Explore the Best German Beer: Pils, Lagers and More

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Searching for the perfect pint? Look no further than Germany, the spiritual home of meticulous brewing mastery. Yet deciding what to sip can feel overwhelming with so many incredible beer options. Let’s find the best German beer for you!

This article will help you navigate Germany’s sprawling range of lagers, wheat beers, and regional specialities to highlight the 10 standout brews you simply must try. Expect insightful top fives diving deeper into must-drink Pilsners, Bock beers and more so you can discover new favourites with confidence. Prost!

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Table of Contents

Top 10 German Beers to Try

When it comes to the perfect pint, Germany sets the bar sky-high. From light lagers to dark bocks and malty Oktoberfest beers, German brewing is defined by meticulous craftsmanship and absolute adherence to the 1516 Reinheitsgebot purity law dictating that beer must only contain water, hops, yeast and malt.

Beyond the flagship Pilsners, explore Germany’s array of regional specialities and smaller craft offerings. These are ten standout sippers for any beer buff’s German bucket list.

Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier

No list of German beers is complete without a wheat beer, aka Weissbier or Weißbier. From Bavaria’s oldest brewery, this hazy, unfiltered wheat beer delivers a sublime balance of banana and clove notes underpinned by a spritzy, lemon meringue tang. Serve in a stemmed glass to bring out its dreamy white head.

Pinkus Müller Pils

Hailing from Westphalia, Pinkus Pils flaunts a crisp, dry and herbaceous hoppiness tempered by bready, biscuity malt. Topped with an elegant lacework of foam, it’s a study in stylish restraint that shows pilsners at their best.

Ayinger Celebrator

This potent “doppelbock” packs a 6.7% punch of toffee and toasted nuts lifted by dried fruit sweetness. Despite the strength, it’s smooth and silky with a luxurious mouthfeel. Savour this dark treacle-hued beer as an after-dinner treat.

Kloster Andechs Dunkel

The Benedictine monks at Kloster Andechs have perfected the art of brewing since 1455. Their chestnut-brown dunkel offers decadent dark chocolate and coffee notes underpinned by luscious caramel malts and a drying, herbal hop zing on the finish.

Gaffel Kölsch

Crisp, clean Kölsch-style ales deserve more acclaim outside Cologne. Gaffel’s version greets you with honeyed malt sweetness before mesmerising your tastebuds with an aromatic herbal and lemon sherbet hoppiness, all carried on a soft mousse.

Spezial Lagerbier

From family-owned Brauerei Spezial comes this beautifully balanced Helles lager. Expect a clean but flavoursome canvas with gentle grainy maltiness and restrained spicy, floral hop notes throughout for refreshing easy drinking.

BraufactuM Palor

This innovative Berlin brewery launched Germany’s craft beer scene. Their India pale lager “Palor” astounds with vibrant, fruity hoppiness underpinned by biscuity malts and a dry, spicy bitterness. It dances brightly on the tongue.

Maisel’s Weisse Original

No beer fridge is complete without a Weissbier and Maisel’s version delivers banana bread and bubblegum yeastiness counterpointed by peppery herbs and tart lemon zing. Cloudy and quenching, it’s sunshine in a glass.

Schlenkerla Rauchbier Märzen

Smoked malt infuses this Bamberg speciality with bonfire and cured meat intensity, while its underlying sweetness tastes like melted toffee and baked apple. Love it or hate it, Schlenkerla’s “bacon beer” is a one-of-a-kind experience.

Schneider Weisse Aventinus

This intensely fruity Weizenbock from Bavaria employs an arcane triple-decoction mash for a rich, wine-like concentration. Flavours evoke sherry-soaked fruitcake, red berries, vanilla and spicy hops against a slick full body. The perfect nightcap.

Top 5 Best Oktoberfest Beers

Paulaner Oktoberfest Märzen

The signature Oktoberfest beer. This smooth, malty amber lager is easy-drinking – perfect for drinking all day long in the festival beer tents.

Spaten Oktoberfestbier

Another classic Oktoberfest Märzen style lager. It pours a gorgeous amber-gold colour with flavours of biscuit and toffee.

Hacker-Pschorr Superior Dunkel

A delicious dark Oktoberfest lager. It smells of chocolate and cherries, with rich roasted malt flavours.

Weihenstephaner Vitus

A pale Weissbier that offers a nice change from heavy Oktoberfest beers. It’s crisp and refreshing, with fruity yeast flavours.

Tegernseer Hell

An exclusive Oktoberfest lager. Full-bodied yet refreshing, with herbal hops and sweet honey-like malt flavours. A real treat if you can find it!

