Wednesday, December 20, 2006

Reinheitsgebot 1516

Allow me some leeway to rant a bit today on the Reinheitsgebot of 1516. In English this is the German Beer Purity law, passed in 1516 that states that only water, hops, and barley maybe used in making beer (Yeast was later added to the law once people figured out what yeast was). The reason the law was passes was becuase brewers were using adjuncts in their beer (rice, corn) so that they could make their beer cheaper, but sell it at the same price. So in affect this was one of the first ever consumer protection laws. It also helped the governement more effectively tax the beer makers. Over the years this law has been both praised and condemned. Praised because it keeps beer pure, condemned because it limits German brewers creativity. Its this last point that drives me nuts. How ANYONE can say that this law is limiting German creativity I'll never understand. Lets look at a sampling of beers that German's are making with just water, hops, yeast, and barley (and wheat):
Hefeweizen: German Wheat Beers
Kristallweizen: Filtered wheat beers
Dunkel Weizen: Dark Wheat Beers
Rauchbier: The famous Smoke Beers
German Pilsner
Alt Bier
Berliner Weisse:
A type of wheat beer brewed only in Berlin
Eisbock: Ice beer
Bock: We all know this style
Dortmunder/Export: A sytle of beer from the city of Dortmunder
Marzen/Oktoberfest: The beer traditionally brewed for that famous celebration.

Now thats a whole lot of different styles made with just hops, water, and barley. It doesn't seem to be limiting German's imagination any.

No comments: