May 26


Beer – The liquid gold

By Frank

May 26, 2020

Bavaria is known all over the world for its beer. 642 breweries from a total of 1492 breweries throughout Germany are at home in the Bavarian Free State. But it wasn't always like that and at all - first things first...

  • The oldest brewery known to date was in the Rakefet Cave in the Carmel Mountains near the city of Haifa. Archaeologists have found a 13,000-year- old alcohol production site here. Research has shown that this involved the fermentation of grain , which is the basis of beer.
  • The oldest traditional beer recipe is around 5000 years old and comes from China.
  • The Egyptians fermented half-baked bread with water and got a kind of beer. (Source: Wikipedia “Beer”)
From now on, beer production was no longer a product of chance and it succeededConsistent quality beerandThe tasteto manufacture.

Aha! Cool ...

Hops, barley and malt

In Nuremberg e.g. B. was already decreed in 1303/05 due to a famine that only barley and no other grain may be used for brewing beer. Beer served was only allowed to contain three ingredients : hops, malt and water . Yeast was not known at that time.

While bottom- fermented beer was brewed in Bavaria until the late 15th century, it was not until around 1480 that the technology of top-fermented beer production reached Bavaria from Bohemia. Bottom- fermented beer production was impossible in the summer months or prohibited due to the risk of fire. A decisive advantage of top-fermented beer was that it could also be brewed in summer, at the time of greatest thirst .

Bavaria a wine country...

Even after the Thirty Years' War (1618 - 1648), Bavaria was more a country of wine than of beer . However, the Thirty Years' War also brought about the downfall of the North German dominance at the time. The famous breweries in the north , such as Hamburg and Bremen, were almost all completely destroyed after the end of the war, while the wine fields in Bavaria were razed to the ground.

The cultivation of vines was much more time-consuming than that of hops. That is why the decision was made in Bavaria to grow hops and to specialize in beer. It was above all the monks who excelled in the art of brewing . This is how the success story of the Bavarian brew began.

200 years wheat beer monopoly

The Bavarian regents from the House of Wittelsbach understood early on how to combine the power of beer and money in a drinkable way. Herzog, later Elector Maximilian I., a proven financial expert, recognized the enormous appeal of wheat beer . From 1603 he had wheat beer produced exclusively by his own breweries in Munich, Kehlheim, Mattighofen and Traunstein.

And Maximilian I needed new sources of income in order to be able to restructure the state finances (including the 30-year war...). The wheat beer monopoly remained in the hands of the Wittelsbach family for almost 200 years . It was not until 1798 that Elector Karl Theodor abolished the wheat beer monopoly.

The story is still being continued today with “ König Ludwig Weissbier and the “ Kaltenberger Ritterspiele ”. In addition to the introduction of the Purity Law in 1516, the so-called wheat beer monopoly has made a significant contribution to Bavaria being considered the home of beer .


Lifesaver Purity Law

Beer and Bavaria - it feels like they always belong together, but only in a sense . Bavaria was once a wine country and beer was more like an indefinable brew in the 15th century. The broth was partly diluted with fly agaric, tree bark, henbane or poisonous datura , as well as ox bile, bull's blood and mutton testicles .

People sometimes lay delirious for days and in particularly bad cases drinking beer led to ailment and premature death . In order to remedy the general beer adulteration, the Purity Law, which is still valid today, was issued in 1516 . Valid for the whole of Bavaria .

The Purity Law is an ordinance that is more than 500 years old , making it the oldest food law . In the meantime, however, it is no longer the Purity Law that is legally binding, but the provisional Beer Tax Act of 1993 based on it.

Purity command

In today's provisional beer tax law, however , 50 other additives are permitted, such as plastic granules for filtering suspended matter or gelatine (for clarifying similar to wine). The additives are filtered out again before bottling and therefore do not have to be mentioned on the bottle.

Beer - No Unesco Intangible Cultural Heritage...

A few years ago it was in the media: 14 of the best-selling beer brands in Germany were found to contain the pesticide glyphosate (a weed killer and classified as probably carcinogenic). The values were sometimes well above the drinking water limit values, which do not exist for beer....

The German Purity Law was even a candidate for UNESCO's intangible cultural heritage, but it didn't make it. " People as knowledge bearers of the brewing tradition seem to play an increasingly subordinate role ..." For this reason , Belgian beer culture was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2016 ...

Beer as a means of payment

The barley juice was already known in ancient Egypt - and also very appreciated. The pyramid builders were given two mugs of beer and bread every day . It was also a payment method for officials and soldiers. Researchers have even found beer in graves. Scientists even found a Bronze Age brewery in Tel Aviv in 2015. Findings indicate that the brew was discovered more than 9000 years ago .

Over 6000 types of beer... ?

The raw material hops is decisive for the character of a beer. It ensures the specific aroma profile of a beer, determines the quality of the bitterness and plays a major role in giving a freshly poured beer its creamy, typical head of foam . In addition , the hops increase the shelf life of the beer in a completely natural way without chemical additives.

The master brewer alone is responsible for the harmonious balance between aroma and bitterness - not an easy task with a selection of over 200 types of hops , more than 500 types of malt and 200 yeast strains to brew a good beer according to the Purity Law.

There are now around 6,000 types of beer and almost 1,000 types of beer have been added in recent years. In other words , it would take about 16.5 years to try a different German beer every day …. Good beer – taste, aroma and quality are paramount. It is much more enjoyed than "drunk"!

