3/99 – German beer culture

3 – Why do German people like drinking beer? – Chi To Tang from Hong Kong

Beer is Germany’s national drink. There are more than 1300 breweries and 100 liters per person are drunken per year. Germany is the beer country number three in the world, only citizens in the Czech Republic and Austria surpass the Germans. Usually Germans like beer from their region most. In the North, people have the rather bitter Pils beer, whereas in the South people prefer wheat beer which is lighter and fresher.
But why is it so popular?

Already the Teutons drank beer. Findings of beer amphoras from around 800 BC have served to verify this custom. To that time, beer was brewed by the women.
In the early middle age the art of brewing beer was particularly refined by monks in the monasteries, because even during lent they were allowed to drink beer, as liquidities were not forbidden. The monks brewed beer on the larger scale and became competitors of the local breweries.

Beer had the reputation to be healthy. Hildegard von Bingen, a famous Benedictine abbess in the 11th century, expert on illness and remedies, said “Drink beer!” Adults and children followed her guidance.
Hygiene was a constant issue until the 20
th century, water was often contaminated and not drinkable. This was why beer was a better alternative to drink. Also factory owners adviced their staff in mines and steel plants to drink beer. Beer is rich in calories and contains lower alcohol than other drinks that had been drunk and influenced the workers’ performance.
Also the famous poets and philosophers praised and enjoyed beer.
This is why Germans like drinking beer so much.

Sources and further reading:
http://goo.gl/YBu5cs, http://goo.gl/KI83uG, http://goo.gl/w8FFoo, http://goo.gl/lhW8

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