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Germany and Rate Beer 2010

German beer sales were down again in 2009, continuing a 20-year trend.

I think I finally figured out why. They brew shit beer.

There you have it. Pretty simple.

The Rate Beer Best 2010 list is out and not a German beer made only one German beer in the top 100.

Pardon my flipness. That German beer consumption has declined 30 percent in the last 20 years is not something to laugh about, and I’ve rambled on enough about lists like Rate Beer’s. (That said, it might take some restraint to resist commenting on Beer Advocate’s Beer in Review.)

British blogger Mark Dredge, a Rate Beer contributor, provides an excellent perspective on the Rate Beer Best:

For me, as it’s a collective opinion, it’s largely a guide as to what geeky beer drinkers (you need to be a geek to want to rate – rating is hard work and takes real dedication!) like to find in their pint glass. It’s not a list of the best beers to drink in a pub on a Sunday afternoon, it’s a list of some of the most esoteric flavour experiences possible, dominated by imperial stouts, barrel aging, IPAs and sours.

A couple of years ago Sylvia Kopp wrote a fine article in All About Beer magazine about the challenges German brewers face. Go read it.

Georg Schneider, owner of the Private Weissbierbrauerei G. Schneider & Sohn in Kelheim, doesn’t mince words: “The German beer market is deadly boring,” he says. “It is all very much the same. The tendency towards sameness is encouraged, for example, by our domestic beer tests rating beer only by its typicality and flawlessness. Creativity is only acted on in the beer mix category.”

Since then a group called Bier-Quer-Denker, selected by the brewing publication Brauwelt and the Association of Small Private Breweries, has presented beers beyond the usual in Germany at a couple of seminars. One was a “Reinheitsbegot tripel” (passing on sugar commonly used by Belgian brewers), using two hop varieties from New Zealand and yeast sourced from the Westmalle Trappist monastery brewery.

Of course they’re probably going to have to brew an imperial stout if they want to make the Rate Beer 2011 list.



8 Responses to Germany and Rate Beer 2010

  1. Tim January 28, 2010 at 10:39 am #

    You seem to have missed the one German beer on the list, Ayinger Celebrator. I don’t think it affects your point though. That RB list is irrelevant to normal people.

  2. Stan Hieronymus January 28, 2010 at 10:51 am #

    Oops. Thanks, Tim.

  3. Andrea Turco January 28, 2010 at 11:27 am #

    In my opinion Ratebeer simply doesn’t care about German beers. The ratings are more focused on “American philosophy” or exotic beers. But how can we define “boring” the German beers? Ok most of them are Helles, Dunkel and Weizen, but there are a lot of wonderful breweries, that make amazing beers. There are a lot of regional rarities…
    I can’t see a link between Ratebeer rankings and the trend of beer sales in Germany

  4. Stan Hieronymus January 28, 2010 at 11:41 am #

    Sorry, Andrea. As I wrote I was being flip. I meant to imply were you to read only the Rate Beer Top 100 you might think (with the exception of Ayinger) Germans no longer brew great beer – so sales are suffering.

    I’d much rather drink a (good) helles, dunkel or weizen than the 33rd best imperial stout on whatever list.

    BTW, we saw busloads of Italian tourists throughout Bavaria (and in different seasons, given the weaving nature of our trip last year) knocking back German beers.

  5. Tom from Raleigh January 28, 2010 at 12:46 pm #

    Great article from AAB. This all makes me think Stone should open a brewery in Germany and shake up the German beer market.

  6. Sean Inman January 28, 2010 at 5:31 pm #

    Every time I look at a Beer Advocate or Rate Beer “Best” list, I skip over who is number one and what styles dominate and try to dig a little deeper. Is there a brewery with multiple top beers across the style spectrum? Which “out of favor” beer (IE Pilsner or nut brown) has made the list? Any newcomers? There is pertinent information to be gleaned form the list but the horse race doesn’t interest me at all.

    Two of my favorite all-time beers are German. fresh Gose from the Bayerischer Banhof and Hefeweizen from Landskron. I would take an ounce of either before a bottle of Dark Lord or Black Tuesday.

  7. Jeff Alworth January 29, 2010 at 2:37 pm #

    I interviewed BridgePort Brewmaster Karl Ockert for their 25th anniversary last fall. He had a fascinating anecdote I think is highly germane. I don’t think I posted this one my blog, so it’s sort of an Appellation Beer exclusive:

    “Where the brewing world used to completely dismiss American hops–and now those American aromatic hops are highly sought after by brewers from all over the UK. The ones in Europe are a little bit stuck because they’ve really painted themselves into a corner–this is what pilsner tastes like. This is the problem with lager beers; they’re so well-defined. When you make a pilsner, everyone knows exactly what it should taste like. When you start putting Cascades and Amarillos and Simcoes in there, it’s not a pilsner anymore–it’s something weird. You better call it an ale at that point, because nobody’s going to know what the hell it is.”

    “I went to Schneider brewery a couple weeks ago and the lab guy was showing us through, and he absolutely loves this kind of stuff. I sent him a case of our IPA, our Hop Harvest, and our Hop Czar. I just got an email back from him and he said, “Oh my God, this stuff is just great–it’s like nectar. Right now we’re all sipping your Hop Czar, and it’s like nectar.” They can’t get that.”

  8. Ron Pattinson January 30, 2010 at 6:07 am #

    There’s no need to drop the sugar to make a Reinheitsgebot Tripel. As it’s a top-fermented beer, sugar is allowed.

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