Wednesday, April 27, 2016

500th Anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot Zum Schneider celebrates the 500th Anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot Non-Flash version of the podcast

On April 23, 1516 in Ingolstadt, Germany, at a meeting of the Assembly of Estates, Bavarian Duke Wilhelm IV proposed a law which dictated, among other things, that beer should only be made from water, barley, and hops. It was referred to as the "Surrogatverbot", or prohibition of surrogate ingredients, and later, in 1918, was nicknamed the Reinheitsgebot, or purity agreement.
Sylvester says "prosit!"
500 years later the law endures, and its anniversary causes us to celebrate the bright, clean, healthy lager that has defined German beer, considered by many to be the best beer in the world. Of course, some folks in Belgium and England, and other beer centric lands, might disagree. But on the corner of E. 7th St. and Ave. C in what was Kleine Deutschland in the late 1800s, German beer reigns! Zum Schneider celebrates all week long with special kegs, and a beer-centric menu featuring dishes made with beer!
Freigeist Abraxxxas makes its debut on tap at ZS!
Rather than giving you a 10 page dissertation on the history of the Reinheitsgebot, we'll just give you the short story, and link some other more in depth resources below. Basically, the law sought to preserve the quality and consistency of Bavarian beer at a time when beer was made from a long list of ingredients that varied from hamlet to hamlet. Some used different sources for the sugars, which are converted to alcohol and carbon dioxide during fermentation -- not everyone use malted grain exclusively. And the beer was flavored and colored with all kinds of things: spices, ash, herbs, roots, bark -- pretty much anything was possible. So, by limiting what could go into beer, the beer became more consistent, and the quality was more reliable.
Zum Schneider shakes up the menu with some very special offerings!
It wasn't just beer quality at the core of the Reinheitsgebot, though. The rule sought to act as a price and supply control on grain, stipulating that only malted barley be used for beer, leaving wheat for the bakers, so there wouldn't be bread shortages due to a thirst for more beer! Wheat malt was allowed in beer brewing, but on a very limited basis through special dispensation from the monarchy, and following the end of one such charter, the reigning House of Wittlesbach gave themselves the exclusive monopoly to brew wheat beer in Bavaria from 1602 to 1798.
Fraulein B.R. und Herr Bockenstein.
Here are some good sources of information on the Reinheitsgebot:

The Guardian article about a German brewery's struggle with the beer law
All About Beer article on some history
Beer Sessions Radio featuring Sylvester Schneider and Sebastian of Freigeist
Oxford Companion to Beer with its definition and history
Wikipedia always a good source
Beer and Brewing more on the Reinheitsgebot
The Ja Ja Jas.
A clean, spray-free tapping of the Weissenohe!
Jorge pours the Weissenohe.
The photographer sports a Mahr's hat as he glances at the menu specials. 

Sylvester and the ladies sing.

1 comment: