German Beer - Pure Beer

For many centuries, beer has been a regular and continuous part of the everyday diet in all levels of society. As it was in Babylonia, so too is the quality of beer in Germany legislatively regulated by the authorities - and beer is still an important source of tax revenue.

The first regulation appeared in Augsburg. Establishments that served bad beer or dishonest amounts would fined and their beer destroyed.

The best known and most famous brewing law is the Reinheitsgebot. The "Purity Law" is the oldest food regulation in the world and still exists today unchanged from the original. It was ordered by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria in the year 1516. See picture above. It said that beer should only be brewed from barley, hops and water. Thanks to the regulation, Bavarian beers then became leaders among their peers. Thus other lands of Germany also enforced the regulation.

Today, of course, yeast is also recognized as a vital ingredient, but it was a brewing element whose effect was unknown at the time the law was written. Back then, brewers would just use the yeast that was present in the air.

Even today the most important law The Reinheitsgebot is still the most important law affecting brewing in Germany. In the beer tax law, which regulates beer production, it states: "For the preparation of beer, only malt, hops, yeast and water can be used." German brewers observe strict compliance with the Reinheitsgebot and the guarantee that in Germany only good, healthy beers will be brewed.

From Grain to Glass, Beer has History

The history of beer is closely intertwined with the history of humanity itself. Proof exists that the brewing tradition began some 6000 years ago. During this era some of the earliest concepts of brewing were discovered. When the Sumerians, the oldest known civilization on earth, noticed the fermentation process act upon an abandoned bowl of bread dough, they repeated the process to understand it and soon began "brewing."

They had discovered a true drink of the gods. They offered it to their gods as sacrifice; they gave it to their kings to drink; and all of this is inscribed in cuneiform tablets.

Around 3000 BC one of the world's greatest works of literature was written: The Epic of Gilgamesch. Written therein, bread and beer played a large role in the development of the tribes of the time into "cultivated people" - who we know now as the Sumerians. The tribal man Enkidu wants to measure his power with the demigod sovereign Gilgamesch and becomes after the enjoyment of bread and beer equal to a human being.

2000 BC was the downfall of the Sumerian empire, and the birth of the Babylonian empire. They built upon the culture of the Sumerians and took over, among other things, the art of brewing beer. The Babylonians brewed around 20 different beer styles and exported beer as far away as 1000 kilometer (621 miles) distant Egypt. Their king Hammurabi (1728-1686 BC) had even then ordered the chiseling of B beer regulations - among other laws - in Doric columns. The "Codex Hammurabi" is the oldest set of known laws in the world. The people were given their daily ration of beer according to their social standing: Workers two liters per day, officials three, managers and highpriests five!

The oldest evidence that beer was brewed in Germany comes from around 800 BC beer amphorae from what is known as the Hallsstattzeit found near Kulmbach. By the second century after Christ, beer was already being traded commercially. This was verified by a beer publisher's tablet that was found near Trier. As to the Egyptians, beer to the Germans was not just for sacrifice to the gods: That is why, for example, Finnish verses of Kalewala 400 verses are dedicated to the production of beer - while the creation of the world only gets 200!

Like bread baking, brewing in the earliest centuries was the work of woman. Not until the turn of the first millennium did the cloisters take up brewing. The monks were particularly interested in the scientific aspects of brewing, and so it was that at the Brabant Cloister zum Würzen that hops were tried for the very first time. That probably lead to the legend that Brabant King Gambrinus was the inventor of beer. He is still remembered today as a great patron of the brewers and a beer lover in his own right.

But the monks did not brew the beer just for their own thirst. Many paintings of that era show that they were very devoted to this drink - and with time many of the cloister developed into very lucrative businesses. As compensation, the monks legally had the right to market beer. The led to the birth of Kloisterschenken, taprroms where the Monks could sell the beer to go.

In the meantime the craft of brewing had become a respectable profession in the many cities that were springing up in Germany. Beer tithes and taxes were filling the coffers-especially those of the royalty. The purchase of cloister beer threatened this tax source, so many heads of state banned it. The first to do so was Kaiser Sigismund (1410-1437). By 1803, secularization became the end for many cloister breweries, and only a few survived.