Top 5 German Pilsners

Germans take their pilsners very seriously. Characterised by a crisp, clean beer taste and dry finish, the best examples balance subtle sweet maltiness against herbal, spicy Saaz hops. With so many brands to choose from, these five standouts will have you exclaiming “Prost!”

Pinkus Müller Pils

From Westphalia, Pinkus Pils captivates with a brisk, biscuity malt body given depth by fragrant lemon and pepper hops. The dry, quenching finish makes it dangerously drinkable.

Flensburger Pilsener

This golden lager from northern Germany sings with vigorous carbonation and a gorgeous, lemony hop bouquet over a sweet grain backbone. Flensburger is perfect for sunny afternoons.

Rothaus Pils

Black Forest brewery Rothaus adds weight through its delectably bready, honeyed malt flavours while zesty herbal hops provide balance, giving this Pils a beautifully rounded personality.

Jever Fun

Lower in alcohol but not on flavour, zesty Jever Fun from Friesland impresses with a quenching mineral character and gentle hop bite framing subtle grainy malt.

Störtebeker Atlantik Ale

Hailing from Stralsund, this India Pale Lager hybrid fuses assertive passionfruit and grapefruit hoppiness with biscuit malt for a contemporary twist on German brewing traditions.

Top 5 German Lagers

Crisp, clean and impeccably crafted, German lagers represent the pinnacle of brewing prowess. Beyond the usual pilsners and export lagers, explore these full-flavoured sippable gems:

Ayinger Bräu Weisse

This elegant summer refresher impresses with subtle citrus and floral hop aromatics on a light wheaty canvas, finishing dry, lemony and super refreshing.

Rothaus Tannenzäpfle Pils

This Black Forest Pilsner tantalises with its herbal, slightly peppery Saaz hopping, elevated by honeyed sweetness and stone fruit flavours from the malt. Moreish.

Kloster Andechs Vollbier Hell

The Benedictine monks at Kloster Andechs have brewing down to a fine art. This malty, ambered lager is soothingly smooth yet packed with rich toasty and caramel complexity.

Augustiner Bräu Edelstoff

Munich’s oldest brewpub delivers this doppelbock, its alcohol warmth only enhancing the luscious melanoidin malt flavours of treacle, nuts and red apple against a slick, liqueur-like body.

Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel

The world’s oldest monastery brewery produces this profoundly rich, chocolatey dark lager with subtle dried fruit flavours and restrained balancing bitterness. A real winter warmer.

Top 5 German Weizenbiers

Cloudy and unfiltered, Germany’s legendary wheat beers captivate with their signature banana and clove “weizen” yeast character. Beyond the usual suspects, explore these fantastic wheat beer offerings:

Schneider Weisse Aventinus

This intensely fruity Weizenbock from Bavaria uses a traditional decoction mash for a rich, wine-like concentration. Flavours evoke sherry-soaked fruitcake, red berries, vanilla and spicy hops against a slick, full body.

Weihenstephan Hefeweissbier

From Bavaria’s oldest brewery, this elegant wheat beer balances subtle banana against spritzy lemon tang for sublime drinking. Its dreamy white head completes the experience.

Maisel’s Weisse Original

Maisel’s version delivers banana bread and bubblegum yeastiness counterpointed by peppery herbs and tart lemon zing. Cloudy and quenching, it’s liquid sunshine.

Gasthaus & Gosebrauerei Bayerischer Bahnhof Leipziger Gose

This tart, salty legend from Leipzig tantalises with lactic sourness, lemon and herbs complemented by a full wheaty body. Perfectly refreshing on a hot day.

Brauerei Clemens Härle Weizen Leuchtfeuer

From this Black Forest craft brewer comes a cloudy unfiltered wheat beer awash with fragrant citrus and spice against a fresh backdrop of grainy wheat and bready malt body.

Top 5 German Kölsches

Crisp, clean and refreshing, Kölsch-style ales from Cologne and beyond deserve more renown outside their home region. With a soft fruity malt character perfectly balanced by grassy, spicy hops, these five make perfect introductions:

Gaffel Kölsch

This Cologne classic greets you with honeyed malt sweetness before mesmerising your tastebuds with an aromatic herbal and lemon sherbet hoppiness, all carried on a soft, cloud-like head.

Reissdorf Kölsch

Reissdorf’s delicately golden brew carries the Cologne seal of approval. Starts malty and biscuity before lemon balm, peach and pepper hop notes cleanse the palate for the next thirst-quenching sip.

Sion Kölsch

Hailing from North Rhine-Westphalia’s brewing heartland, subtle apple fruitiness accompanies Sion’s bready malt body while zesty Hallertau Saphir hops provide a symmetrically bitter, lemony finish.

