23 April, 1516 in Ingolstadt. In response to a numerous complaints to the lack of quality of beer, King Ludwig X and Duke William IV approved a law requiring all breweries to follow a uniform guideline for crafting beer in Bavaria. Known as the Reinheitsgebot (The Beer Purity Laws), breweries were required to produce beer with hops, barley and water. As stated in the guidelines below (translated in English):
We hereby proclaim and decree, by Authority of our Province, that henceforth in the Duchy of Bavaria, in the country as well as in the cities and marketplaces, the following rules apply to the sale of beer:
(….) we wish to emphasize that in future in all cities, markets and in the country, the only ingredients used for the brewing of beer must be Barley, Hops and Water. Whosoever knowingly disregards or transgresses upon this ordinance, shall be punished by the Court authorities’ confiscating such barrels of beer, without fail.
Over the years, while changes were made pertaining to the sale of beer in Germany, the purity laws have remained the same, as the breweries have kept to the guidelines despite having various flavors to choose from, making Germany one of the most attractive places to try every sort of beer, period.
This year marks the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot in Germany, and the Flensburg Files will be presenting several articles pertaining to this important event. This includes the author’s taste-testing of 366 different German beers, one beer per day, for the entire year. The beer will be graded based on appearance and taste and will have some comments on the history and some recomendations if necessary. A list of beers the author has tried and recommended (at least most of them) can be found in the Files’ wordpress page, alongside articles pertaining to German beer and its future. Click here for access and to follow the author’s progress. Any questions, suggestions, etc., can be made with the author of the Files using the contact details presented in the page About the Author/Files. When visiting Germany, it’s a crime not to try the country’s prized beers. So Prost! 🙂