Guides and Facts

Top 10 German Beers to Try

A Connoisseur’s Guide by Beers of Europe.

Germany, with its rich brewing history and strict purity laws, is a paradise for beer lovers. From crisp pilsners to robust porters, German brewers craft some of the most iconic beers in the world. Here’s a guide to the top 10 German beers that exemplify the country’s brewing expertise and are a must-try for any beer enthusiast.

1. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Hell

From the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephaner, comes this classic Bavarian wheat beer. With notes of banana and clove, this smooth and effervescent brew is a quintessential example of the hefeweizen style. 

ALTERNATIVE: If you’re looking for an alternative to Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier Hell, consider trying Erdinger Weissbier. This beer is another excellent example of a traditional Bavarian hefeweizen, known for its smooth, rich flavour profile that includes notes of banana and clove, similar to Weihenstephaner. Erdinger Weissbier is well-regarded for its creamy head, lively carbonation, and refreshing finish, making it a great choice for those who enjoy the hefeweizen style.

2. Bitburger Pils

A staple in beer gardens across Germany, Bitburger Premium Pils is known for its crisp, clean taste and firm hop bitterness. It’s a refreshing example of the German pilsner style, brewed under the Purity Law of 1516.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Bitburger Pils is Jever Pilsener. It shares the crispness and hoppy bitterness of Bitburger but with a slightly drier finish. Jever’s distinct taste and refreshing character make it a worthy alternative for pilsner enthusiasts.

3. Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell

A favourite in Munich, this lager is wonderfully balanced and smooth, with a slightly sweet malt character complemented by a soft hop bitterness. It’s a superb representation of the Helles Lager.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Augustiner Bräu Lagerbier Hell is Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Gold. It offers a similarly balanced and smooth profile with a hint of malt sweetness, making it an excellent choice for Helles lager fans.

4. Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus

This world-class wheat doppelbock from Schneider Weisse offers a complex blend of banana bread, clove, and nutmeg flavours. Rich and full-bodied, it’s a beer that demands your full attention.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Schneider Weisse Tap 6 Unser Aventinus is Weihenstephaner Vitus. This beer features a rich, complex flavour with notes of fruit and spice, offering a similarly robust and warming weizenbock experience.

5. Paulaner Salvator

This deep amber beer is a powerhouse of flavours, featuring caramel, toasted malt, and a hint of dark fruit. It’s a filling, nourishing brew that epitomizes the doppelbock style.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Paulaner Salvator is Ayinger Celebrator Doppelbock. It boasts a rich malty character with hints of dark fruit and chocolate, providing a similarly satisfying and flavorful doppelbock experience.

6.Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel

A robust beer with deep malt flavours, hints of dark fruit, and a smooth, warming finish. Perfect for those who appreciate a rich and satisfying brew.

ALTERNATIVE: Weihenstephaner Korbinian is a renowned doppelbock with a rich malt character, featuring flavors of caramel, toffee, and dark fruit. Its smooth texture and balanced sweetness make it a delightful indulgence.

7. Franziskaner Hefe-Weissbier

A top wheat beer that offers a refreshing twist with its zesty orange and spice notes, along with the traditional banana and clove flavours that define the style.

ALTERNATIVE: Alcohol-Free alternative – Maisel’s Weisse Alkoholfrei is a non-alcoholic wheat beer that retains the full-bodied flavour of its alcoholic counterpart. With hints of banana and clove, it offers a refreshing and satisfying experience.

8. Köstritzer Schwarzbier

This black lager is surprisingly light on the palate, offering subtle hints of chocolate and coffee. Despite its dark appearance, it’s smooth and easy to drink, with a clean finish.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Köstritzer Schwarzbier is Krombacher Dark which is a bottom-fermented pilsner that uses various roasted malts to create a rich and complex flavour. It is produced using its signature spring water as well as barley malt and Halletau hops.

9. Spaten Munchner Hell

Spaten Münchner Hell is a classic Munich Helles lager, known for its crisp and refreshing taste, balanced malt sweetness, and subtle hop bitterness. Perfect for easy-drinking enjoyment.

ALTERNATIVE: An alternative to Spaten Münchner Hell is Hofbräu Original. This Munich Helles lager offers a similar crispness and balanced flavour profile, making it a delightful choice for fans of the style.

10. Warsteiner Pils

Known for its soft, well-rounded character, this pilsner blends subtle malt flavours with a hint of hop bitterness, making it an excellent introduction to the refined quality of German beers.

ALTERNATIVE: Wickuler Pilsener is a bold flavour of this pilsener, where every sip unveils a tantalising blend of spicy notes and robust richness.

Why German Beers Stand Out

German beers are renowned for their adherence to the Reinheitsgebot, or the German Beer Purity Law, which originally decreed that beer should only be made from water, hops, and barley. This tradition has ensured that German brewers focus intensely on refining these elements to perfection.

Tasting Tips From Beers of Europe

When tasting these beers, pay attention to the balance of flavours, the cleanliness of the finish, and how the character of each beer evolves as it warms up slightly. Each brew has its unique profile that can be fully appreciated in the right setting and with the right food.

Whether you’re a seasoned beer aficionado or new to the world of craft brewing, exploring these ten German beers will provide deep insights into the heart of Germany’s beer culture. Prost!