beers out.”

          “…the Beer Purity laws as something to celebrate, preserve, and advertise has absolutely no effect to “keep Belgian beer out””

          Okay, so it worked about as well as the Maginot line? I hope the Deutchlanders are okay with welcoming their Belgian overlords.

          THEY. BRING. FRIES.

          • Sherm

            You get great fries in Germany too. Same style from my limited experience and understanding, and served with Mayo, as great fries should be.

            • dmf

              Mayo, plus peanut sauce.

    • Idk man, I would totally believe that between changing economic conditions, increasing land scarcity, increased focus on healthy eating, and the unmitigated gall of vegetarians in continuing to exist, the French are sincere in their belief that fifty-four course meals of nothing but butter delivery vehicles are a dying art.

    • Anonymous

      If the Germans can have their beer purity, can we Americans make our fast-food culture a protected heritage, against the day that Nicolae Carpathia tries to take away our Five Guys and our In-n-out Burger?

    • ExpatChad

      Well, they have stopped selling Basoga Lite at 7-11!

    • Lurker

      The point here is that the Reinheitsgebot is actually endangered. The current European law allows anyone to import beers to Germany even if they are not brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot. The German beer purity law concerns only German beers made for the domestic market. The situation is very similar to the US inter-state commerce issues.

      The German beer legislation can, at the moment, be construed as illegal state support for the domestic beer. By making it possible for the domestic breweries to advertise “brewed according to German law”, implying better quality, it could be argued that Germany is adversely affecting the European marketplace. In addition, European Union is steadily harmonizing the standards for alcoholic drinks around Europe, which will most likely spell an end for the German peculiarities. (In a similar vein, the wine-producing countries pressed strongly for making it possible to produce “vodka” out of fermented fruit or grape, and succeeded despite the staunch opposition of Poland and Finland. The original vodka countries would have required the use of potato and grain only.)

      Thus, this move for UNESCO World Heritage status is part of the German effort to preserve their peculiar beer legislation.

      • Warren Terra

        It seems to me that you and the “Lurker” who commented above at 5:12 could have a useful argument with each other.

        • Lurker

          I’m the same person, and I don’t see the contradiction. Please enlighten me.

          • Warren Terra

            You at 5:12: The Rheinheitsgebot sets standards a beer can be must meet if it wishes to use certain marketing terms. Not all German beers meet these requirements, and importation of foreign beers is unaffected.

            You at 3:21: the Rheinheitsgebot is a would-be anti-competitive measure and is desperately imperiled by EU activities.

            • Lurker

              The Reinheitsgebot is not currently threathened by legal action, but its status is not completely unproblematic. A legal case in the court of European Union might overturn the law, as it could be construed as illegal state support. However, nobody is doing that currently.

      • IM

        the status quo is actually quite stable. I think that is just a marketing gag.

  • Bloix

    “The Reinheitsgebot is a load of old bollocks.”

  • Rob K

    I will happily grant that Germany is better than Belgium at producing the very specific range of styles in which Germany specializes. That leaves the problem that Germany narrowly specializes in ~10% of the interesting and worthwhile styles of beer out there.

    Knocking US craft brews for being nothing but hoppiness made some sense five years ago, but I really think we’ve gotten beyond that at this point. There’s a ton of good – not just over-the-top – beer being made here in a huge range of styles. It’s a good time.

    • Rigby Reardon

      Knocking US craft brews for being nothing but hoppiness made some sense five years ago, but I really think we’ve gotten beyond that at this point.

      Completely agree. Though I do know a number of craft beer drinkers who are having trouble letting go of that mindset.

      • dmf

        Hoppiness in beers is like beards and hipsters.

        Just because a bunch of wankers overly celebrate it and are generally obnoxious about it doesn’t make it a bad thing. There are plenty of good, complex, interesting, AND hoppy beers out there.

        Including, in the sacred Belgium.

        • rea

          “Drink Rabbit Piss! It’s hoppy!”

        • Rigby Reardon

          I don’t seem to recall saying it’s a bad thing, as I do enjoy a number of IPAs. But I also enjoy other, less hoppy styles, and until a few years back, those weren’t as well represented on the American craft brew scene.

          “US craft brews were once way too dependent on hoppiness” != “I hate hoppy beers.”

          • dmf

            I figured I didn’t have to preface that with “me three”…

    • pseudonymous in nc

      Knocking US craft brews for being nothing but hoppiness made some sense five years ago, but I really think we’ve gotten beyond that at this point.

      Yes, you now have the choice of over-hopped lighter beers, or over-alcoholic barrel-aged flavoured-with-stuff darker beers.

      • Yes, you now have the choice of over-hopped lighter beers, or over-alcoholic barrel-aged flavoured-with-stuff darker beers.