Transnational Collaboration Brew - Transatlantic Brewing Pact

International collaboration brews are the hottest trend on the beer scene . The American craft pioneers from Sierra Nevada recently met in Weihenstephan to brew a creative wheat beer. The oldest brewery in the world sits enthroned there, above Freising: the Weihenstephan state brewery. Brewers from all over the world value such tradition and centuries-old craftsmanship .

After a year of developing the recipe, the makers decided on a modern collaboration brew. The " transatlantic brewing pact " unites wheat beer expertise with modern hop knowledge . It is a creative wheat beer with six percent alcohol, flavored with 3 types of hops. An orange wheat beer with a creamy and stable head of foam. The brewing package smells of banana and cloves - an aromatic brew with high drinkability ...

What's exciting to see?

Louis Pasteur and the fermentation process

From 1876, thanks to the invention of the refrigeration machine by Carl von Linde , it was possible to produce beer all year round, since cool temperatures (4 - 11°C) were required for the (bottom-fermenting) fermentation process. The top-fermented beer , which had been widespread until then, increasingly took a back seat.

In 1873 Louis Pasteur discovered the important role of yeast cells in fermentation . Up until then, yeast was well known – and you couldn’t see it without significant magnification. A yeast cell is only 6-12 microns! It was only discovered after the invention of the microscope.

Louis Pasteur painting

Accordingly, yeast was included in the Purity Law as the fourth raw material . The type of fermentation used to brew a beer depends on the yeast used . The mushrooms are indispensable in beer production because they convert sugar into alcohol and thus provide the characteristic taste.

Yeasts that like it warm collect on the surface of the fermentation vat and are therefore top-fermented. Typical top-fermented styles are wheat, Kölsch and Berliner Weisse .

Bottom-fermenting yeasts don't like it so warm, they sink to the bottom during fermentation. Pils, Export and Bock, for example, are brewed bottom-fermented. Incidentally, in English, top-fermented beers are referred to as ales and bottom-fermented beers as lager.

Customs you probably didn't know yet...

Lederhosen as an indication of pure beer

After the introduction of the Purity Law, a curious method was used to check whether the brewer had carried out his craft properly . A copious amount of the freshly brewed beer was poured onto a natural oak bench . Then a couple of young lads in leather trousers were put on the wet bench, where they had to sit still for an hour or two .

Leather pants

The lederhosen first soaked up the beer and then slowly dried in the sun. If they were dry, everyone got up at the same time. But if the bench didn't stay on the ground , but stuck to the pants , the master brewer had done his job well and didn't skimp on the malt. how come

The bottom test proved that the fresh beer contained enough sticky malt sugar , meaning that the beer had been brewed with sufficiently pure raw materials .

Beer spikes – heat up vigorously

The celebration of beer with a red-hot iron stick, the sting, probably dates back to 19th-century England.

Traditional beer spikes

In the cold, damp winters , they put a red-hot iron stick into the strong beer, which was poured without foam, just before drinking it. It was mostly a dark beer, the Porter style of beer, which was very popular in England. As a result, they heated the beer on the one hand and conjured up a creamy foam on the other.

The hot spike causes the residual sugar in the beer to caramelize . It is swirled briefly and quickly removed from the glass by the foam crown that forms. The binding carbon dioxide elicits all of the aromas from the beer, and the air is filled with notes of coffee and roasted malt . If you raise the glass to your lips, the warmth of the head of foam will surprise you before the cold beer pours through. A unique drinking experience !

From toasting and setting down

In the Middle Ages, the mugs were pushed together with great force , the beer sloshed from one vessel into the other, and only then was the first sip taken. With that, the drinking comrades were sure - whoever clinked glasses with their counterpart had no intention of poisoning them ...

But why the brief discontinuation of the beer ? Well, for people who don't agree, it helps to know that putting it down can subsequently cancel out the forced toast in a social setting .

Alternatively , sailors commemorate their drowned comrades and salute them.

Pewter lids need the table rest to open your pitcher.


The "Beer Belly"

If you look at the calorie content of a wide variety of drinks , the pilsner with 43 calories in 100 ml comes off very well compared to apple juice , which has the same amount with 57 calories, and sparkling wine , which even has 83 calories. We all gain weight when we consume more calories than we burn.

The (beer) belly is mainly a consequence of poor nutrition and lack of exercise . Beer has an appetizing effect . Carbon dioxide and alcohol stimulate the production of gastric acid, and this quickly leads to a feeling of hunger and the desire for a few bites to go with the beer .

The perfect Pils in seven minutes

That's right - a fresh beer can and should be tapped in a maximum of two to three minutes and two drafts. If the tapping is too long , beer loses a lot of carbonic acid and becomes stale and warm. A beer is perfect when a clean, cold-rinsed glass is held at an angle, about two-thirds of the tap is tapped, briefly set aside and then tapped again with the artful placement of a head of foam .

The seven-minute-mar probably comes from earlier beer dispensers.

About the author

It is more valuable to experience a place in detail than many small impressions of an incomprehensible whole.

Genius Loci - discovering, capturing and experiencing the spirit of a place. Perceive - understand - enjoy!

As a graduate industrial engineer with an additional MBA degree from a renowned university in England (EMBA, EQUIS and AACSB accredited), I have been showing other, often surprising, paths to success for more than 30 years at C-Level (Head of Marketing and Sales worldwide).

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