November 22, 2013 by Prost Brewing
Not that we Americans are dummies when its comes to beer and beer lingo. We know our beer and the jargon that comes along with it well, after all it has been a patriotic drink since the time of the American Revolution. Nevertheless, many of us don’t know much about German beer lingo, lacking the accent, of course, the know-how on pronunciation of foreign words such as “Helles” and “Kolsch,” and the understanding of what any of these words actually tell us about the beer we are attempting to order.
However, after this short lesson on german beer names, you should have enough knowledge to order a beer at Prost Brewing without any hesitation or anxiety about what you are actually ordering. In a matter of minutes, you will be transformed from an American dummy to a learned german beer connoisseur, or perhaps at least somewhere in between.
First, keep in mind that most German beer names relate to something about the beer’s appearance, its aroma, taste, where it is brewed, or the month or time of year in which it is made. Let’s start easy with “Bier” which stands for “Beer” of course. Now that you feel accomplished, let’s move on to the beginner’s German beer vocabulary list:
Weizen = Wheat therefore Weizenbier = wheat beer
Kristall= crystal as in “crystal clear” therefore a “crystal clear” wheat beer = “Kristallweizen”
Hefe= yeast therefore a yeasty, unfiltered wheat beer = Hefeweizen
Bock= strong therefore a stronger beer typically drunk in the winter= Bockbier
Alt= old, which refers to a beer that is produced through the old way of brewing, stemming from the pre-lager days that utilizes top-fermenting yeast
Dunkel= a beer that is dark in color
Helles= a beer that is light in color
Marzen= a beer that is brewed in March (i.e. Marzen) and drank at Oktoberfest
Pils= named after the town of Pilsen the golden bier was originally brewed in
Doppel= stands for “double” to signify a stronger beer, maybe not exactly twice as strong though as that might make you topple over!
Kolsch= an adjective that describes a beer that is “from Cologne,” the city Kolsch was and still is traditionally brewed in.
While this is just a small list, committing these few words to memory will enable you to order like a true German on your next trip to Prost. You might even impress the guests at this year’s holiday party by bringing a growler of Prost and telling them what the German beer name placard on the front actually means. Of course, it is never too early to start practicing for next years Oktoberfest either! Any way you cut it, taking the time to learn a few German beer words is well worth your time and attention. After all, you have a lifetime of German beer drinking ahead of you, right?!?