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Other than Brewing => The Pub => Topic started by: dbeechum on March 02, 2011, 07:33:48 PM

Title: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: dbeechum on March 02, 2011, 07:33:48 PM
http://www.slate.com/id/2286897/pagenum/all/

What do you think?
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: bluesman on March 02, 2011, 07:48:46 PM
I think it's sad but I'm not surprised as the up and coming generation in Germany want more than traditional beer offerings. I also point to Reinheitsgebot as the culprit. I think it puts a damper on freedom of choice as there is "relatively speaking" a limited offering within Germany due to the restrictions of the purity law.

As you may already know, I am a big German beer fan. I love a good Munich Helles and a rich Dopplebock. I am hopeful that this is just a downward trend that will turnaround in the near future.



Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: euge on March 02, 2011, 07:53:26 PM
Quote
"At first I think they were like, 'Oh look, the American has come to learn how to brew from our great brewers,'" recalls Oliver.

*said in Beerfest-style German accent*

That Schneider Hopfen-Weisse is one of my all-time favorite beers.

What's happening to the Germans already happened in America when lagers became king. Just a different mechanism. Sad though. And I have tasted alcopop like Joose. That stuff is aimed at kids.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2011, 07:57:49 PM
I think it sounds great - they can learn some stuff from what we've done here, and hopefully become innovators in their own right.  The Reinheitsgebot is too limiting, people don't want the same old beer anymore.  I think it will be tough for some to adapt, but those that do should do very well moving forward.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 02, 2011, 08:03:29 PM
The trend was underway when I lived in Germany in '98-'99.  The bigger breweries are doing OK.  It is the regional and local family owned ones that are shutting down.  Many of the family owned breweries shut down when the kids don't see spending their life doing hard physical labor for little financial reward, and the parents are at the time to retire.

There are still the small brewpubs that have opened since I lived there.  So that trend has started in Germany.

England has gone farther down this path.  Many regional brewers that I had pints of in the 90's are long gone.  Getting ready for gathering in the basement bar, I was sad to see many of the pub towels on the bar are from now defunct breweries.

Innovation may take hold, but most Germans that I know think Belgian beer is "suspect" due to the use of ingredients not allowed in the Reinheitsgebot.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: punatic on March 02, 2011, 08:12:08 PM
If I'm not mistaken, the Reinheitsgebot is no longer law.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: dbeechum on March 02, 2011, 08:18:37 PM
That's what it says in the article, but it does mention that most breweries still hold to it in a sort of "It's Tradtion and we market to it" sort of way.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: beersk on March 02, 2011, 08:31:01 PM
That's what it says in the article, but it does mention that most breweries still hold to it in a sort of "It's Tradtion and we market to it" sort of way.

Well isn't this the problem then?  If they're refusing to innovate and move away from tradition on such a strict basis, they're doing this to themselves...
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: tschmidlin on March 02, 2011, 08:33:44 PM
There is something to be said for tradition, but that something need not be favorable. :)

We don't need to abandon history, but there is room to incorporate new ideas and ingredients while still saying "no poisons".
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: punatic on March 02, 2011, 08:40:15 PM
I think it's a swinging pendulum.  I don't think there is a culture that is more tied to beer than German culture.  They are fiercely traditional too.  I can't imagine losing German beer tradition to a flavor-of-the-month fad.

To my taste, German beers are the best.  I spent a lot of time in Bayern in the '80s.  They are what inspired me to start brewing; I couldn't find fresh German beer, like what I had there, here in the US; so I decided to try brewing them myself.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: jaybeerman on March 02, 2011, 09:20:16 PM
My concern is that innovation does tend to be brash.  It would be a devastating loss to completely dismiss or "abandon history."  That said my favorite homebrews are non-Reinheitsgebot German brews.  The rest of this decade will be interesting; it seems that we're all in for significant changes (economy, politics, beer, etc.)  No doom and gloom just changes.  cheers, j
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: hopfenundmalz on March 02, 2011, 10:11:47 PM
You can scroll down to the Rheinheitsgebot Today part.

