7 German Beers to Drink During the World Cup

The U.S. is out, but that doesn’t mean you should skip watching the 2014 World Cup final on Sunday at 3 p.m. Eastern. Even if you don’t have a team still standing and even if you still don’t quite understand the World Cup elimination process  – you know, the one you have to relearn every four years — you can still appreciate any or all of these seven beers.

That’s right, seven: one for each of the goals Germany scored in its brutal rout of Brazil in this year’s semifinals. Head out this Sunday to catch the game and toast a few of the following summer-friendly German brews to sportsmanship.

Source: Thinkstock

1. Weihenstephaner Hefeweissbier

  • Type: Hefeweizen
  • 5.4 percent alcohol by volume

It may take you several times to pronounce this one correctly, but it’s well worth the trouble. Americans call it Hefeweizen, Germans call it Weissbier (“white beer,” according to the German Beer Institute). It doesn’t matter how you say it; it only matters that you drink it.

While hefeweizens are generally considered to be simple and refreshing, this particular brew — rated Beer Advocate’s top German beer  – “stands out for its complexities,” says Men’s Journal. Crafted with spices in a traditional brewery dating back to the year 725, this is a traditional taste that will never go out of style.

2. Erdinger Kristall

  • Type: Kristalweizen
  • 5.3 percent alcohol by volume

Literally translated as “crystal wheat,” the kristalweizen style of beer is described by the German Beer Institute as “a filtered pale Weissbier or Hefeweizen … it pours ‘crystal’-clear rather than yeast-turbid.”

Erdinger bills its Kristall offering as “a tasty thirst-quencher for hot summer days,” which perfectly suits our World Cup purposes. (Things to consider: You’re going to be surrounded by a sweaty heap of drunk bar patrons while you’re swigging it.) There is no better way to cool off and get a pleasant buzz on than with this crisp Bavarian specialty. 

Source: Facebook.com/PaulanerMuenchen

3. Radeberger Pilsener

  • Type: Pilsener
  • 4.8 percent alcohol by volume

The Germam Beer Institute names the Pilsener style of beer as “arguably the most successful beer style in the world.” Pilseners tend to be blonde, appearing somewhat clear, and the Radeberger is no different. Although beer snobs don’t rate Radeberger as highly as its upper-crust counterparts, the fact remains that 1. It’s authentically German, and 2. It has a lower alcohol content than many of its brethren.

Fact number two is exceptionally important to consider during the World Cup, when beer drinkers are not always on their most mindful behavior. (Read: Chugging will happen.) And if there’s anything to say for Radeberger Pilsener, it’s that it is indeed chug-able. What’s more soccer friendly than that? Also worth trying in this family: The Warsteiner Premium Verum (4.8 percent) and the Bitburger Premium Pils (4.8 percent).

4. Paulaner Hefeweizen

  • Type: Hefeweizen
  • 5.5 percent alcohol by volume

Paulaner is a globally celebrated beer maker, and this Hefeweizen is its bestseller. It has a character that Paulaner describes as “sparklingly mild and fruity with a delicate yeast flavour.” Draft magazine highlights the brew’s light clove and citrus notes, calling this Hefeweizen a “neatly balanced example of the style.”

A majority of German-themed pubs will have this on tap, or at least available by bottle. There’s no better time to get a triumphant taste of Bavarian culture than while Germany is angling for a World Cup victory.

Source: Facebook.com/Franziskaner.Weissbier

5. Früh Kölsch

  • Type: Kölsch
  • 4.8 percent alcohol by volume

German Beer Guide describes the Kölsch style of beer as “delicate and refreshing, less bitter than a Pilsner, gently fruitier and a little sweeter.” Like champagne, the descriptor Kölsch is protected by law so that only beers brewed in and around Köln can bear the name.” 

Früh is one of the most widely available Kölsch brands in the U.S. Früh describes its Kölsch offering as tasting of “vanilla and flowery hops.” Beer Advocate reviewers add that  it “goes down like water” — so take it easy if you’re trying to remember the game!

6. Spaten Münchner Hell

  • Type: Munich Helles Lager
  • 5.2 percent alcohol by volume

A Helles, according to the German Beer Institute, is characterized by a lightness in color and is “historically the first Munich blond lager.” Spaten’s popular, sippable lager delivers a “supremely well balanced hop flavor” and a refreshing, dry finish.

Draft magazine proclaims this brew to be “light and effervescent” and “about as quaffable as they come.” In other words, this beer was made for World Cup watching.

Source: Thinkstock

7. Franziskaner Hefe-Weisse

  • Type: Hefeweizen
  • 5 percent alcohol by volume

All right, we’ve got one more Hefeweizen to round out the list before you make your beer run. Franziskaner’s Hefeweizen is smooth with citrus notes, lip-smacking enough to earn the rating of “Outstanding” from Beer Advocate. Savor S.A. adds that Franziskaner is “a most reliable wheat beer that is sure to taken the edge off the heat.”

This sounds like something worth sipping during the game — and with just 5 percent alcohol by volume, you might just be able to slug a few. Better these than the opposing team’s fans.

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