When it comes to beer, the first country we would always associate it with is Germany. It is also home to the world’s OLDEST breweries and BIGGEST beer festival!
Prepare your beer mugs as we look into the 11 best German beers to try this year.
The 11 Best German Beers
Drink up and use this list of the best German beers as your guide to a tasting experience that you will surely enjoy.
1) Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier – Best Overall
- Style: Wheat
- ABV: 5.4%
- Tasting Notes: Banana, Clove, Cinnamon
From no other than the oldest brewery in the world, our BEST OVERALL must-try pick is the Weihenstephaner Hefe!
This CLASSIC-stylebrew is from the world’s oldest brewery, Weihenstephan, which continues to live through and innovate more than 1000 years of colorful history.
This old beer is from a Bavarian-style wheat brew with remarkable sweet notes that continue to make it a crowd favorite!
Leave it to the oldest brewery to MASTER the art of brewing beer!
2) Paulaner Salvator – Best Value
- Style: Double Bock
- ABV: 7.9%
- Tasting Notes: Chocolate, Caramel, Figs, Spicy hoppy finish
This choice is among the POPULAR brandsof beer worldwide. It is widely available and is our choice for the BEST VALUE.
The strong but sweet beer was created by Franciscan monks in the 17th century using dark barley malt.
Salvator has been widely accepted because of its full-bodied and rich texture balanced by its taste notes of chocolate, caramel, figs, and spicy hops on the finish.
This drink has theHIGHEST alcohol content among the others on our list, yet it remains a fine example of how strength does not have to compromise taste!
3) Goose Island Summertime Kolsch – Best Budget Pick
- Style: Kolsch
- ABV: 5%
- Tasting Notes: Herbs, Lemon, Bread
Germany’s different styles of brewing influenced many American brewers; they adopted them to their own beer styles.
One of these German beer styles is the Summertime Kolsch, which is our BEST BUDGET pick.
Summertime comes from an American brewer that still follows the principles of the German brewing process.
It is a kind of ale brewed using top-fermenting ale yeast at a warm temperature to give its herby and fruity notes. It has a light body with low carbonation.
True to its name, this citrusy drink is best enjoyed during summer!
4) Schneider Weisse
- Style: Wheat
- ABV: 5.4%
- Tasting Notes: Banana, Cloves, Nutmeg
The best hefeweizen of the same brewed style as that of Weihenstephaner is the Schneider Weisse.
Hefeweizen is a wheat brew that results in a hazy drink and rich tastes of banana, cloves, and nutmeg with high ABV.
This drink is produced through unique brewingin which a part of the brewing water is frozen and removed after a while.
This type is well-loved, especially by beer lovers who do not enjoy the bitterness of a beer.
5) Erdinger Kristall
- Style: Wheat
- ABV: 5.3%
- Tasting Notes: Citrus, Wheat, Spice
You should not miss out on beer from the world’s LARGEST wheat beer brewery.
Erdinger Kristall is a wheat beer that is lighter than the hefeweizen like the Helles lager. It has a crystal clear, cloudy appearance hence the name.
It has fruity and malty notes with an enticing frothy crown. Flavorful and tasty, it has higher carbonationthat can refresh you with just a few sips.
This is best served cold to enjoy its refreshing citrusy taste.
6) Augustiner-Bräu Edelstoff
- Style: Pale Lager
- ABV: 5.6%
- Tasting Notes: Hay, Biscuit, Honey
Speaking of Helles lager, you have to try beers originally brewed by Munich’s oldest independent brewery. Augustiner-Brau was founded way back in 1328.
Their Edelstoff Helles is their MOST POPULAR product, which was their Bavarian answer when people were slowly converting to the Czech light pilsner.
The Bavarian brewers were used to brewing dark lager beers earlier on. It is brewed to result in medium-bodied, fuller, and more malty beers than pilsner and other dark lagers.
Fresh and playful notes from this good drink make it best for EASY drinking!
7) Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier
- Style: German Lager
- ABV: 5.2%
- Tasting Notes: Smoke, Roasted malt, Meat
Any discerning drinker has to try one of the unique beer styles, rauchbier. The best rauchbier to try is Aecht Schlenkerla.
Rauchbier is smoked beer made from smoked malt, which is responsible for the unusual aroma of this good beer.
This drink is still malty but has a smoky finish that makes it even more enjoyable when paired with smoked brisket or pizza for a flavorful experience.
Its distinct flavor makes it a MUST-TRY for curious drinkers!
8) Köstritzer Schwarzbier
- Style: Dark Lager
- ABV: 4.8%
- Tasting Notes: Nutty, Pumpernickel, Bitter chocolate
Dark beer does not have to have a high ABV. Try Köstritzer Schwarzbier to believe.
Schwarzbier translates to black beer. Köstritzer is a German brewery that dates back to 1543.
It is brewed from a dark roasted malt to produce its distinct bitter and nutty flavor. Despite the fullness in flavor, ABV remainsLOW.
This drink is Germany’s challenger to Guinness beer!
9) Berliner Kindl Weisse
- Style: Pilsner
- ABV: 3%
- Tasting Notes: Lemon, Wheat
Have you ever imagined what sour beer tastes like? Try Berliner Kindl Weisse to satisfy that curiosity!
The Berliner Weisse brewery’s beer garden was the first to brew the beer style of German pilsner pale lager.
The top-fermented brew of this drink consists of lactic bacteria and wild yeast, resulting in its sourness.
