Happy Oktoberfest! To celebrate this time of the year, we’ve listed 5 cities to drink specialty German beer.
The Germans take it up a notch, but there is much more to German Bier than Oktoberfestbier (that’s actually a real thing…we’ll explain more later).
Nowadays, people from all over the world come to Bavaria to have a taste of Germany’s finest beers.
But if you’re not into crowds, don’t worry! Different regions in Germany produce their own special types of beer, making Germany truly a beer lovers’ paradise!
1. Altbier ale
This specialty beer in Düsseldorf came from the surrounding Westphalia. This ale is dark in color and is brewed using the method of top fermentation, and is oddly fermented at quite a cool temperature.
Düsseldorf is perfectly suited for enjoying copious amounts of beer as their Altstadt boasts having at least 300 bars and clubs, and is considered the ‘Längste Theke der Welt’ or ‘Longest Bar in the World’!
Rumour has it that each bar in the area connects to the other through the wall!
There’s nowhere better to sample some Altbier than at Düsseldorf’s oldest restaurant ‘Zum Schiffchen‘, located in the Altstadt.
2. Köln’s Kölsch beer
Interesting fact: did you know that the Kölsch beer is a protected name in the EU? Only beer made in Köln can be called Kölsch beer.
The beer (or ale) is fermented at a warmer temperature than Altbier but is much paler in color. It is also wonderfully easy to drink!
Cologne’s city centre is brimming with breweries and old pubs where you can sample some Kölsch! I recommend checking out Früh which is one of the most famous in the city.
3. Leipzig’s Leipziger Gose
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A lesser-known beer, Gose does not actually comply with Reinheitsgebot, which states that only hops, malt, water and wheat are allowed for brewing. However, it is allowed to be brewed because it is a regional specialty! What makes it so special is that it includes coriander and salt in the brewing process… weird, but good!
The beer is very sour and can also taste a bit salty because of the added salt in the brewing process or the water used.
Leipzig is a great city, and it has also been said that it is close to stealing the crown of best city in Germany from Berlin.
Heading to a more historical site in the city, try and sample some of this regional specialty beer at Auerbach’s Keller, where Goethe is supposed to have spent much time. He even mentions the place in Faust Part 1.
4. Berlin’s Weisse (and Craft Beer)
Berliner Weisse is another protected beer name. The name can only be used to refer to beers of this type brewed in Berlin. The beer has a cloudy appearance and sour taste with the most popular brands being Berliner Kindl and Schultheiss.
To take the edge off the taste, the beer is served with syrups of different flavours called ‘Schuss’.
There are some nice craft beers being made here and there in Berlin! Vagabund is one such great beer to try there.
And finally, last but not least, the King of German Beer…
5. Munich’s Märzen
Munich means beer. Well, not really. But it might as well! Almost half of all the breweries in Germany are located in Bavaria.
Munich has 6 main Breweries in the city: Löwenbräu, Hofbräuhaus, Augustinerbäu, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr and Spaten.
In terms of specialty beer, these breweries make a special beer only for the Oktoberfest (Märzen) which is traditionally brewed in March and aged slowly during the summer.
Nowadays though, the beer served at Oktoberfest is light in colour, yet high in alcohol content.
Even if you missed Wiesn this year, beers from these legendary breweries can be enjoyed in Brauhäuser all year round, especially in the summer in the many, many beer gardens around the city!
This blog post is an updated version of the post “5 cities for specialty German beer“, published by Alexandra Mackenzie.