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Destination: Germany

Germans may not have invented beer, but they greatly improved its taste and quality by adding hops to the mix in the 13th century. Not long after, the country adopted its strict brewing laws, which limit beer to natural ingredients: water, hops, malt and yeast. Pure and simple, yet diverse in flavour and style, this is what craft beer is all about. And you don’t have to travel to Germany to taste it. There’s an excellent selection of German beer and wine at the LCBO on King Street South in Waterloo. We asked Sven-Erik, Product Consultant, for his expert advice on choosing Germany's best.

Canada and Germany share a lot when it comes to beer, including our love of local craft beer, especially when enjoyed outside. “Germans drink beer based on the season, just like in Ontario,” says Sven-Erik. “Come spring, it’s all about sipping a cold beer with friends on a patio or, as they call it, a Biergarten.”

Sven-Erik, who grew up in Hamburg, now oversees the German beer collection at the Waterloo LCBO, which also carries an exclusive selection of wines and spirits. The region hosts the largest Oktoberfest celebration outside Germany.

 

BEER STYLES

While Germany makes many types of beer, the three mainstays are Pilsner, Weissbier and Kölsch. Pilsner (or simply lager), arguably the most popular beer in the world, is light and crisp with a slightly bitter, hoppy finish. “This is one beer Germans drink year-round,” he says. 

Wheat beer, or Weissbier, is refreshingly light, with subtle hops and a sweet, bready character. “To me, this is the quintessential patio beer,” says Sven-Erik. Kölsch, from Cologne, is perhaps the oldest style of German beer. “It’s sort of a hybrid between a lager and an ale. You’ve got this crispness, but with more depth.”

 

PAIR IT

Pilsner goes well with just about any food. Likewise, Kölsch is fairly flexible. “Charcuterie is a natural match, as is poutine.” As for Weissbier, Sven-Erik loves it with brunch. “It’s just so delicious with eggs Benedict.”

 

 

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