Stood overlooking the Alps or after a long day skiing, it’s the sumptuous Weissbier – a wheat beer – in that tall curvy glass that you’ll reach for. "Weiss" means white, and these beers are usually hazy. Hefeweizen in particular has a yeasty taste ("hefe" means yeast) imparting a spicy clove aroma and, often, a suggestion of bananas.
Try: Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier.
As the clamour for sour beers continues in the craft beer world, it was only a matter of time before the once-obscure Berliner weisse returned. And be thankful it did. This summer beer is usually low in alcohol (2.5-4%), cheek-suckingly tart and sessionable (yes, it’s a beery word I’m afraid). Don’t miss the salty Gose either, a close cousin.
Try: Bayerischer Banhof make a great Gose and "Berliner Style Weisse".
Brewing a light beer took time and skill, from the maltser who ‘toasts’ the cereal kernels to the brewer. First came the Dunkel, a dark lager, high in malt characteristics with very little hint of hops. It’s a popular style over the winter months and perfect for swilling down your classic Munich beer hall food, schweinshaxe – a roasted ham hock.
Try: The Augustiner-Bräu Dunkel (preferably in a loud Munich beer hall).
The ‘black lager’ is, for this beer enthusiast at least, one of the great beer styles. It can be as black as Guinness, but with an incredible lightness of touch, effervescence and as crisp as a pale lager. Buy one for a lager drinking friend and you'll have them on it all night. Delicious.
Try: Köstritzer Schwarzbier. No need to look any further. Seek out now.
Steady with this one, the alcohol volume is often around 7%. It’s a sweet, malty, lagered beer that is popular in winter. A slightly lighter gold version is the Maibock, while the Dopplebock is even stronger and maltier; a sipping beer – but not as much as Eisbock that can turn to the alcohol volume up to 11%.
Try: The Paulaner Salvator Dopplebock is the original, first created in 1629.
Bacon! Want to drink bacon? Well you probably never really thought of it before, but this is as near as you’ll get. There are a couple of other breweries around the world that make a Rauchbier, but really the Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen is the original and the one to pick up. The intense smokiness comes from malt that has been smoked. A bit of a surprise this one, but stick it out – it’s surprisingly drinkable!
Try: Aecht Schlenkerla Marzen.
Daniel is the editor of the craft beer publication Original Gravity%.
Explore more of Germany and its beer with The Rough Guide to Germany. Compare flights, book hostels for your trip, and don’t forget to purchase travel insurance before you go.
Top image: © Frank Gaertner/Shutterstock