This week the Reinheitsgebot turns 500 years old. If you’ve ever been on ANY brewery tour, the Reinheistsgebot always comes up but most of us refer to it as the German Beer Purity Law. By this law, beer legally could be made only with 4 ingredients: Water, Barley and Hops (Yeast would be added later once it was understood). Back then, beer was actually safer to drink than water (maybe still is). In fact, way back around 1080 an Abbot by the name of Arnold of Soissons saved many would-be-plague victims by having them drink the beer he made instead of water (the water used for the beer would be boiled and the harmful pathogens would be killed) as a result many people that followed his instructions survived and he would later become Saint Arnold- patron saint of hop pickers and brewers (I also learned on a tour in Belgium that his statue is in every brewery in the country). Several years later in 1516, to make sure beer remained safe the Reinheitsgebot was adopted and any brewer that violated the purity law would be punished by being arrested and their beer confiscated and destroyed.
Today many of your favorite beers are made following this law. Pilsners, lagers, stouts, porters, bocks, ambers, IPAs, ect all use water, barley, hops and yeast. However, in this day and age innovation is the name of the game and you can only do so much with base grains and hop varieties. So this Saturday when this law becomes 500 years old, by all means have a glass of beer (most German beers strictly follow the Reinheitsgebot and are stellar) but also if you want to raise the devils horns and make Judas Priest proud and “Break the law” here’s a few to check out: (READ MORE)