Tuesday, June 17, 2014

The German Beer Consumer

I always get that look when I show up at the counter of a new Getränke Shop with 12 different individual beers. Like I'm some sort of weirdo who can't make up his mind about what he likes to drink. Maybe it's because they have to scan 12 bottles instead of 1. Some specialized beer shops are more than happy to see customers leave with a variety of beers and I think these will be more and more popular as the craft beer scene expands.

That's the way I do it, not how our local Bavarian friends do it.

From what I gather they find a favorite and stick to it. After speaking with family and friends who are German natives it seems there's a two step process to finding "your" favorite beer.

Step one: find the type of beer you like, most choice will be covered by Hell, Weiss or Pils. If you're from Köln you'll swear by Kölsch and I've heard that Düsseldorf's choice would be their homebrew "Altbier". Dopplebocks are rarely the "go to" beer and mostly viewed as seasonal.

Step two: find the brand you like the most and the next two alternate brands you will opt for if the first one is not offered.

Tasting anything other than their type of beer will make them cringe, I've seen it. A different brand will be "not as good as the one brand I like". The brand they choose will greatly depend on the availability in the specific region and the price.

There's "construction worker's beer" which is very cheap and also very horse piss-like. You have the beers which are exported all over the world such as Löwenbräu, Becks, Warsteiner, etc. which you'll get for a very decent price and they have a steady quality but are all very generic. Then you get into the interesting beers which are mostly local, here in Munich you have Augustiner, Hofbräu, Andechs, Chiemseer and Tegernsee.

The younger generations seem very open to try other beers but I still hear some individuals who will refuse to drink Weissbier even if I give them 10 different brands to try. I hear things like "I know this one is good, why would I try anything else." No one here is ready for a double IPA, especially if it comes in a 0,5L bottle!

Read Part 1: A first glance at the Munich craft beer scene

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