        You need to get out more.

  • jbp

    I lived in Luxembourg, which is right in between Belgium and Germany. And while German beer is down right tasty, if I wanted a good beer, I was ordering a Belgian. So I’m going to say Belgium is #1. (BTW, if you’re ever in Bruges, Belgium, go to the bar, ‘t Bruges Biertje. Has some very hard to find beers, and just a great time. I think I lost 5 hours there over two nights back in 2003.)

    • Dave Brockington

      Ah, the Little Bruges Bear. Agreed.

    • dmf

      ‘t Brugs Beertje*

      • jbp

        Sorry about that. Misspelling is my thing. (Plus I haven’t taken Flemmish in years.)

  • The prophet Nostradumbass

    There are also some pretty darn good beers from the Netherlands, though you’d never know it from the stuff you get in the US.

    • Dave Brockington

      There certainly was when I lived there (2000-2003).

      • dmf

        There’s even more now.

        • pseudonymous in nc

          Oh, In de Wildeman…

  • Alan Tomlinson

    Before anyone starts clutching their pearls, I would mention that Hans-Georg Eils, who said blah, blah works for Carlsberg, which is rather like Augustus Busch IV saying that American beer is the greatest.

    Honestly, so many people revert to nationalism when they feel insecure; I find it repulsive and asinine. Why would it fucking matter? It’s beer. Moreover, #1, #2 etc. are also fantastically stupid concepts.


    Alan Tomlinson

    • Ralph Wiggum

      Carlsberg is Danish.

  • guest

    Wow – nothing brings out the pretension like a good discussion of who/where the best beer comes from. Except maybe the best wine. Spare me. Just drink what you like. Make suggestions to like-minded friends.

    None of this is intended to excuse the consumption of any beer that is advertised during football games.

    • Lee Rudolph

      Wow – nothing brings out the pretension like a good discussion of who/where the best beer comes from. Except maybe the best wine

      and the best vodka, and, especially, the best ketchup!

      • Rigby Reardon

        Or the best pancakes.

        • dmf

          Or the most unpretentious.

  • Stag Party Palin

    What the Beer Championship Series needs is a playoff. That will forever answer the important question of which fucking country makes the best fucking beer.

    How much am I bid for a place on the selection panel? Condi is not eligible for this one.

    • sibusisodan

      One of the regulars on the guardian sports pages had a parallel competition to the Euro 2012 soccer championships, with beer instead of football. I forget who won, and likely so does he, because some of the contenders were v strong. But I remember it was intense.

    • Aaron Morrow

      This joke only works for one more week:

      Maybe #3 beer nation. But certainly no higher.

      Of course Richard Billingsley ranked them #1.

  • ironic irony

    German beer is good, but German wine is even better. Some of the best wine I ever had was from the Kitzingen area.

    • Paul Herzberg

      Austrian wine is good, too. Just don’t mention the anti-freeze…

      Which happened all the way back in 1984 and no-one has bothered to forgive them.

  • JMG

    The German style of beer appeals to me, so I drink German beer frequently. But in terms of variety, the US has no peer. It is an astonishing social development given where beer was when I started drinking it in the late 1960s, when there was the three-grade system. Local swill beer that sponsored the ball games on the radio, national big brands that sponsored ball games on national TV, and Heineken and Lowenbrau, the only imports widely available in East Coast big cities, let alone more remote areas.

  • Sherm

    Like JMG above, the German and Czech style of beer appeals to me, and they have no competition when it comes to such style. Beers such as Radeberger, Bitburger, Warsteiner, Paulaner, Augustiner Brau and Pilsner Urquel all taste incredible to me, and I am invariably disappointed whenever I endeavor to try something different. To those who prefer the tastes of the many different types of craft beers, more power to you. But to me, there are German and Czech beers, and there are other beer-like beverages which I will occasionally try out of curiosity, and which experiments only tend to reinforce my preferences.

  • joe from Lowell

    more interesting beer

    More interesting does not necessarily mean better. It’s December, and there are all kinds of “interesting” beers out there. Can I get you a blueberry nutmeg winter warmer?

    • Sherm

      More interesting does not necessarily mean better.

      Exactly. You will never see me drinking a “beer” with fruit in it. Nor will you ever see me drinking a beer with some bullshit name.

  • I like German beers a lot, but if I had to choose only one style of German beer to drink it would be hefeweizen (yes, it would be painful to give up bocks). Actually, hell, just give me Weihenstephaner hefe and I’m satisfied. There is nothing in the world that is as lovely as that on a hot day.

    I’ll leave it to smarter people to tell me whether I should thank the Reinheitsgebot for hefeweizen.

    I would really be sad to lose Aventinus, actually. Please don’t actually take away all the German beers. It was just a thought experiment.

It is main inner container footer text