Germany is well-known for its vast selection of domestic beers. Brewing and drinking beer is a huge part of the German culture, and the land has been blessed with the natural conditions needed to grow grains and brew beer.
Oktoberfest is a world-renowned beer festival gathering people from all over the world to enjoy this beloved German tradition.
Beer drinking is so deeply rooted into the German culture that the food is made to be compatible with beer. Moreover, beer is used for cooking food in the first place.
In addition to mass-produced beers, Germany is rich in craft beers coming from smaller local breweries. The average German drinks about 106 liters of beer annually, which is a number that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Nevertheless, Germany is not the biggest beer consumer on the world stage, coming fifth superseded by Romania, Poland, Austria, and The Czech Republic, proudly holding the first place.
Beer, in Germany, is not only a steam-blowing drink but a serious part of their culture, which is where the German word “Bierernst” stems from, which literally translates as “Beer serious.”
Although Germans didn’t invent beer, nor have they taken credit for it, beer is the German national drink. Therefore, when a country has a word to describe the importance of beer, you cannot help but describe it as a beer nation.
Germany has over 1300 breweries producing over 5.500 different types of beer, so if you want to try German beer, you have a vast selection in front of you.
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If you aren’t well familiar with German beer brands, choosing from the endless sea of options may not be a pleasant task. Therefore, it is always good to have the options narrowed down a little so that you can make a decision that will suit your taste.
Top 20 German Beer Brands
In this article, I will give you a list of 20 of the best German beer brands and tell you something about each of them.
1. Weihestephaner Heffe Weissbier
This beer is extremely delicious and rich, tastes like banana, clove, and cinnamon, and has been declared the best overall in many competitions.
Coming from the oldest brewery in the world, this beer has a rich tradition standing behind it and is definitely the pillar of the German beer culture.
Since the main grain for this beer is wheat, you can feel its sweetness when you drink it, mixed with banana and cinnamon notes dancing on your palate. This beer is definitely a crowd-pleaser, so no matter your preference, you will definitely enjoy it.
2. Paulaner Salvator
With its chocolate, caramel, figs, tasting notes, and its spicy hoppy finish this beer is not only popular in Germany, but also worldwide. It is abundant in floral and fruity notes and is definitely another crowd-pleaser.
Dating from way back, monks created, i.e. the 17th century, this beer for medicinal purposes. These monks had barley at their disposal, so they made a dark barley malt to brew this beer.
The recipe evolved but didn’t change significantly, so the dark barley malt is still used for this beer, making it one of the stronger on this list.
It is a full-bodied, rich beer known for its pungent aromas and potent flavors. It is also pretty generous in alcohol content, but that doesn’t impact the flavor.
3. Goose Island Summertime Kolch
This is a delicious beer tasting like herbs, lemon, and bread. It is a classic German beer made following the German brewing steps.
However, this beer has been under the moderate influence of the American brewing style, so you may even say that it is an American-tasting German beer.
4. Schneider Weisse
This is a very flavorful beer with an herbal, earthy, and slightly fruity flavor. It exhibits distinct notes of banana, cloves, and nutmeg, creating a rich and buttery overall taste.
When you taste it, you feel how gentle it is, thinking that this is not a strong beer, but you would be wrong. This is a high-alcohol beer, masterfully packed in a soft and gentle drink.
On the downside, this beer isn’t for everyone, as it has a very particular bitter note that not everybody would like.
5. Erdinger Kristall
Combining flavors of citrus, wheat, and spices, many find that this beer reminds them of whiskey. Of course, this is not to say that this is a whiskey-flavored beer, but if you like whiskey, chances are you will also like this beer.
It comes from the world’s largest wheat beer brewery, and it is known for its crystal appearance. This beer is expressively sweet, grainy, slightly bitter, and floral.
6. Augustinier Bräu Edelstoff
Sweet and easy to drink, this beer tastes like hay, biscuit, and honey, which is a rather unusual flavor combination when it comes to beer. This beer is a light pilsner and it comes from the oldest independent brewery in Munich.
It is overall fresh, vibrant, and playful and an ideal choice for those who like their beer on the softer side. If you prefer bitter and stronger beers, this may not be the perfect option for you.
7. Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
This is a rather unusual beer, on the one hand, and a very traditional one, on the other hand. Combining notes of smoke, roasted malt, and meat, this is a beer that is deep, full-flavored, and round-bodied.
The word itself- Rauchbier is the best description for this drink. Rauchbier means smoked beer, and as little sense as that may make, it describes the beer perfectly. Even if you don’t like strong and smoky beers, you just may like it because the tasting notes are so uniquely balanced that you will likely enjoy them.
It has a flavorful, meaty body and a smoky finish making this beer an absolute must.
8. Köstritzer Schwarzbier
Combining notes of nuts, pumpernickel, and bitter chocolate, dark is what describes this beer both on the inside and outside. The brewery has a rich history of over 500 years, which translates into this beer’s texture.
It is thick and buttery, high in viscosity, and very rich. To the surprise of many, this is not a strong beer in terms of alcohol content, making it the perfect light sipper. If you enjoy drinking beer just because you like the drink and not because of the kick it gives you, this may be just what you want.
9. Berliner Kindl Weisse
Combining only two tasting notes, i.e., lemon and wheat, at first this beer seems fairly simple. However, mid-palate, it develops, reaching new and unpredicted flavors of honey and cinnamon, mixed with the existing sourness of the lemon and grainy sweetness of the banana.
All tasting notes are carefully enveloped in an overall tanginess which is sort of a leader in the flavor profile. The beer has a low alcohol content and is an ideal choice if you want a light and delicious refreshment.
10. Ayinger Oktober Fest Märzen
Combining notes of malt, wildflowers, orange peel, caramel, and bread, no beer list is complete without this beer.
This beer is brewed in March and aged until October each year, so it debuts every year in October, freshly brewed and delicious.
Light, flavorful, and vibrant, this beer is the best way to get acquainted with Oktoberfest. It is rich, sweet, grainy, and slightly bitter. In some aspects, this is a classic beer, and in other aspects, it is unusual and very original.
11. Spaten Oktoberfest
With tasting notes of herbs, lemon, candied barley malts, and toast, this is an incredibly well-balanced beer. Earthy, fresh, and incredibly delicious. Floral, fruity, and delightfully sour and sweet, you cannot miss this delicacy when you go to Oktoberfest.
But wait, this beer has an ace in the sleeve. It has been specially designed to pair with meat. So, the next time you are in Germany, combine your Spaten Oktoberfest with a juicy link of Bratwurst to thoroughly enjoy it.
12. Augutiner Lagerbier Hell
With a long-lasting and rich history dating since 1621, this beer has a straw-yellow color and is very delicate and gentle, especially on the nose. It is well-carbonated, and you can feel the bubbles tingle your palate, making this beer even more exciting.
Combining tasting notes of honey, lemon, and grassy florals, it has an overall mild and soft flavor. It is a light sipper, so if you want to enjoy a light snack combined with a soft-flavored beer, this is the right one for you.
13. Schlösser Alt Altbier
This beer is a lager beer bottom-fermented at low heat. It has an expressive yeast flavor combined with a noticeable yet not overwhelming grainy note. The brewery was, sadly, decommissioned in 2002, but you can still find the beer.
It is rich, with a thick texture, creamy, and very smooth. It is a highly versatile beer, combining amazingly with snack foods, as well as meats.
14. Früh Kölch
The brewery producing this beer is a ‘private brewer’ specializing in Kolsch, so it is sort of a craft beer. Früh is a top-fermented beer using ale yeast. But what makes Früh unusual is that it is cold-fermented, unlike most of warm-fermented Kolches.
The similarity this beer has with lager beer is undeniable, but it does follow the Kolsch beer brewing steps. This beer is meant to be chugged, meaning that it is an excellent sipper as well.
15. Schofferhofer Grapefruit Radler
If you like mixing fruity, cocktail-like notes, with typical beer carbonized notes, this is the beer for you. This delicious and vibrant radler tastes explicitly like grapefruit, and it is incredibly refreshing and zesty. You can also find a pomegranate variant, which is just as delicious.
The word “Radler” means “cyclist,” which describes this beer as cyclic, meaning that the flavors interchange in cycles. So, you will be feeling waves of grapefruit or pomegranate followed by bitter, typical beer notes.
The fruit-wheat ratio is 50-50, so you will be feeling both dimensions equally intensely.
16. Jever Pilsener
Not only is this beer playful and delicious on its own, but it is very inspiring in terms of your appetite. There is just something about it that makes you pretty peckish, so people rarely have this beer alone, with no snacks.
It is best described as an herbal and earthy beer, which is why your palate craves for a bit more flavor. It is soft and well-carbonated with a grainy finish.
17. Alaskan Amber Altbier
Despite of the name, this is a German beer brewed in Alaska. It is an old German recipe and the beer has been recognized as completely German. This is an outstandingly rich beer with expressive notes of chocolate and coffee. It is made with barley, which is why it is intense and robust.
It is bitter-sweet and herbal, very aromatic, with hints of dark honey roasted chestnuts, sage, dark chocolate, and freshly-baked bread.
18. Gaffel Kölsch
This is a light and easy-to-drink beer that won’t leave heaviness in your stomach. It is a very flavorful beer with a crisp citrus freshness and gentle fruity, and earthy tones. It has a slight ginger note that gives this beer an ale-like quality.
19. Rothaus Pils Tannenzäpfle
This beer falls under the pilsner category, which is the most popular beer category in Germany. It is light, easy, and cheerful, which is why it is so popular. Definitely a crowd-pleaser, this beer has excellently balanced notes shifting from citrus to baked goods, spice, and herbal notes.
It is nice and bubbly, creating a soft palate experience. You can sip it slowly, combine it with dry snacks, such as pretzels, or jug it if you are thirsty; it works any way you want it.
20. Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel
Not too dark, but not light either; this beer is somewhere in the middle on the color and flavor spectrum between light and dark beer. It balances both sides excellently, honoring the signature sweetness and richness of dark beer and including the lightness and easiness of light beers.
It is a lager beer, full-bodied and malty, with hints of chocolate and slight citrus and herbal notes.
What Is The Most Popular Beer In Germany?
The most popular beer in Germany is the pilsner. It is a pale lager originating in Plzen, and it is a top-fermented Bohemian beer.
What Are The Top 10 German Beers?
Germany produces over 5.500 different kinds of beer from over 1200 breweries country-wide, so naming only ten beers from this endless selection would be unfair, as that is an impossible choice.
However, there is a narrowed list of the most popular German beers. The following ten are regarded as the most popular beers in Germany:
- Weihestephaner Heffe Weissbier
- Paulaner Salvator
- Goose Island Summertime Kolch
- Schneider Weisse
- Erdinger Kristall
- Augustinier Bräu Edelstoff
- Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
- Köstritzer Schwarzbier
- Berliner Kindl Weisse
- Ayinger Oktober Fest Märzen
Is Budweiser A German Beer?
Budweiser is an American-style pale lager known to the world as an American beer. However, it originates from the Czech Republic and was originally called Budvar, as that was the name of the brewery that originally produced it.
There is still a Czech Budweiser, called Budweiser Budvar, to differentiate it from its American counterpart.
Is Heineken a German Beer?
No, Heineken is not a German beer. It is a Dutch pale lager produced by the Heineken brewery in the Netherlands.