Germany is a very regionally distinct country and exhibits that diversity in its beer. We’ve compiled a list of 5 distinct styles that best showcase German beer and are possibly the muse for your favorite American craft brew.
German Beer laws are fairly restrictive (i.e. a Kolsch can only come from the city of Cologne). However, for the purpose of our list, we’re recommending beer that falls in a category stylistically as well as technically.
Originally brewed in the German speaking region of Bohemia (current day Czech Republic), pils are one of the most popular beer styles in the world. They pour a pale straw-yellow, exhibit herbal and spice notes, and often finish with a strong hop flavor.
3 Pilsners to Try:
Technically, a true Kölsch can only hail from the city of Cologne. It pours a light golden color and exhibits a slight bitterness with crisp hop finish. It’s considered a session beer in its home city, and is served in .2-liter glass called a Stange.
3 Kölsch Beers to Try:
Hailing from the great German state of Bavaria, hefes are a top fermented, unfiltered beer brewed with wheat. They pour a cloudy deep yellow and exhibit a yeast forward profile. Many hefeweizens taste of banana and cloves and finish slightly sweet. For those who don’t enjoy hops, this is the beer style for you.
3 Hefeweizens to Try:
The “it” beer of the year, gose (pronounced gose-uh) is a top fermented beer with an ABV of 4%-5%. Gose is brewed with coriander and salt and pours a cloudy golden yellow. This beer originated in Goslar, Germany, in the 16th century and over time came to be associated with Leipzig, Germany (a must visit destination when in Deutschland).
3 Goses to try now:
Märzen and Oktoberfest are used to describe the same style of beer. Traditionally, Märzens (meaning “March” in German) were brewed in the spring and stored in cool caves for fermentation purposes. Casks were tapped and beer was served to celebrate the fall harvest and a little festival called Oktoberfest was eventually started. An amber, malt-forward beer, Märzens are extremely drinkable.
3 Marzens to try now: