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Reinheitsgebot - the Guardian of Ancient Craft

Updated: Feb 20, 2023

German beer fans love to talk about Reinheitsgebot, an ancient German regulation on brewing beer. At first sight, it is strange that this law could be so loved. Doesn't this law hold back German breweries from progress and innovation with their beer recipes?

The Reinheitsgebot, or the German purity law, is more than just a burdensome law. It preserved an ancient craft, for which we are grateful to this day. It says in effect, “The right combination of fermented barley, hops & water is a gift of nature to be jealously protected.”

Of course there are endless possibilities of fermented drink, as the Craft Beer Movement has demonstrated. But ancient craft beer will always be the hallmark of the ideal beer. That was the point of the Reinheitsgebot. You can make whatever you want, just don’t call it beer unless it uses only the finest ingredients that, as time has shown, produce the best beer.

But, fortunately or unfortunately, the law is not all-encompassing since it only focuses on the ingredients in themselves, not where or how they are sourced, nor how long the beers should be fermented and lagered. This has allowed the large corporate breweries to cut corners, as they always will, and work with lower quality grains and to dramatically cut their fermenting and lagering times. The good news? This has allowed the authentic "Ancient Craft" German breweries to shine by continuing to seek quality over profits.

This is why I want you to learn more about my favorite craft German brewery, Brauerei Göller. The beer is nuanced & harmonious in flavor. Is has been finely tuned over centuries! The difference between corporate German beers and those German beers that follow the unwritten rules of Ancient Craft always astonishes me!

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