Germany is renowned as being one of the best beer brewing nations in the world. That's because of Germany’s 16th century Purity Law, or “Reinheitsgebot”, that was introduced by Bavaria’s Duke Wilhelm IV in 1516.
What is the Purity Law for German beer?
The Purity Law stated that beer can only contain three key ingredients: hops, water and barley. This meant that beer brewers across the nation had to remove two commonly used ingredients from their recipes: wheat and rye, as well as other nasties they may have been mixing in there.
The law was introduced to serve two main purposes, firstly to protect beer enthusiasts from potential brew-induced demise. Back in the 1500s, beer was a common beverage, because the water supplies were often polluted.
There were a select few unscrupulous brewers who wanted to take advantage of everyone’s love for and reliance on the amber liquid. They would add dubious ingredients to their beer, such as hallucinogenic plants, wood shavings, soot and other potentially harmful ingredients. In doing so, they were able to change the flavour of the beer and claim a superior recipe had been used, and add a hefty price increase to their drops.
But, like any bad scoundrel, they refused. And so, the complaints came in, the government listened and the first steps towards enacting the Purity Law were taken.
On top of this the German Purity Law, meant that Germany could avoid wheat shortages in an time when the nation relied heavily on the production of bread.
So wheat was not included in the ingredients available to brewers in the new accordance with the Purity Law, which was good news for bread makers.
As time moved on, the Purity Law stayed in place and beer enthusiasts came up with ways to brew new, tasty beers. Prohibition led to innovation and innovation led to Germany becoming known as the “beer capital” of the world.
Over the years, the law has been relaxed slightly to include a few simple additions like coriander, yeast, bay leaf and wheat. Many think the law should be abolished entirely and allow room for modern craft beer brewers to set up shop in Germany.
It’s also important to note that in keeping to the law, German beer must not contain any preservatives, resulting in a more natural brew than some of the other brands across the globe.
Non-Alcoholic Beers from Germany
Non-Alcoholic beer consumption has increased dramatically over the past few years. In fact, with over 10.54million Germans aged 14 years or older indulging in alcohol-free beer in 2019, drinking alc-free beer is definitely on the rise!
The Best German Non-Alcoholic Beer Brewers
Here are some of the best zero beers from Germany.
To produce their non-alcoholic range, Clausthaler implements their own specialised brewing technique where the fermentation process is stopped before the yeast has time to ferment. This is how they differ from their competition.
The result is a crisp, fresh and full bodied, this beer has a creamy feel on the palate and a rich, golden hue.
This is the Clausthaler take on a dry-hopped lager and one of the first non-alc beers ever produced. It is rich and crisp, with bitter notes and a tad of sweet malt. Its golden colour is indistinguishable from its alcoholic counterpart.
Popular in Germany with athletes who drink it to help boost recovery and hydration after physical activity. It contains folic acid and vitamin b12. This beer has a slightly classic taste with a delicious hint of malt.
Kehrwieder brewery produces delicious beer made using a combination of Simcoe and Mosaic hops. With beer that provides hints of woody flavours, mandarin and lime, this is one of Germany’s finest breweries.
With a fruity aroma and hints of mango and lime, it pours with a good head and has the perfect cloudy golden shade. It has a good bitterness and a lasting finish.
Uwe is one the first German craft beer brands dedicated exclusively to alcohol-free beer. With a range of small batch brews, Uwe is on a mission to change the perception of non-alcoholic beers. Crafted with high quality ingredients, this beer is intensely hoppy and aromatic.
With a brewing history that dates back to the 11th century, the experts at Weihenstephan know all there is to know about creating first-class non-alcoholic wheat beer. Refreshing and flavoursome, this beer is tangy, fresh and full-bodied.