German Inventions: Bavarian Purity Law
Is there anything more perfect than a cold glass of beer on a hot summer day? If your answer is yes, you have Germany to thank! The Bavarian Purity Law, adopted in Bavaria in 1516, is the reason that beer has become such a staple around the world. Stipulating that beer can only consist of water, barley and hops, the Bavarian Purity Law standardized production of this alcoholic beverage.
In the age of craft beers, the three-ingredient rule may seem old-fashioned, but it remains firm for many German beer purists. Despite its rigidity, the law has allowed for a wealth of different beer styles to become popular in Germany. Kölsch, a warm-fermented light beer, Altbier, a top-fermented beer, and Weizen, a wheat beer, are just a few styles that can be made with the same ingredients.
The Bavarian Purity Law was passed on April 23, 1516. Naturally, all of Germany has celebrated its 500th anniversary. The “Year of Beer” has been welcomed through festivals, new brews, and even a commemorative postage stamp! US President Barack Obama even tipped his hat to the Bavarian Purity Law in his speech opening the Hannover Messe. “It’s also quite a pleasure to be here as Germans celebrate the 500th anniversary of your beer purity law!” he said.
Whether you like your beer with lots of hops, extra barley, top-fermented or bottom-fermented, one thing is clear: we should all lift our glasses to the Bavarians of 1516 who made this delicious beverage possible!