A victory against South Korea. That was all that was required for Germany in order to have set up a mouth-watering clash against Belgium in the first of the knockout phases of the Football World Cup 2018. Alas, it was not to be as the defending champions failed in their quest and were dumped out of the World Cup at the first hurdle. Whilst they won’t be competing against each other in football, for now, they are constantly competing on the world stage in the export of their respective beers.
2017 stats show that Belgium and Germany are 3rd and 4th, respectively, in terms of the world’s top beer exporting countries. Burger Brews looks at the differences between the two countries’ beer offerings:
What is the biggest difference between the two?
The major difference between the two countries’ beers is, simply, what they are each allowed to put into their beers. To better understand this, one needs to delve into their respective histories and cultures, which play a massively important role in how beer is produced in the two countries.
A brief history of German beer
The German beer industry is well known for operating under the Reinheitsgebot. This is a beer purity law which has been in effect for over 500 years. The original law allowed only barley, hops and water to be used as ingredients in the making of beer. The law was passed to ensure quality control as well as to standardise the product and the pricing. Updates to the Reinheitsgebot has allowed for the use of yeast and malted grains, such as wheat. Detractors of the law maintain that keeping to these brewing requirements prevents German beer companies from keeping up with innovative brewers worldwide.
A brief history of Belgian beer
Much like Germany, Belgium’s beer making history goes back centuries, dating back to the Middle Ages. Prior to becoming a sovereign state, in 1831, Belgium was ruled by the Netherlands, France and Austria at various points. These countries influences, along with Belgium’s location between France and Germany, allowed different types of beer to develop around the country. Much of the creativity used by brewers was down to the lack of strict regulations. While some brewers followed the German way, many latched onto the French influence with the use of various herbs, spices and fruits in their beers. The local Trappist monks further helped spur innovation, and they are continuing to produce the most sought after Belgian beers.
Popular types of German beer
Pilsner – a pale lager, the most popular type of German beer
Hefeweizen – the most common German beer, known by its cloudy appearance which is due to the special yeast used in brewing
Marzen/Oktoberfest – a classic Bavarian lager, the darkest beer with a relatively low alcohol content
Kölsch – a beer fermented at cooler temperatures than other styles, has a hoppy and somewhat fruity flavour
Popular types of Belgian beer
Dubbel – a Trappist ale, gets its reddish-brown deep colour from caramelized beet sugar
Quadrupel – similar to the Dubbel but with more flavour and a higher alcohol content
Tripel – a golden ale similar to the Dubbel, brewed with non-caramelized beet sugar
Saison – a pale, citrusy, hoppy “farmhouse” ale with high carbonation levels
Witbier – a crisp beer made from unmalted wheat, coriander and orange peel
So, what does Burger Brews say? We say that beer lovers should most definitely look to try each countries beers in order to appreciate the traditional offerings in both. Whichever takes your fancy, thereafter, is up to personal preference. And remember – with either, be sure to remember to use the magic word, Prost!
ALL INFORMATION EXPRESSED IN THIS ARTICLE IS FROM A BRU WHOSE PRIMARY PURPOSE IS TO AMPLIFY THE GOODNESS OF THE BURGER AND THE BEER. ALL CONTENT WRITTEN IS TRUE AT THE TIME OF WRITING. PLEASE NOTE THAT I HAVE HAD TO RELY ON INDUSTRY PROFESSIONALS FOR FACTUAL CONTENT.