Friday, September 22, 2006

Notes: German Beers

Alexandre Enkerli's comment in the last post about German Engineering vs. Belgian Art has me thinking. Enkerli's article references several links to Thomas Perera and Ron Pattison's opinions on German beer drinkers, brewing, and Reinheitsgebot. The premise these articles is that Reinheitsgebot is "a load of old bollocks" and that it may be holding German brewers back from creating artistic masterpieces, a la Belgian (and to a large extent, American) brewers.

I think I tend to agree. I was running through the list of beers I've recently had and very few of them are German. This probably is due in large part to personal taste, but I am starting to realize that I do tend to gravitate toward the more experimental, the more insane. I do like certain beer styles--mainly bocks and rauchbiers. However, my beer mecca wouldn't be Germany. If I could plan my beer itinerary [based soley on the beer available, and not on other cultural aspects of the place itself], it would either be Belgium, England, or a handful of places in the US (the Pacific Northwest and Colorado would top that list).

And I'd venture to guess that many of my closest beer culture friends would tend to agree. Now, is this because of personal preference for more experimental beers or is it because German brewers produce solid beers in a limited range of styles, or is it both? Can you even seperate the two? I'm still working this out in my own head.

1 comment:

Alexandre said...

Thanks for the link!
(BTW, my name is Alex, not Andrew)

My impression is that these comments by Pattison and Perera have little to do with German beer itself but a lot to do with attitudes German people have about beer. In this respect, Belgians are remarkably similar in that they, too, are quite "nationalistic" about their beers.
My own point from the post to which you link is that there's a continuum, used by North American craft beer people, ranging between two stereotypes. Obviously, many Belgian breweries are closer to the engineering side and many German breweries are closer to the artistic side. But in North American beer circles, "Belgian" means "unusual, weird, unique, funky, idiosyncratic" while "German" means "clean, well-crafted, straightforward, standard."

Thanks again!