There is more bad news for Bavarians. In my blog Baguette de Tradition I reported that it was not their Duke Wilhelm who was the first to issue a regulation for the brewing of bierre but Philip the Good, Duke of Burgundy, who ordered as early as 1438 that only barley, hops, and water were allowed. Beer in Burgundy? In the 15th century, la Bourgogne was the biggest producer of hops and historians have found out that Philip's decree was aimed to protect domestic cultivation of hops rather than the purity of beer.
The Bavarians were shocked and looked further into their beer history. In my blog Back to the Roots? I reported that a Munich Reinheitsgebot already dates from anno Domini 1487 and beats at least the satzung unnd ordnung über die weyne by 12 years. In that year Duke Albert IV the Wise of Bavaria-Munich cast an order of the Munich magistrate of 1453 into law: dass Bier und Greußing* nu füran auch aus nichts anderem dann Hopfen, Gersten und Wasser gesotten werden (that from now on and forever beer and mild beer shall be seethed using nothing else than hops, barley, and water).
*a beer with less hops
Let us be clear. Originally the purity of beer was not what is meant when reading the following order:
|The mayor announces that beer will be brewed on Wednesday|
and therefore it is no longer allowed to shit
into the creek from Tuesday on (from Facebook).
*Note that the Czechs are Weltmeister with 144 liters per inhabitant
The German Einheitsplörre (universal dishwater) is a result of the way how hops is used. When visiting the Jever brewery in East Frisia in 2009 I noticed that the classical sacks filled with aromatic hop cones had been replaced by hops pressed into pellets.
|Pellets for Pils in Jever (©Gert Kalischer)|
500 years Reinheitsgebot for beer
Enter the craft-beer brewers. Most of them still adhere to the Reinheitsgebot but they experiment with the choice of yeast, barley, and the selection of "real" hops often imported from abroad. In fact, most hops grown in Germany is just cultivated for a maximum output of alpha acid.
In a blog about this special anniversary, I read this morning: Prost Reinheitsgebot! Nich lang snacken, Kopf in Nacken! (Don't chat too long, put your head back ... and down the hedge).
Happy birthday, Reinheitsgebot but let us not look at it the German way, i.e., in too narrow a context.