The German culture is often seen as the forefather of beer. They’re the ones who helped pioneer its taste and have worked to create the widespread flavor options that are available today. From the darkest, most flavorful brews, to those that are light and airy, perhaps even laced with fruit, it’s a culture that has stood by the development of beer. Good and bad – they know flavor when they taste it. This is why it is not that surprising to discover that they experiment with stuff more than anyone else. If you’re headed to Germany, testing out a new restaurant, or just want to try these mixtures at home, be sure to be on the lookout for the following beer concoctions.
A Shandy consists of any mixture that’s made with beer and a non-alcoholic filler, such as lemonade, ginger ale, or juices. Think man-mosa, like beer and orange juice for an American equivalent. Generally mixing half and half to even out flavors without leaving too high of an alcohol content; German beers are generally quite high in alcohol percentages. There are also canned versions available throughout North America. Because the shandy is so universal, consider mixing and matching your favorites to come up with new flavors. Though it’s best made with a dark or more flavorful beer, these concoctions are also known as a Biermischgetränke, which translates to “beer-based mixed drink”. They’re seen as a way to add flavor, prevent dehydration, discourage becoming drunk mid-day (Germans often drink beer early in the day), and to create more refreshing drinks, especially in the summer.
It might sound like something you can’t drink, but in Germany, a Diesel refers to any beer mixed with cola. And according to natives and tourists alike, it’s delicious. There are various names depending on the region and types of beer that are mixed, but in general, any large beer that’s poured with half cola can be referred to as a Diesel. Swap for Sprite instead and you’ve got yourself an Astel.
4. Beer-Soaked Brats
You’ve heard of beer brats, but have you ever had the real thing? According to the most authentic German cooks around, that means soaking 10 bratwurst in 48 ounces of beer. And not the light stuff either, flavorful dark beers only. After marinating for a while, the beer is seeped into the meat. Ideally, marinated meat can be boiled to enhance flavor, then grilled to bring out subtle smoky flavors. Or, if that sounds like too much work, they’re sold at various stands on practically every city corner throughout Germany.
Another Biermischgetränke comes in the form of a Potsdamer, a local raspberry beverage. They’re made by mixing a light-colored beer (but not light in flavor), such as a Weissbier, with equal parts soda. The soda is also mixed with a shot of raspberry syrup to add flavor, and to provide the drink with its signature red appearance. If you’re sitting at a bar with a red foamy glass, chances are every German around will know you’re sipping a Potsdamer. You can also leave out the soda and opt for different flavors of syrups to be added to your beer. Green for a woodruff flavor, yellow for lemon, and red for raspberry; these varieties are known as a Berliner Weisse.
2. Whizz Peach/Radler
For a lighter taste, opt for a whizz peach or a radler. These drinks are made with filtered wheat beer – Kristallweizen and mixed with carbonated lemonade for a Radler, and peach lemonade (also sparkling) for a Whizz Peach. Filtered beer is used in this instance to provide the drink with a clear, spritzy, and refreshing taste. If making at home, use a Weissbier for Hefeweizen (wheat beers) and filter out the yeast – or buy the already separated versions.
1. Beer Breads
Germans generally eat bread with every meal. Whether it’s rolls, slices, or entire loaves brought to the table, they’re sure to stock up for every meal. Styles and grains can vary too, including the addition of beer to add flavor. Bakers experiment with styles and brands, too, which they say pair especially well for those having a beer with their meal, as well as part of their daily bread.