Top fermenting beers can use other grains and sugars.  Bottom fermenting cannot, still water, malted barley and hops.

http://www.europeanbeerguide.net/reinheit.htm
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: MrNate on March 03, 2011, 09:25:24 PM
And by the way, a German friend made me try one of those beer-and-cola abominations. It's about as god-awful as you might expect.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: tschmidlin on March 04, 2011, 12:10:59 AM
I saw a girl drinking a hefe and cola mixture in Bamberg :o

And the hefe/syrup mixtures were popular in lots of places in Berlin, some had 20 bottles of different flavored juices.  I'd never seen banana juice before.  ::)
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: punatic on March 04, 2011, 01:37:55 AM
I saw a girl drinking a hefe and cola mixture in Bamberg :o

And the hefe/syrup mixtures were popular in lots of places in Berlin, some had 20 bottles of different flavored juices.  I'd never seen banana juice before.  ::)

Maybe it was Berliner Weiße?
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: bluesman on March 04, 2011, 02:59:50 AM
I saw a girl drinking a hefe and cola mixture in Bamberg :o

And the hefe/syrup mixtures were popular in lots of places in Berlin, some had 20 bottles of different flavored juices.  I'd never seen banana juice before.  ::)

That's just not right Tom.

(http://planetsmilies.net/vomit-smiley-31.gif)
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: tschmidlin on March 04, 2011, 05:03:42 AM
I saw a girl drinking a hefe and cola mixture in Bamberg :o

And the hefe/syrup mixtures were popular in lots of places in Berlin, some had 20 bottles of different flavored juices.  I'd never seen banana juice before.  ::)

Maybe it was Berliner Weiße?
No, there was that too, but the menus listed the syrups for mixing with hefeweizen.  Passion fruit, star fruit, banana, mango, all kinds of stuff.  A lot of the places that had Berliner Weisse just had the raspberry and woodruff, and it was premixed in the bottle.  I didn't get to explore Berlin as much as I would have liked, it was a work trip and I put a premium on going to Bamberg before and leaving right after to see a friend in Dresden.  I had a great time though.


That's just not right Tom.
Nope.  Not even a little.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: phillamb168 on March 04, 2011, 08:33:37 AM
I saw a girl drinking a hefe and cola mixture in Bamberg :o

And the hefe/syrup mixtures were popular in lots of places in Berlin, some had 20 bottles of different flavored juices.  I'd never seen banana juice before.  ::)

That's just not right Tom.

(http://planetsmilies.net/vomit-smiley-31.gif)

I'd say that depends. There's a French corona-type beer called "Desperados" (Despy for short) which is basically a Pilsner with tequila/agave flavoring added. Normally I HATE it, but if you're out on a beach (remember, open container laws don't exist here) it's a PERFECT beer for strolling around. A few summers ago we went up to Normandy for camping close to the beach, and had a blast with a few bottles of Despy walking around in the surf.

Still, it's not something that I'd drink regularly. Like McDonald's - sometimes you get a craving for mass-produced crap.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: ryang on March 04, 2011, 03:14:42 PM

I'd say that depends. There's a French corona-type beer called "Desperados" (Despy for short) which is basically a Pilsner with tequila/agave flavoring added. Normally I HATE it, but if you're out on a beach (remember, open container laws don't exist here) it's a PERFECT beer for strolling around. A few summers ago we went up to Normandy for camping close to the beach, and had a blast with a few bottles of Despy walking around in the surf.

Still, it's not something that I'd drink regularly. Like McDonald's - sometimes you get a craving for mass-produced crap.

Ugh, we made the mistake of buying that while over there.  My wife and I couldn't drink anymore than one a couple sips each.  Wow, nasty stuff.

More on topic, that was an interesting article.  Even in such a grim time, there is so much room for expansion and re-build the german drinking populus.  Really makes me want to go over there and take over one of those mom and pop breweries and start cranking out gateway beers and to learn from the best and make traditional ales and lagers too.
Title: Re: The Death of German Brewing?
Post by: Kaiser on March 04, 2011, 05:25:23 PM
I echo much of what has been said so far and have read about this problem a few years back. The brewing industry in Germany is desperately trying to tap new markets.

The RHG is part of the problem but not so much in keeping brewers from making different beers but more in how it has shaped the German's perception what beer is. The vast majority of Germans, just like it was in the US, like balanced and mild beers that don't have weird (other call them interesting) flavors.

Even under the umbrella of the RHG a lot can be done to broaden the beer styles brewed in Germany. But the breweries who will do that will be small breweries. Like in the US, Germany needs to get a craft beer movement going that allows beer to be seen in a different light. Not only as a side dish for dinner but also as a drink that can be savored just like wine or cocktails.

The fading interest in beer among the German youth is one problem that might be difficult to overcome. Maybe once they age they'll regain interest in good beer just like many of us favored cheap beer/alcohol in college but now we have matured and appreciate better quality beer.

I doubt the German beer industry will die.

Kai