Today there are only 11 of them, the most famous being Andechs and Ettal.

With the rise of exports, German developed world famous beer cities. In the 14th century, Bremen was the midpoint for beer exports to Holland, England and Scandinavia, Hamburg was the brewery of the Hanse: By 1500 there some 600 breweries situated there. The Hanse exported beer as far away as India. Braunschweig and Einbeck, the birthplace of bock beer, were also important beer cities.

An prominent date in the history of beer is without a doubt the enactment of the Reinheitsgebot (Purity Law) in 1516 by Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria. It said that beer could only be brewed with from barley (later barley malt), hops and water. The usage of yeast was not yet known at the time and was usually left to chance - yeast in the air. The Reinheitsgebot is the oldest, still-enforced food regulation in the world.

A King becomes a Brewer Berlin also has an old brewing tradition. Under the Prussian "Soldier King" Friedrich Wilhelm I beer became " hoffähig" (fit for the court). With his legendary "Tabakskollegium" (tobacco board), " Friedrich Wilhelm I brought what was perhaps the first "Stammtisch" round into being. (The "Stammtisch" is a German tradition - a big table where friends, neighbors and guests gather frequently to relax, celebrate or just pass the time.) Friedrich Wilhelm I even let his son become a brewer. That son was later known as Friedrich der Große - Frederick the Great.

The industrial development of brewing began in the first half of the 19th century and Spaten was at the forefront of innovation.

The precursor for it was the invention of the steam engine by James Watt for firing brewhouses and artificial refrigeration by Carl von Linde developed at the request of, and while working for, Gabriel Sedlmayr II of the Spaten Brewery. It had been scientifically proved, that the production of constant quality beer demanded certain temperatures - temperatures that at the time were only available in the winter months. The invention of refrigeration made it possible to brew year round. Another decisive development was the discovery of microorganisms by Louis Pasteur - thus the science of the fermentation process was finally established.

Closed off from the hectic stress of everyday life, friends, neighbors and colleagues meet, to talk about everything under the sun along with a freshly poured glass of beer in their favorite bar that is a snapshot of happiness from everyday life. Some 78% of German citizens consider a visit to a local watering hole their most beloved leisure activity, and nearly every other German has a "Lieblingslokal" - a favorite place where the host is a friend and where one feels at home.

Gastronomy in Germany has many faces. Favorites are pubs with pastoral or rustic decoration and those that awaken the memories of the good old days. 54 percent of Germans feel most content in an everyday pub, 31 percent at a corner restaurant and 28 percent at an Italian, Greek or Spanish restaurant. But outdoor restaurants (25%), cafes (23%), and the aforementioned rustic, pastoral pubs (20%) also have their fans. Some 11 percent prefer select gourmet establishments.

What would the most comfortable pub or happy hour be without beer? That's why Faßbier (draught beer) is Germany's most beloved drink. 73 percent of all guests will buy a draught beer before a bottled beer. It should be served cool and fresh, with an appetizing head of foam, and it should taste good. Nine out of ten German citizens is happy with their local host. The beer in their establishment is well tapped.


The history of the SPATEN-FRANZISKANER Brewery, which even today is still in the family hands, can be traced back to the year 1363. The experience and knowledge gained form six centuries of brewing was handed down from generation to generation, right on down to the present day. But the actual "modern- day" brewing tradition in Munich began in 1807, when Gabriel Sedlmayr I, the brewmaster for the royal court, took over the SPATEN Brewery. At that time it was a small brewery, but he constantly expanded it until his death in 1839. In 1851 his son, Gabriel Sedlmayr II, who learned the art of brewing in various European countries laid the cornerstone for what was to become the SPATEN brewery in the heart of Munich, where it is still located to this day, just a few blocks away from the center of town. SPATEN, Bavaria's second largest export brewery.

Over 600 years of experience in brewing have made SPATEN beers world-famous. SPATEN beer, made in Munich. Highly regarded the world over by those who know good beer, because no other beer is purer, better, or more natural in taste. Try a SPATEN beer, and you might just forget that there is any other kind of beer.