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Germany is often associated with its beer, or should I say beers? There are so many verschiedene Sorten (different sorts) and Marken (brands) that you actually need a Dimplom (diploma) to be able to distinguish them all. By the way, I am only joking. There is not something like a beer-diploma! So, versteht mich bitte nicht falsch (please, don’t get me wrong). I am not a Biertrinker (beer drinker) because I just do not like the Geschmack (taste) of it. Therefore, it is always difficult for me to realize which sort of beer people prefer to drink.
When you are going to a Kneipe (pub) you will recognize that people either bestellen (order) a particular sort of beer, e.g. a Weizenbier (wheat beer) and a Pils or Pilsener (a bitter pale beer with a strong hop flavour), or a particular brand, e.g. a Radeberger, a Krombacher, a Warsteiner, a Hasseröder, a Schöfferhofer, etc. So, what is the difference between all those beers?
Basically, a beer is characterized by the way in which it is brewed, regardless of the brand name: untergärig (bottom-femented) or obergärig (top-femented). Bottom-femented means that the Hefe (yeast) is added to a mixture of Stammwürze (original wort) and water at a temperature between 4 and 9 degrees Celsius. Top-femented means that the yeast is added to this mix at a temperature between 15 and 20 degrees Celsius. Generally, the yeast is responsible for the Gärung (fementation), as it changes the sugar or maltose of the original wort into Alkohol (alcohol), Kohlensäure (carbonic acid), and Wärme (heat). The two different forms of fementation affect mainly the taste of the beer. Top-femented beers, like wheat beer, taste fairly mild and süffig (palatable), whereas bottom-femented beers, like Pilsener, are rather bitter. Nowadays, the most popular beers are indeed the bottom-femented Pils or Pilsener and the top-femented Weizenbier. Thus, when people order a Weizenbier or Pilsener, they just let the waiter pick which particular sort of beer they would like to drink.
There are also many other sorts of beer, e.g. Altbier, Export, Kölsch, and Lager. But to explain the differnce between those would go beyond the scope of this post. As far as I have understood, you only have to remember three things: What kind of grain is used (Gerste – barley, Weizen – wheat, and/or Roggen – rye); which kind of yeast you add, and at what temperature the yeast is added. If you like to learn more about German beer, please, leave a comment.
Below you will find two commercials, which I like very much. I will also provide the spoken content and English translation in written language, so that you can easily follow what is said in the commercials.
Meisterhaft, unnachahmlich, einzigartig und von einer Eleganz, die man jeden Tag neu genießen kann. Radeberger Pilsener: schon immer besonders.
(Masterly, inimitable, unique and full of elegance which you can enjoy every day anew. Radeberger Pilsener: always been special.)
Der pure Pilsgeschmack. Grenzenlos frisch. (The pure taste of Pils. Immeasurably fresh.)
verschiedene Sorten – different sorts (die Sorte – sort)
Marken – brands (die Marke – brand)
(das) Dimplom – diploma
both informal: versteht mich bitte nicht falsch (pl.) / versteh mich bitte nicht falsch (sgl.) – please, don’t get me wrong
(der) Biertrinker – beer drinker
(der) Geschmack – taste
(die) Kneipe – pub
bestellen – order
(das) Weizenbier – wheat beer
untergärig – bottom-femented
obergärig – top-femented
(die) Hefe – yeast
(die) Stammwürze – original wort
(der) Alkohol – alcohol
(die) Kohlensäure – carbonic acid
(die) Wärme – heat
(die) Gärung – fementation
süffig – palatable
(die) Gerste – barley
(das) Weizen – wheat
(der) Roggen – rye