German beer -- bier, as you try to pronounce it at your neighborhood brewhaus -- is the definitive form of beer for many, evoking frosty mugs filled with crisp golden lagers topped with foam. And probably somebody in a frilly dress delivering nine of those mugs at once. And this year, well, it's kind of a big one for Germany's finest export.
On April 23rd beer drinkers and makers worldwide will be celebrating the 500th anniversary of the legendary German Beer Purity Law, the Reinheitsgebot, a piece of legislation that defined what German beer, and beer worldwide, is: barley, hops, and water. That's it. So why is something so simple such a big deal worthy of world-wide celebrations? We poured ourselves a boot, sat down, and found out.
What is the Reinheitsgebot?
"Furthermore, we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities' confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail." -- The Reinheitsgebot, April 23, 1516