All fanatics need a national “holiday” dedicated to the thing they love most. For me, I love BEER. Good beer. Light Beer. Dark Beer. Filtered Beer. Unfiltered Beer. German beer. American beer. English beer. You name it, I love it!
Therefore, I wasn’t in the least bit surprised, but rather ecstatic about finding out that every April 23 is the National Day of Beer in Germany which doesn’t just celebrate beer, but also the country’s Reinheitsgebot – the purity law.
But April 23 isn’t just some random day designated to the delicious mouth-watering German beer. It’s also a day which celebrates the day the Reinheitsgebot was signed into law. Germans take this purity law very seriously and since 1516, beer production in Germany has been very strict. Only water, barley and hops was allowed to be brewed in German beers so as to keep the beers pure of any strange ingredients.
So, that means that this year, 2016 will be the 500th anniversary since this purity law was established, and it’s bound to come with a big celebration!
However, since 1993, the Reinheitsgebot has been replaced by the Vorläufiges Biergesetz (Provisional German Beer Law) which now allows yeast, wheat malt, sugar cane but no longer allows unmalted barley. Not only did the law enforce strict regulation of what went into the beer, but also the prices so that it was affordable for all. Now there is even a law which states that there must be at least one non-alcoholic beverage on the menu which is cheaper than beer, which is naturally that plain water stuff.
The law originated in Ingolstadt, Bavaria and was a precondition throughout Germany before the German unification in 1871.
Unfortunately, this purity also caused the extinction of crafted beers throughout Germany such as the North German Spiced Beer and the cheery beer. Not only did some breweries go out of business because of this law, but the importation of beers from Belgium and England were also prohibited. That is why even to this day, it is very difficult to find beers that are imported from other countries that do not follow the purity law.
However, that doesn’t mean that there isn’t a wide variety of beers to be drunk! 1,300 breweries throughout Germany use the main 4 ingredients to create 40 different types of beers such as Alt, Pils, Dunkles, Helles etc.
The purity law is regarded as the world’s oldest food law that is still in use today, and could become a UNESCO Cultural Heritage as it has preserved the traditional craft technique. The announcement will be made just in time for 2016’s big 500th anniversary of the law.
Because of this purity law, Germans are very proud of their beer and feel that their beers are far more superior than other beers. This is one of the many reasons why, when you come to Germany you will find the same types of beers anywhere in Germany. Craft beers has only just recently started to make some headlines as it becomes a new trend in Germany.
I’ve once heard a little joke that said that in the United States, you can go into any pub in America and be asked “what do you want to drink?” with the luxury of picking a beer from hundreds of different brands from all over the world. In Germany, you won’t be asked what you want to drink, but what size beer your want which implies in Germany the beer is always the same and you know what you will get every time.
So now that I’ve told you about this amazing public celebration, which really should be a public drinking holiday, I will go and finish my Dunkles Weizen! I wish you a wonderful day sitting somewhere fantastic like your nearest biergarten with a cold one in hand! PROST!
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