As a sequel to our earlier post on how American-style craft beers are catching on in traditional beer cultures, I offer this account of what is happening in Germany.
By Michael Birnbaum in the Washington Post:
Almost 65 years after Allied planes flew Western supplies into blockaded Berlin, a new American import is arriving by air: craft beer.
The beer is being flown in as part of a new surge of German interest in American brewing, upending a centuries-old relationship in which German beer defined the golden standard for brewing and Americans emulated it.
Now, with craft brewers in the United States capturing an ever-greater share of their home market, they are expanding in Germany as well. German consumers, intrigued by unfamiliar flavors, are purchasing more imported beer and are increasingly copying American efforts with their own small-scale brewing operations.
In the last year in Berlin, high-end U.S. beer — including one from California that is flown over in coolers — has become available in some grocery stores, and several U.S.-style craft breweries have opened. The efforts are aimed at challenging the dominance of plain-old pilsner, the mild lager that dominates more than half of beer sales in Germany. Beer consumption is slipping in Germany, and some brewers say their only salvation lies in fostering a drinking culture less constrained by a 1516 purity law that they say crimps innovation.
“What we’ve found in the United States is this amazing variety of styles and the openness of customers to new things,” said Marc Rauschmann, who is importing beer from California-based Firestone Walker Brewing Co. in airfreighted coolers. Other beer is shipped by sea. “We were really impressed.”
Keep reading: In Germany, a U.S. beer invasion – The Washington Post.
I would just like to say that those Germans who think their classic pilsners are “boring” and so are all excited about those hoppy and fruity craft beers do not do themselves credit. There is a place for the latter, I am willing to admit, but the German beers, thanks to the purity law, cultivate the essence of beerness, approaching the Platonic ideal. As, I believe, Chesterton has pointed out, those who think something is “boring” betray a failure of sensitivity.