Duke Wilhelm IV's beer purity regulation of 1516, which was preceded by earlier rules on beer production, was gradually implemented in other parts of southern Germany. It eventually became law in the north and thus the whole country in 1906.
According to BBC, the decree known as the Reinheitsgebot had three aims: to protect drinkers from high prices, to ban the use of wheat in beer so more bread could be made and to stop unscrupulous brewers from adding dubious toxic and even hallucinogenic ingredients as preservatives or flavorings. The DBB (German Brewers' Association) claims that the Reinheitsgebot is the oldest currently valid consumer protection law in the world.
The original law limited ingredients to just barley, hops and water. The exact role of yeast in alcoholic fermentation was not understood at the time and it was only later that brewers were able to add the micro-organism as a specific ingredient. The production of wheat beers remained limited in Bavaria for centuries but is now allowed. So the law now states that malted grains, hops, water, and yeast may be used - but nothing else.
As reported by Npr, Beers brewed according to the Reinheitsgebot have special status under European Union laws as a protected traditional foodstuff. However European law means that the German brewing industry has had to accept that beers brewed elsewhere not in accordance with the Reinheitsgebot can be sold in the country. Whereas elsewhere beer is seen as a drink of pleasure in Bavaria it is considered more as a basic food. It's hardly surprising when you look at the statistics: on average Bavarian consumers from birth to the grave some 150 liters (40 gallons) of beer per year putting Bavarians right at the top of the beer consuming a list of states in Germany.
The sight of a freshly pulled beer, bubbling and fizzing in the glass, is enough to make the mouth water. They all look very tempting. The warm colors of Bavarian specialty winter beers invite you to enjoy a special beer experience when it is cold outside. Wintry festival and strong beers can be golden, amber-brown or fiery dark, almost black. A sumptuous caramel note with fruity tones of peach, banana or dark chocolate dominates their aromas.
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