This tangy beer has low alcohol content. It is uniquely served with a shot of flavored syrup, specifically woodruff or raspberry, to complement its tartness.
Even light alcohol fans will surely love this choice!
10) Ayinger Oktober Fest-Märzen
- Style: Marzen Lager
- ABV: 5.8%
- Tasting Notes: Malty, Floral, Orange peel, Caramel, Bread
We cannot talk about beer and not mention the best Oktoberfest beer.
A Marzen is a March beer because it istraditionally brewed in March and aged until October, in time for Oktoberfest.
Ayinger is an independent brewer near the heart of Oktoberfest, giving its best to craftsmanship.
This drink has a rich flavor consisting of malt, bread, caramel notes, floral hops and slight heat in the end.
Make sure you don’t miss out on Ayinger during Oktoberfest!
11) Spaten Oktoberfest
- Style: Marzen
- ABV: 5.9%
- Tasting Notes: Herbs, Lemon, Candied Barley Malts, Toast
Try the world’s FIRST Oktoberfest beer while you’re at it.
The Spaten brewery has a remarkably balancedmalt and hop character of beers, making it one of the best German beer brands.
This beer is also one of the ICONIC ones of Oktoberfest because it starts with the mayor of Munich tapping the first keg of Spaten Oktoberfestbier.
It is amber in color and topped with a creamy white foam that does not recede. It is aromatic and flavorful and is best paired with meat for the ultimate experience!
Frequently Asked Questions
We will answer some questions you might have brewing.
What Makes German Beer Special?
Beer brewing in Germany is a MASTERED ART that lives through world wars and history.
It has become one of the most popular styles of brewing because Germans were able to make pure and simple beer that is still high-grade and enjoyable.
This was made possible by the 1516 Reinheitsgebot or the German Beer Purity Law, which required beers to be created with only hops, barley malt, and water.
The addition of yeast in the brewing process was allowed only in 1993.
The resulting creativity from this long-time limitation gave way to different sub-styles and the best beers that keep ANYONE begging for another pint!
What Is Germany’s Most Popular Beer?
Germany’s most popular beer is the lager.
You will surely find this type of beer originating from Germany in every corner and restaurant worldwide!
Your favorite beer might even be a lager without you knowing!
What Is a Classic German Beer?
It centers more on malt.
This means that German-style beer usually has hints of sweetness, such as chocolate, caramel, toast, and coffee.
Traditional German brewing has a longer fermentation period because it utilizes bottom-fermenting yeasts at cooler temperatures.
How Much Alcohol Content Does German Beer Have?
German beers generally have 4.5% to 5.5% of alcohol.
ABV of the usual lighter and crisper beers range from 4.5% to 5%. ABV of strong lager like doppelbocks is around 8%.
Some German brewers have beer with an ABV of MORE than 10%.
How Long Can You Store German Beer?
You can store German beers for up to MONTHS! However, its shelf life depends on its alcohol content.
Since alcohol is a preservative, you should consume those with lower ABV within no longer than 4 or 6 months. Beer with higher ABV can last more than a year.
Container and location can also affect the shelf life. Refrigerated beer can last longer, while beer in growlers in a warm environment spoils faster.
Too much aging will lessen the carbonation of your beer.
At What Temperature Should You Serve German Beer?
It is safest to serve it COLD.
It is best to serve lighter and crisper beer colder, Kolsch and Helles, around 38 degrees Fahrenheit, while stronger beer at around 50 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you do not want to go into the nitty-gritty of the serving temperature, it would be safe to serve beer cold since the glass will warm up later on.
Can You Serve Any German Beer During Oktoberfest?
It should only be produced in Munich, Germany, by breweries such as Augustiner, Spaten, Paulaner, Hacker-Pshchorr, Hofbrau, and Lowenbrau.
Furthermore, the brewing process should follow the Bavarian Beer Purity Law.
Summary of Top Picks
Here is a quick rundown of our top picks:
Best Budget: Goose Island Summertime
If you want to try a beer brewed the German way but with a budget cap, get the Summertime Kolsh.
Though not other wheat beers produced in Germany, this beer is brewed accordingly to the German principles of brewing.
You will get the German drink experience while conveniently staying within your budget limits!
Best Value: Paulaner Salvator
Our best value pick is the Salvator.
It comes at an AFFORDABLE pricesince it is largely distributed worldwide.
Despite its price point, this drink does not trade off the German brew process or alcohol percentage.
Furthermore, this drink LIVES through the German brew tradition and innovation.
ABV is 7.9% at its price point, which is higher than the usual 4.5% to 5.5% ABV of the other German beers.
Best Overall: Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier
Nothing beats the classics, such as the Weihenstephaner Hefe!
We love this sweet wheat brew for its well-balanced flavors.; not a single note is too strong to overpower the other layers of its flavor!
Its sweetnessmakes it a great thirst quencher that can instantly refresh the drinker before or after a meal.
Not to mention, the long-established fine German brew process is clearly reflected in this very beer style.
Beers By Country
See also: Best Gifts for Beer Lovers
No doubt Germany’s fine brewing process and well-established methods make it home to the best beers IN THE WORLD!
Whether you are a struggling freelance writer who needs a drink or partying with a group of German immigrants, a nice, cool pint of German goodness will guarantee you a good time!
For a well-balanced CLASSIC beer that displays the Germans’ brewing mastery plus an explosion of sweet notes, you should try the Weihenstephaner Hefe Weissbier!
Remember to drink responsibly!