Beer, Booze, Enjoyment, Health Benefits

A Toast to German Beer Day

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A Toast to German Beer Day
April 23, 2010

On April 23, 1516, Duke Wilhelm IV proclaimed a law that would outlast all others in German history: the beer purity edict. The decree declares that German beer may contain just four ingredients: malt, hops, yeast and water. And on the basis of these select ingredients, German brewers have succeeded in crafting the finest beers, emulated the world over. On April 23 each year, beer lovers everywhere celebrate German Beer Day. As you drink to this occasion, enjoy a few intoxicating facts about German beer:

On average, each German drinks 138 litres of beer a year. Only the Czechs and Irish surpass them. Bavarians consume 50% more beer than the German national average, making them the nation’s kings of beer consumption.

Some 1,200 German breweries employ about 65,000 workers, and German beer accounts for more than 10% of the worldwide market. Production exceeds 115 million hectolitres per year.

Germany brews dozens of types of light and dark beers, from the smoky Rauchbier of Bamberg, to the yeasty, opaque Hefeweizenbier of Bavaria, to Koelsch, the pale ale of Cologne, to the woodruff or raspberry syrup-sweetened Berliner Weisse of the German capital, to name just a few. Nearly all are available in the United States.

Beer is healthy! One litre contains 45% of the daily recommended allowance of magnesium, 20% of the daily dose of potassium, and significant quantities of vitamin B and niacin. Its high carbohydrate content makes it easily digestible and a quick energy source. Beer has 45 calories per 100 ml – less than whole milk or grape juice. Moreover, researchers at the University of Oregon have found that hops, a key beer ingredient, help reduce the build-up of carcinogens in the body. Beer also contributes to hair health, giving it shine and volume.

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