My brother in law, a chef who spent some time in Germany, told me some years ago about the German Purity Law. Apparently, the Germans take their beer very seriously, and don't take kindly to additives and preservatives.
Absolutely correct. Its the Reinheitsgebot and I believe its actually older than the nation of Germany itself (Germany used to be made up of individual and independent regions previously, I think?).
In addition to the ingredients you mention, also keep an eye out for Hopfenextract (or Hops Extract!), which is a very sublte sign that the brewer is deviating from the original script. It should be hops, not extract of hops!
on a side not if you like White beers, Hoegarrden and Kronenburg Blanc, the new Tea Factory on Wood Street has just had a refurb and sells something called Pauliner White Beer - gorgeous stuff!
Pauliner are a renowned Bayerisch brauhaus, along with Erdinger, but as with nearly all German brewers, their target market is first the local region, 2nd the rest of the nation and then 3rd the rest of the world. As such, their beer does not travel well, if at all. Its nice to taste these different beers in the UK, but its a shame they are a pale shadow of what is bottled and sold locally
Had an Edinger in the Ship & Mitre on Dale St a while back and while the taste was there, it was really gassy due to it coming from draft rather than the bottle. I guess that goes someway to explaining why things like Oktoberfest are so popular, because you need to be local to the brewery of the beer you are drinking to appreciate how good German ale can be.
Someone name me some decent German ale that they'll sell in the Asda then, and I'll give it a try.
Becks is my favourite lager, but I bet the Germans probably think its piss....
Becks sells well in the garages alongside the local brews, but its almost non existent in bars/restaurants. Germany produces (I think) about 70% of the volume of beer consumed in Europe, but most of it is sold in the brewerys surrounding areas (see last answer), so big name brands rarely do well. Those are the ones that are normally exported to others countries, like our hell hole!
As for drinking good beer - forget German..... go to Belgium