|My parents’ Mannheimer stein. It’s common for towns in Germany to sell steins depicting their Wasserturm, or water tower.|
Germans have been brewing bier for thousands of years. In the beginning it was ales that were most popular, though the last 500 years have seen lagers rise to take more than 2/3 of the current market share. While bier is a relatively simple beverage made of simple ingredients, it is the art of brewing that transforms the simplicity into a stein of complete perfection.
Raised in an unapologetically proud German-American household, I was raised to believe that Deutsches Bier is the only bier worth drinking. Not naming any names, but
my father someone close to me has been known to say that Samuel Adams (an annual poll-topping American favorite) is “simply pedestrian.” For any of you who have actually been offered a bier in my home, you know my fridge reflects this belief.
In honor of Oktoberfest, I am sharing my favorite German bier that can be found domestically in the United States. As true of anything imported, or brewed via a domestic distributor, it is sure not to taste as fresh and authentically as it would if pulled straight from a tap in Germany but, alas, it is the best we can do. We can’t have it all.
So. . . in no particular order, here we go!
|Brewed in Bavaria in the world’s oldest, still functioning brewery, Weihenstephaner has a number of delicious weissbier und hefeweissbier brewed in traditional Bayerisch (Bavarian) fashion. For those intimidated by the pronunciation of this bier, you are not alone! Watch this hilarious clip of Americans attempting to get it right.|
|Another classic Bavarian brew, Spaten strictly adheres to the Reinheitsgebot, a law established in the 16th century by Duke Wilhem IV, stating that bier must only be brewed from malt, hops, and water — ensuring the freshest of tastes.|
|Very popular in the United States, Hofbrau does a nice job of bringing “Munich’s character as a city of beer” to American culture. Not surprisingly, the Hofbrauhaus in Munich is a very popular destination for American tourists during Oktoberfest.|
|Franziskaner is a classic Hefe-Weissbier, where flavors of cloves, oranges, and even the slightest hint of banana can pop through. Don’t be mistaken though, American shandy lovers, this is not a shandy!|
|The Hacker-Pschorr brand was born of a marriage in the 18th century. One of Munich’s most prized composers, Richard Strauss, is actually a Pschorr by relation of his mother! Try the Kellerbier variety, its my favorite.|
|One of my favorite Pilsener varieties with a slightly tart taste to it. For anyone looking for something with a specialty flavor, Warsteiner also makes a grapefruit variety. Shandy lovers may enjoy that one!|
|Another Pilsener great, Radeberger is considered the original brewer of classic, German Pilseners. They are very proud of the fact that their bier is only brewed in Radeberg, Germany, a testimony to their commitment to quality control.|