The Beer Debate Begins – Two Beer Nerds and an Expat (Part I) | Expat-Mom

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The Beer Debate Begins – Two Beer Nerds and an Expat (Part I)

24 Feb Posted by in Food & Drinks | 3 comments
The Beer Debate Begins – Two Beer Nerds and an Expat (Part I)
A couple months ago, two of my closest friends visited from the US, both of which are beer fans and one of which is a complete beer nerd (I can call her that because she is a self-proclaimed beer nerd). Hm? Now that I think about it, my second friend might be offended if I don’t refer to them both as beer nerds.

So…two American beer nerds came to Germany…

The first beer nerd and I met up in Amsterdam, which included a brief stop to the Heineken factory. And sure enough we learned that Heineken seems to have the same universal taste between continents. But at least we had a fun time indulging.




The second beer nerd flew directly into Düsseldorf to be greeted by a slew of avid German beer drinkers. While I was still in Amsterdam at the time, this is probably what she learned about German beer in my absence.

Rules of Beer Brewed in Germany – So, uh… the Germans pride themselves on following yet another law, (surprise, surprise) which this time governs their beer.

The original law is called Reinheitsgebot, the “German Beer Purity Law,” but was replaced with the Provisional German Beer Law, Biergesetz.

Bier-ga-what? How ’bout Bier-get-in-my-belly Law instead?

Apparently not too many Germans are aware of this term though.

The beer companies market their beer by stating it only includes four ingredients:

  1. Water
  2. Barley
  3. Hops
  4. Yeast

So don’t expect any unconventional fruity flavors or creative concoctions here.

In our house, there are typically two choices of German brew; Diebels Alt and at least one type of Pils.



While not an official rule, the size of a typical bottle in Germany is much larger than a bottle in the US. As shown below, Pils vs. US Budweiser…


And although Germany does sell imported beers, you won’t find US Budweiser under the same name anywhere in Europe. The name is owned by the Czech Budweiser, as shown below.


US Budweiser tried to sell in Germany under “Bud,” but it was determined that the name was too close to the German beer, “Bit.” Sorry folks, no US Budweiser in Germany, only Czech. I guess some might not say sorry, but lucky instead.


For fun, here is US and Czech Budweiser side-by-side.


Surprisingly enough, alcohol content is typically between 4.7% and 5.4% in Germany and between 4% and 6% in the US. I was always led to believe it was much higher in Germany than in the US.

Rather than bore you with more blobbity-blob German beer facts that can easily be found elsewhere online, here are some interesting things that I’ve learned as hearsay…gossip is always more entertaining, right?

When at a local pub in Düsseldorf Altstadt, a lot of pubs will only offer one type of beer, Alt. There is one pub at which it is rumored, if you ask for a Kölsch (a local beer from Cologne), well…they may ask you to leave. I guess the safest way to order is “Ein Bier, bitte” when in the area. Which means, “A beer, please.”

Yes, I know the name of the rumored pub. And no, I won’t reveal to the Americans unless you’ve already had two authentic German beers beforehand. In which case, you probably won’t remember the name because it will just sound like fast German gibberish.

And if you don’t already know the name of the pub and you are German, you can swap me two American Budweisers for the answer. Tsk, tsk.

When drinking beer in a beer garden, be especially suspicious if one of your mates keeps offering to clear the table and bring the beer glasses back to “help the staff.”

They are swiping the money deposits on the glasses. But hey, guess they earned it since not only did they figure out about the deposit, but they did clear the table.


In Munich, some of the beer gardens require a deposit on the glasses because:

1.)    It is so crowded and most of the glasses don’t get returned let alone in an efficient time, and

2.)    They make awesome souvenirs, which is why they don’t get returned.

Outdoor Christmas markets in any city will typically also have a deposit on the glasses.

The drinking age in Germany is 16 for beer and wine and 18 for hard alcohol. Also with 18 comes the legal ability to receive a driver’s license.

Okay, so maybe beer nerd didn’t learn all of the above, but the one thing I am sure she had to have learned was that when toasting, it is tradition to look everyone in the eye. Not only tradition, but bad luck if you don’t.

So, we’ve covered the German basics and the battle of the beers has just begun. Tomorrow we will introduce a neighboring country’s beer and then decide the ultimate winner. You didn’t think I would pair the US with Germany when it comes to beer, did you?

Until tomorrow…”Cheers” to the Americans and “Prost” to the Germans.

  1. Keith02-25-12

    I didnt know you could get beer through Amazon!

    • Mommy02-26-12

      Pretty cool, right? LOL

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  1. The Beer Debate Continues – Two Beer Nerds and an Expat (Part II)02-25-12