Best German Beer in 2018
Best German Beer in 2018
Well then, before we out and just say what the best German beer is let’s talk about how I got there.
Back when I was in high school it was legal to drink alcohol at 18 in Wisconsin, 19 in Iowa, and 21 in Illinois. Now, of course, its 21 in all the states, ridiculous. But, we’ll save that for another time.
Growing up my dad drank Schlitz and as the commercial went, when you’re out of Schlitz you’re out of beer. Really?!?!?!
I didn’t like the taste of beer growing up and I figured it was something that you had to become accustomed to and you would grow to liking it. Little did I know at the time that not all beer is created equal.
My cousin from Lacrosse worked for Pabst Blue Ribbon and that was my first choice of beers, at least it was better than Schlitz.
When I reached legal drinking age I switched to Miller Genuine Draft. One of the reasons is because we would get a glass of beer at the bar and not buy a bottle or can and MGD was readily available most places that we would go.
After entering the Marines, I tried mixed drinks a few times but the results would be disastrous as they were too easy to drink quickly and you never knew how much alcohol was in them. Before you knew it you had too much and I could stand the feeling of not being in control, so I quickly went back to beer because it was a known quantity.
One of the beers I tasted and liked out west was Henry Weinhard’s Private Reserve, I don’t know why and its been a long time since I’ve had one. I also liked Coors beer, but at the time it was only available in certain states.
In 1984 I went to Okinawa, Japan and tasted a few Japanese beers. Mainly Kirin and Sapporo at the time. I also acquired a taste for the local Okinawan beer, Orion. They add an ingredient that gives it its own peculiar flavor. You would know what I mean if you ever taste it.
Around 1985-86 I made some trips to Korea and tried their OB beer. It went down pretty good. There was one other beer made, but I preferred OB.
From 1986 to 1997 I traveled back and forth between Okinawa, Japan and California with little change in the beer I drank. Between 1997 to 2000 I made a port visit to Qingdao, China and of course tried their Qingdao beer, which was pretty good.
After retiring from the Marines in 2000 I landed a job in Seoul, Korea. Even there I would stick to one of the local beers and not change the beer I drank very much. I’ve always been that way in that I prefer to find a good local beer wherever I am to drink, so at least I was that adventurous.
I made several trips to the Philippines for classes on various operating systems and liked the San Miguel beer. It was great for drinking poolside on those hot, humid days after class.
I also made yearly trips to Japan, each year going to a different city where I would enjoy the local beer on tap at a local bar. There were some good beers to be had there.
In 2011 I relocated to Germany for a different job. About a year prior to that I had some health issues so I was not drinking any sodas, coffee, or alcohol at all. Even being in Germany I was able to resist the urge to try German beers pretty easily.
Then one day our landlord invited his tenants to an outdoor meal and he offered me a beer. I did not want to be rude so I accepted the beer and the rest as they say is history in my YouTube videos.
For some reason or other I got to watching Craigtube on YouTube and saw how easy it was to brew your own beer. By this time I had already found my go to beer and was curious what I would do when I returned to the US where it was not available. So, as you will see by my Home Brew Wednesday videos, links in the description to the playlist I started brewing my own beer.
I had mixed results but in the end would have a form of spoilage between bottling and drinking so I’ve pretty much given that up for now with good beer so readily available at relatively low cost. It is not cheap to brew your own beer nor is it easy work.
Anyway, besides brewing my own beers I decided to start trying as many different beers as I could to find what I liked best. I found that I liked dark beers or dunkels and black beers or schwartz beer. They had a little extra flavor that I could appreciate.
I did not like the wheat beers very much, although they are popular in Germany. Regular pils and lager beers were boring to me as they are pretty much what American macro brewed beers are, minus the rice adjunct.
So, whenever we would travel in Germany I would always try to order a dark or black beer and try it. There have been several I have liked but the best German beer for 2018 is Köstritzer Schwarzbier.
Let’s talk about the brewery first before we get into the beer.
The following history of the brewery is translated from the Köstritzer Brewery website:
Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei (Black Beer Brewery) History
The Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei was first mentioned in documents in 1543 as “Köstritzer Erbschenke”, making it one of the oldest breweries in Germany.
In 1696, the Counts Reuß take over the brewery, which would then bear the name “knightly brewery”.Or, „ritterschaftliche Gutsbrauerei“
In 1806, Emperor Franz II raised the Reuß to the rank of prince. The “knightly brewery” now becomes the “Princely Brewery in Köstritz”. Or, in German „Fürstliche Brauerei zu Köstritz“
A defining moment of the recent success story is Rudolf Zersch. He leased the Princely Brewery in 1875 and, after a severe fire in 1829, restored it to new splendor. The foundation stone for a new building, on which the Köstritzer brewery is still based, is laid and production increased significantly.
In 1948, the brewery becomes a public property after the state of Thuringia expropriated it. As an export item, the beer specialty from Bad Köstritz will soon become a popular ambassador for Thuringian brewing.
Extensive reconstruction went from 1979 until 1990.
The Köstritzer Schwarzbierbrauerei has been part of a renowned family business since 1991 and within a few years has become one of the most modern and largest breweries in Thuringia.
With great success Köstritzer is again introduced in Germany in September 1993. Two years later, Köstritzer Schwarzbier is the nationwide market leader for bottom-fermented dark beers. Meanwhile, it is exported to over 57 countries.
In 2011, the new Köstritzer brand bottle with a noble relief, a slim shape and a striking base is available in stores.
In 2013, Köstritzer Kellerbier, an unfiltered and natural beer, is launched on the market.
With the introduction of the Köstritzer Pale Ale and Wheat beer in 2014 as well as Red Lager in 2015, the product portfolio in the specialty segment was expanded.
In 2015, a new visitor center was opened in Köstritzer Dreiseitenhof.
In 2017, the historic brewery was restored in detail.
You’ve seen me drinking it here, so let me formerly introduce to you my favorite beer here in Germany. Ladies and gentlemen, meet Köstritzer Scwhartz beer coming in at 4.8% ABV.
There are several reasons why this is my favorite German beer for 2018. First, it has a slightly smoky flavor. Second, it is readily available at the local alcohol store. Third, it is reasonably priced.
It has a light mouth feel to it. I have even gone so far as to drink it at room temperature; however, I do prefer it chilled.
The beer comes in a 500 ml bottle; however, the glass they have for it is smaller than that. This glass here I picked up at a flea market. I see that they do not have this available currently on Amazon but they do have the bigger 500ml Köstritzer glass now.
I would love to visit the brewery and store that goes with it some time in the future.
Cheers ladies and gentlemen or as they say in Germany, Prost!
Now, I have a question for you or two.
Have you ever tried a dark or black beer?
If so, what beer or beers have you tried?
Let me know in the comments below and we’ll talk more about it.
Thanks and remember, you get more with Les!
You can now watch the video here: