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German Beer and Schnapps 101

Beers on tapsGermans. What are they known for? Industry, tenacity, and much more. Among all of those things is something that everyone should know. German Beer. Or as the Germans themselves call it, schnapps. Thing is, there is a lot, and I mean a LOT of options. The Germans make a lot of beer, so sorting through it all to find the really good stuff is going to be a task and a half. I have decided that I will try and pick through the pile to find the beer and schnapps that are really great. So the only question now is, where to start?

Pilsner

This beer is one that everyone knows and loves. The Pilsner style of beer was created in 1842. So this beer has been around the block. It’s the classic alcohol from Germany that has garnered the well deserved reputation of most loved beer in the world. You can find this style of brew absolutely everywhere. In the bar, in a restaurant, probably even in the back of your local convenience store. It has earned this reputation from it’s taste, which is pure and simple. It is a clean bitter taste that goes well with pretty much everything. In other words, Pilsner beer is simply the best beer around, and everyone wants it.

Wheat Beer

The oldest beer in existence. Wheat beer has been around for the longest time. Far, far back to when beer was still a concept, the Germans put wheat and barley with water, yeast and hops. Now a days, the brew has taken on a bunch of different characteristics. From different ratios of the original ingredients to adding fruit and other tastes to the beer. This venerable style is still very relevant to today. Wheat beer has a soft flavor with a grainy aroma. If you are looking for a classic taste, look no further.

Maerzen

A pretty simple beer with a not so simple start. The Maerzen style beer was created by a brewer for Oktoberfest and was a huge success. People loved it and the style got a second name, Oktoberfest. The beer that is named after the festival is actually pretty soft. It has a light, malty taste that is not actually balanced out by anything. Not that it is a bad thing, it is one of the brew’s strengths. If you are looking forward to trying this type of style, you will not have to wait until it’s namesake for a taste. Maerzen or Oktoberfest is a well loved beer that you should at least try once!

Those three styles are well proven and a great starting point if you want to start trying German beers. simple, grainy, or malty gives you plenty of options on how you want to start. the simple and clean taste of Pilsner, the grainy feel of classic wheat beer, or the malt of Oktoberfest. Any is a great drink, so enjoy them!

 

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Rudi Lechner’s Sattire: The History of German Food


apfel-strudelGermany has a storied history when it comes to German food. One full of celebrations, hard work, and food. Germany is very well known for the food that it produces. Well, known for being a bit pasty and fatty. Not Germany’s fault though, the variety of the German’s rural areas, or lack thereof, is the main problem. However, the lack of variety is partially addressed by the neighboring countries. Italy and France have had a big influence on German cuisine. So much so that the spices, cooking methods, and recipes of these countries have bled into Germany over time. Germany, however, has always added their own spin to the dish.

Way back in time, German food was very bland. We are talking about prehistoric times here, where they were very limited in the way of raw materials for their food. The climate was fairly restrictive in what was allowed. Wheat, barley, and pasture land made up much of what was available to Germany early on. Sheep, cows and goats were used for milk, butter and cheese and occasionally meat. Which was mostly used only for feasts. For spices there was parsley, celery, and dill.

Later, when Rome came and took much of Europe. Germany was introduced to new cultivation techniques as well as how to grow fruit trees. Agricultural methods became more sophisticated as well, and France and Italy started influencing German fare more and more. Soon the food around Cologne became especially diverse thanks to its status as a prominent trading city. This gave it easy access to a multitude of exotic spices, dishes, and other things to enhance the cuisine.

These days, Germans have plenty to work into their food. They can draw from a wealth of dishes in their past as well as working on new ways to make them. With trade being what it is, a lot of different spices have become prominent in Germany. Among them are mustard, horseradish, and juniper berries. Still, traditional foods are common fare in Modern Germany. Which is a tradition that I hope won’t change soon.

Germany has plenty of inspiration for its food. The history alone is plenty to go on, and more cuisines and choices have been added as time has passed. Right now Germany is a diverse culture with a proud heritage. A combination that is expressed in the food it serves to people. So that is the history of German cuisine. Did it make you hungry?

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A German Tradition For All: Oktoberfest is Almost Here


oktoberfest-rudi-lechnersWe are most of the way through September, and that means Oktoberfest is on the horizon! So what can we look forward to this year? Well not much has changed in the many years of Oktoberfest. It is still a festival measured in weeks, not day or hours. It is still all about the beer with a side of revelry. Two weeks celebrating beer, food, and fun. Did I forget to mention the food? It is pretty good. Here, let me tell you about some of it.

All of the foods served at Oktoberfest are traditional German fare. There are dishes such as chicken, roast pork, grilled ham hock, and delicious Steckerlfisch, or grilled fish on a stick. Also present during Oktoberfest are a large variety of sausages, pretzels, and potato dumplings. Kasespatzle, or a German macaroni and cheese is served during the festival as well as potato pancakes and sauerkraut. Bavarian dishes like Obatzda, a spiced scheese-butter spread, and Weisswurst are also served during Oktoberfest.

Now what kind of Oktoberfest would it be without the beer? There’s plenty available in the 2 weeks that Oktoberfest takes place. The beers that are allowed to be served at Oktoberfest have to conform to set regulation regarding the alcohol content as well as the location of the brewing, which happens to be inside the Munich city limit. Now under these criteria only a few breweries are allowed to brew the Oktoberfest Beer. These breweries are:

  • Augustiner-Brau
  • Hacker-Pschorr-Brau
  • Lowenbrau
  • Paulaner-Brau
  • Spatenbrau
  • Staatliches Hofbrau-Munchen

 

Since these restrictions are in effect, you won’t really be able to market your own beer during Oktoberfest. However this doesn’t mean there is going to be a shortage of beer in the tents.

The setting of Oktoberfest is a grand meadow called Theresienwiese, or “Meadow of Therese”. Here many of the patrons of the festival set up large tents for the purveyors of Oktoberfest. Small tents will also be set up to sell their fare to the fair goers. Sadly enough the prices of Oktoberfest have been increasing in recent years. Most of the beers have increased by two dollars over the last 10 years, although the increased prices have had no effects on attendance. Oktoberfest is still the largest peoples fair in the world.

So now that you know a little about how the Oktoberfest is going to go, I will be sure to see you there right? After all, it is going to be starting soon, and I can’t think of a single person that wouldn’t want to celebrate. So come on Oktoberfest, and let the fun begin!

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