Ah, German Beer!


By Guy Burns
I’ve arrived in Bavaria and it’s quite a contrast from India.
From 36 degrees, to zero when we arrived in Germany . But it didn’t seem so cold as there was no wind; in fact there is never any wind here in Germany, so you don’t get that wind-chill factor.
I’ve been in the land of sausage eaters (as Tolstoy calls Germans) for several weeks now —  and yes, it is a land of sausage eaters.
A cheap place to eat is at a Wurtz stand—usually a small hut/kiosk where you can by freshly grilled sausage with mustard, bread, potato salad and sauerkraut; quite delicious.

Walk into a Metzgerei (butcher) and you see a huge range of sausage ranging from white sausage—made of veal, to black sausage made of blood. There are heaps of meat products usually unheard of in New Zealand. Also, most butchers in South Germany sell ‘fast food’—not so fast really—but, warm meat products placed in bread, with potato salad for 3 to 4 kiwi dollars.DSCN2351-1

Another aspect to life in Germany is the prevalence of beer—it’s as common as water. I’m staying in a small village called Freudenberg in Eastern Bavaria and when the elderly lady next door calls in for a visit, she is not offered a cup of tea, but gets a bottle of locally brewed beer.

DSCN2143-1A cup of tea is hard to find, but beer reigns. Beer is cheap and the quality outstanding, due to the history and tradition of beer making, as well as the German beer purity laws —Reinheitsgebot—established in Bavaria during 1487.

These say only water, barley and hops could be used for brewing beer (yeast was  allowed later). You can buy some beers at the supermarket for as little as $2.60NZ per litre and at the pubs between $3-4 per half litre.

Now that it’s warm, you see heaps of young people outside in parks and on the streets sitting around in small groups drinking beer—which they can legally from 16 years old.

The hundreds of groups I’ve seen have all been well behaved and very respectful—they don’t seem to have any serious problems with binge drinking. Beer is nearly available from any shop that you see on the street whether it’s a bookshop, petrol station, train station, corner dairy, bakery etc.

I’ve neglected to talk about the old buildings, traditions and structures, often 700 years old and more—maybe next time!

But now I’m off to Berlin and will update you next from there.