Can You Say “Reinheitsgebot”?
In 1516, Duke Wilhelm IV of Bavaria, disgusted with the poor and inconsistent quality of the beer being produced in Bavaria at the time, introduced the original Reinheitsgebot (pronounced ‘Rhine • heights • ge • boat’) Beer Purity Law to restrict the ingredients that could be lawfully used to make beer. The catalyst for the enactment of the Reinheitsgebot was the rampant use by brewers of cheap grain substitutes in beer (and the resulting effect on quality). This set a new standard of excellence for the brewing of beer, and ushered in a new era in beer making. Subsequently, Bavaria and Germany would come to be known as a source of some of the greatest beer in the world.
The Reinheitsgebot strictly limited the ingredients that could be used to produce beer to the following three natural ingredients:
• Malted barley (Malz), which gives the beer its color, contributes to the taste and provides sugars, proteins and other nutrients for the yeast during the fermentation process.
• Hops (Hopfen), which gives the beer its distinctive bitterness. Hops balance out the sweetness from the malt, provide the fresh aroma, and act as a natural preservative.
• Pure water, which makes up more than 90% of the beer, brings it all together.
Yeast, cultivated by brewers yet not fully understood at the time of the original Reinheitsgebot (microbiology was not quite that advanced in 1516), was later added as a specific ingredient. Sadly, many breweries today are right back to using cheaper raw materials such as sugar, various grains including corn and rice, and other additives in their brewing process. This is what prompted the Reinheitsgebot in the first place. The net result is a world awash in flavorless, watery beers.
The Reinheitsgebot standard at The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery
At The Olde Mecklenburg Brewery, we are proud to uphold the tradition of quality beer established in 1516, and only brew in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot. We believe that this is the only way to brew a pure beer. It's not an easy (or cheap) task, but OMB chooses not to compromise on quality.
We use only 4 ingredients, and select only the best of those ingredients available worldwide. OMB utilizes only the highest quality two-row malted barley to ensure optimum starch and protein levels for beer production. We also import noble Bavarian hops to ensure that our beers have a balanced bitterness while achieving just the right flavor and aroma. And our yeast is always an authentic strain from the region of that specific beers’ origination. We could spend less on ingredients, but it’s not worth it.
Our adherence to the Reinheitsgebot, together with our traditional, intensive brewing techniques and the craftsmanship of our brewers provide the assurance that you will get the best beer possible.
Keep Reading » Beer is like bread, not wine.