Kuppers Kölsch

This light-bodied Köln quaffer exhibits some mango fruit alongside subtle sweet biscuit malt neatly balanced by delicate peppery spice hops to deliver easy drinking for the long haul.

Bergisch Land Brewery Lübzer Kölsch

Lübzer’s version brings a fruity pear juice and melon hop dimension, contrasting the sweet malt backbone. Zesty but rounded, it’s dangerously quaffable.

Top 5 German Dark Beers

Beyond the pale lagers and wheat beers, Germany excels at brewing profound, malty dark beers perfect for chilling evenings. Explore these five deep, complex thirst-quenchers:

Weltenburger Kloster Barock Dunkel

From the world’s oldest monastery brewery comes this profoundly rich, chocolatey dark lager with subtle dried fruit and restrained bitterness. It’s a real winter warmer.

Kloster Andechs Doppelbock Dunkel

This potent “doppelbock” from Bavaria’s holy brewers packs a malty punch of toasted nuts, toffee and cocoa against a full, smooth liquored body. Yet it remains eminently drinkable.

Pinkus Müller Dark Lager

This Westphalian dunkel offers bittersweet chocolate maltiness counterpointed by herbs, coffee and light smoke for memorable easy drinking. Its creamy mouthfeel completes a masterclass in the style.

Kaiserdom Dark Wheat Doppelbock

Employing seven malts and Bavarian wheat, this inky doppelbock from Bamberg seduces with molten bittersweet chocolate intensity, coffee liqueur notes and vinous fruitcake richness.

Spezial Lagerbier Rauchbier

From Brauerei Spezial comes this smoked beer redolent of bacon alongside toffee malt sweetness and traces of chocolate and burnt toffee against a supple body. Love it or hate it, this oddity fascinates.

Top 5 German Bock Beers

Originally brewed for lenten fasting, malty, full-bodied Bock beers now stand as some of Germany’s most iconic brews. From the rich doppelbocks to lighter maibocks, these five won’t disappoint:

Ayinger Celebrator

This potent “doppelbock” packs a 6.7% punch of toffee and toasted nuts lifted by dried fruit sweetness. Despite the strength, it’s smooth and silky with a luxurious mouthfeel.

Einbecker Winter-Bock Hell

At 6.5% ABV, this gorgeous maibock seduces with intricate malty complexity – think honey, caramel and wholemeal toast – alongside spicy, floral hops for balance.

Neuzeller Bockator Doppelbock

This inky sweet sipper from Brandenburg teems with chocolate fudge, treacle and molasses notes underscored by vinous fruit, cereal maltiness and a warming, liqueur-like finish.

Kloster Andechs Winterbock

Andechs’ seasonal speciality wraps warming dark fruit, mocha and spice flavours in a smooth, chocolatey blanket of malt. It’s like liquid Christmas cake.

Mahr’s Bock

This rich amber Bamberg bock beer shows immense malty depth with butterscotch, light toffee and toasted bread crust flavours perfectly balanced against herbal, spicy hops.

Wrap Up

Germany’s immense brewing prowess cultivates lagers and wheat beers of exceptional precision and variety. Beyond Pilsners, explore regional specialities like light Helles lagers, potent Bock beers and more. This article highlighted 10 brilliant sippers and outlined the top fives covering Oktoberfest beers, Pilsners and dark beers that showcase Germany’s diversity. With such incredible consistency and range to discover, every sip overflows with the opportunity to find a new favourite. Prost!

Best German Beer: FAQ

What is the most popular German beer?

The most popular German beer style is Pilsner, specifically Bitburger, which is a classic German Pilsner known for its light, crisp, refreshing taste. Bitburger is the highest-selling German beer both domestically and internationally.

What is Germany’s greatest beer?

Many beer enthusiasts consider Weihenstephaner, the world’s oldest continuously operating brewery dating back to 1040 AD, to be Germany’s greatest beer. Their Hefeweissbier is a classic, top-fermented wheat beer that showcases the brewing perfection Weihenstephaner has achieved over nearly a millennium of brewing.

What German beer should I try?

For an introductory German beer to try, go with Paulaner Hefe-Weissbier, an iconic wheat beer first brewed in Munich in 1634. It exemplifies the classic Bavarian-style wheat beer with its perfect balance of banana and clove yeast notes and becomes the gateway to exploring other great German beer styles.

What is the top No 1 beer in the world?

While taste is subjective, Beer Advocate and Rate Beer, two leading beer review sites, both rate Weihenstephaner’s Vitus as the best beer in the world as of 2024. This strong wheat bock demonstrates Weihenstephaner’s renowned brewing in its rich, complex malty flavours balanced beautifully with spicy, fruity wheat notes.

By Tickety Brew

Ivor Ardghal : Brewer and Writer at Tickety Brew