Word of the Day: Reinheitsgebot

Jul 18, 2011 11:08 am

Building up your kitchen vocab arsenal

It's no surprise that Germany is particular about its beer. How particular? Meet Reinheitsgebot. All German beer labels bear the inscription "Gebraut nach dem deutschen Reinheitsgebot," or, "Brewed according to the German Purity Law." Established in 1516 (and strictly upheld ever since), Reinheitsgebot ensured that beer would only ever be made from water, barley and hops (yeast wasn't in the scientific picture yet), or forfeit the title of "beer."

The idea of reinheit, or "purity," prohibits the addition of herbs, spices, sugars and other grains like corn and rice which are almost universal in mass brewing today. While this limits the amount of styles German bierbrauers under Reinheitsgebot can brew, it elevates the quality of German beers to the transcendent nectar that fills our steins today.   

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