Friday, March 8, 2013

What About Beers in Northern Germany?'

Everyone talks about Bavarian beers, but the question I ask is whether they are truly better than those in other parts of Germany. No question that Bavaria is the best place to drink beer with its beer gardens and beer halls. Munich is the classic example. But what about northern Germany?

Let's start with the Rhineland. Dortmund has the greatest reputation with breweries that export to the US, such as Dortmunder Union and DAB (Dortmunder Aktien Brauerei).

Konig Pilsner of Duisburg is well known around Germany and can be found in other parts of the country. Until I drink it in Duisburg (where I have no plans to go), I will withhold final judgement.

Nord-Rhine Westfalia is the home of another internationally-known brew, Warsteiner. I have yet to drink it in Germany, but found it disappointing not only in the US, but in Switzerland as well.

Becks of Bremen  has the biggest international reputation. I have only had it once from a bottle in Erlangen. Good but I would rather try it closer to home. An American friend of mine who studied in Germany says in Bremen, it is better to drink it from the bottle as opposed to the tap.That same friend (he studied at Goettingen) sings the praises of Einbecker, which is brewed in Einbeck as opposed to nearby Goettinger Edel Pils.

Back to the Rhineland, where Cologne is noted for its Koelsch, a lighter pils, and Dusseldorf is noted for its dark beer (Dunkles or Alt). When I was going there back in the 1960s, the pubs in the Altstadt were serving all dark beer. You had to specify light beer. Maybe it has changed now. Diebels Alt is a known brand.

Cologne-home of Koelsch beer

Jever beer, brewed in the town of the same name, is well known inside Germany and has a good reputation. The only time I have had it was in Riga, Latvia at a German style restaurant /pub that featured it as their main brew. It was better than Latvian beer, but I can't say how it tastes in Germany.

Basically, I can only list the most well-known beers of Northern Germany without giving my opinion on how they taste where they are brewed. And that is only a matter of personal taste. Again, we go back to the basic premise that there are thousands of locally-brewed beers in towns and villages that are just as good as the well-known brands. I do think, however, that the the beers in northern Germany as in other parts of the country can stand up to the Bavarian brews.

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