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Friday Beer Blogging September 11, 2009

Posted by Dwight Furrow in Dwight Furrow's Posts, Food and Drink.
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This article comparing German and American beer is quite interesting. The writer is an American writing for a German publication. And he argues persuasively that American beer is better. (His German readers were less than enthusiastic)

Of course he is not talking about the Coors-Budweiser-Miller swill. He is promoting the fast-growing micro-brew market. (Germany has their own inferior mass-market brews which, to my taste, are a bit better than their American counterparts, but not by much.)

On quality, variety, and innovation he rates American micro-brews better than the brew-pub offerings from Germany.

I’m no expert on beer but I have done some beer tasting in Germany. On quality, I think it’s basically a wash; both countries make wonderful beer. The linked article confuses price with quality. German beers are not luxury items—their quality beers will not be outrageously expensive. Nevertheless, their meticulous attention to detail and quality ingredients make wonderful beer.

But on innovation and variety American beers are hands down better.

But what makes such comparisons difficult are the vast differences in the two beer cultures. In Germany, every city has their own style about which they are quite proud and they serve mostly that style with slight variations. In Munich you will drink primarily Hefeweisen, in Cologne Kolsch, in Bamberg Rauchbier (smoked beer). (Pilsner is available all over but with subtle regional differences). They are not much interested in variety (and don’t even ask for Belgium beer!)

In America, brew pubs are always innovating, searching for new styles, flavor combinations, and new methods. As the linked article points out:

To some extent the difference is unbridgeable–Germans are uninterested in innovation or even a wide variety of choice, because they feel they have already found perfection. Americans are dazzled by the possibilities of new angles and avenues, and pursue them relentlessly, even if it means breaking rules. Is there is a better statement about the basic differences between European and American culture?

I adore Hefeweizen, especially at 10:00 in the morning with Weisswurst, which is their mid-morning snack in Munich.

But if I lived in Germany, I would grow weary of the lack of variety.

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