The annual day was created more than 500 years ago, in the year 1516, to commemorate the German Reinheitsgebot (German Beer Purity Law) which decreed that beer may only be made with three ingredients: barley, hops and water. Here are some of the best breweries to visit.
Founded in 725 as the Weihenstephan Benedictine Alley, this monastery began producing beer in 1040. It is now impressively not only the oldest continually operating brewery in Germany, but also within the world. Nowadays owned by the state of Bavaria, it produces a large range of brews including pale lagers and wheat beers.
Claiming to be the brewery situated at the highest altitude in Germany, Rothaus is deep in the middle of Germany’s Black Forest. The company is almost as green as their leafy surroundings, boasting brews from a wood chip plant they say is completely carbon neutral and utilizes thermal energy. While their beer has been brewed since 1791, their most popular Tannenzäpfle brew has been around since 1956.
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If you drift towards the darker side of beer, Köstritzer arguably produces Germany’s most famous Schwarzbier (black beer). It even counts Goethe as one of its consumers, as he is said to have sustained himself on the brew when unable to eat due to illness. During the Cold War, it was one of the very few breweries in East Germany which produced beer for export, largely to West Germany.
One of Germany’s most classic brews hails from the alpine region of Allgäu in Bavaria. At the 600-year old Allgäuer Brauerei, guests can sample their famous, lightly carbonated “Büble Bier” as well as a long line up of other light and dark varieties. Not only can guests sample their beer on site, they can also take a trip in the brewery’s hot air balloon, taking in the scenery of the Austrian Alps.
Once you are inside, it’s hard to guess that this rustic beer hall with brewing equipment on display is just a stone’s throw from a busy Berlin street. The dimly lit interior with long wooden tables feels like a classic beer hall, with a trendy flare as befits Berlin. Especially memorable here is the Rauchbier (smoked beer) which - true to its name - has a subtle but strangely tasty meaty flavor. They also brew a mean pale ale, known for its intensely bitter taste.
This brewery lives up to its name, offering some of the most unusual and creative (depending on your perspective) beers we've heard of. Take, for example, the Strawberry Eisbock Forever, a fruity wheat ale, or a tomato beer with smoked chipotles. The craft brewery’s owner frequently travels to other breweries worldwide to bring their unique flavours and processes into deutsches Bier.
Enjoying a cult status in Germany and centrally situated in Cologne, this organic-quality brewery offers a wide selection of white, wheat and of course the regional classic, Kölsch beer.
To visit the birthplace of Rauchbier, head to the beautiful town of Bamberg in northern Bavaria, which boasts 10 breweries famous for the smoky beer. The brewery gives guests a glimpse at the process of drying malt over an open fire that dates back to its opening in 1536. You’ll have to travel there yourself to sample the brew, which is only sold within about 15 kilometres of the city. They brew several different varieties, and if you have tried too many, they also double up as a bed and breakfast.
Bayerischer Bahnhof Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei
At first glance, it might seem that that the Gose wheat beer produced at this Leipzig brewery breaks the Reinheitsgebot - the famous 1516 Bavarian law that decreed that beer may only be made with hops, barley and water.
After all, the Gose wheat beer is made with coriander and salty water. Yet it receives an exception due to it being a regional specialty of Leipzig, even though it originated in Goslar in the Harz mountains.
Bayerischer Bahnhof is an old train station turned brewery that was built to connect the Saxon city with Bavaria. Try the refreshing Goseator, brewed with spices and matured in a tequilla oak barrel on the sprawling outdoor premises.
What better way is there to end an uphill hike than stopping at a scenic brewery? Located on the Holy Mountain on top of Lake Ammersee in Bavaria, and a pilgrimage site since the Middle Ages, the Andechs Monastery is one of the most unique spots in Deutschland to down a refreshing beer and take in the sweeping views.
This Statista infographic shows, among other things, the increasing number of breweries in Germany as well as which countries are the biggest fans of German beer.