Be honest with me! What do you associate with Germany the most?
I guess there is “beer” among your first three thoughts.
And there is nothing wrong with that. Germany is famous for its beer, and above everything else, the celebration of this beverage that takes place yearly in Munich – the “Oktoberfest”.
Maybe the Germans aren’t big vodka drinkers but do not try to challenge a German at the Oktoberfest to a beer-drinking duel.
But this also applies to smaller parties in Germany. A birthday? A graduation party? Just a barbecue? It doesn’t matter. There is no party without this golden drink.
Therefore, it is essential to know some basics about this when traveling to Germany, so let us look at how to order a beer in German.
How to Order a Beer – Basic vocabulary
- 🇩🇪 der Alkohol – 🇺🇸 alcohol
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Bier – 🇺🇸 a beer
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Radler – 🇺🇸 a shandy
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Diesel – 🇺🇸 beer and cola
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Kneipe – 🇺🇸 a pub
- 🇩🇪 der/ein Kneipenwirt or die/eine Kneipenwirtin – 🇺🇸 a barkeeper
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Bar – 🇺🇸 a bar
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Theke – 🇺🇸 a bar counter
- 🇩🇪 der/ein Bierdeckel – 🇺🇸 a beer mat
- 🇩🇪 der/ein Flaschenöffner – 🇺🇸 a bottle-opener
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Brauerei – 🇺🇸 a brewery
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Glas – 🇺🇸 a glass
- 🇩🇪 der/ein Bierkrug – 🇺🇸 a beer tankard
- 🇩🇪 alkoholfrei – 🇺🇸 alcohol-free
- 🇩🇪 trinken – 🇺🇸 to drink
- 🇩🇪 bestellen – 🇺🇸 to order
- 🇩🇪 Flaschenbier – 🇺🇸 bottled beer
- 🇩🇪 frisch gezapftes Bier – 🇺🇸 fresh draught beer
Ordering a beer in German – 6 Useful Phrases
🇩🇪 Wir haben eine Reservierung für fünf Personen.
🇺🇸 We have a reservation for five people.
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🇩🇪 Wir hätten gerne zwei große Pils.
🇺🇸 We would like to have two big Pils.
🇩🇪 Eine Runde Weizen für alle.
🇺🇸 One round of Weizen for everyone.
🇩🇪 Noch mal dasselbe.
🇺🇸 The same again, please.
🇩🇪 Ich nehme ein kleines Radler.
🇺🇸 I’ll have one small shandy.
🇩🇪 Eine Maß Bier für mich.
🇺🇸 One liter of beer for me, please.
Here is a short dialogue to sum up what we have learned so far:
🇩🇪 Hallo, wir haben eine Reservierung für drei Personen.
🇺🇸 Hello, we have a reservation for three people.
🇩🇪 Guten Abend, warten Sie bitte an der Theke.
🇺🇸 Good evening. Please wait at the bar counter.
🇩🇪 Ihr Tisch ist bereit. Was kann ich Ihnen zum trinken bringen?
🇺🇸 Your table is ready. Can I bring you something to drink?
🇩🇪 Ich nehme ein großes Pils und meine Freundin ein Diesel. Haben sie auch alkoholfreies Bier?
🇺🇸 I’ll have one big Pils and my girlfriend would like a beer and cola. Do you also have any alcohol-free beer?
🇩🇪 Natürlich, aber nur als Flaschenbier.
🇺🇸 Certainly, but only as bottled beer.
🇩🇪 Dann nehmen wir eins davon und noch eine Portion Nachos mit Käse.
🇺🇸 Then we’ll take one of them and a portion of nachos with cheese.
🇩🇪 Alles klar, Ihre Bestellung kommt gleich.
🇺🇸 All right then, your order will be ready soon.
German Beer Culture
Before the big companies took over the German beer market, there were breweries in almost every village in Germany. And I really mean village.
Maybe it is one of the reasons why there are so many types of beer in Germany.
Here is a list of the most common kinds:
This is the most famous beer in Germany. You can find it in every pub all over the country. It has an intense hop taste and a clear golden color.
This one belongs to the most popular beer from South Germany. It is also called “Weißbier”, and for its production, they use wheat malt instead of a hop. It tastes intensively fruity.
It is produced from dark wheat, which gives it its color. This one is a strong beer with an alcohol content of 11-15%.
means “the old beer”, which comes from the old method of brewing. It was produced as long ago as the 13th century. It’s not as strong as dunkles Bier, but it is also dark and bitter.
Copyrights protect the name of this beer, and only beer produced in Cologne can be named like this. Also, it is the main cultural rival of Altbier. They both come from the same part of the country and have an alcohol content of about 4,8%.
So that’s all about the beer kinds for now. But there are many more!
It would be a pity not to read some more about the world’s largest celebration of beer here.
Das Oktoberfest in Germany
It always takes place from mid- or late September and lasts until the first Sunday of October. Over these 16-18 days, millions of people stroll through Munich with a glass of beer in their hands.
Another word for Oktoberfest, which is used mainly by locals, is d’Wiesen. It is derived from the square where the celebration takes place – the Theresienwiese.
If you ever visit this city during Oktoberfest, you should know some handy phrases and facts, especially how to order a beer:
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Maß Bier – 🇺🇸 one litre of beer
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Bierzelt – 🇺🇸 a beer tent
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Lederhose – 🇺🇸 leather trousers
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Dirndlkleid – 🇺🇸 a traditional dress for ladies
- 🥨 die/eine Bretzel or Brezel – 🇺🇸 a pretzel
- 🇩🇪 mit Butter – 🇺🇸 with butter
- 🇩🇪 ohne Butter – 🇺🇸 without butter
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Bockwurst – 🇺🇸 a type of sausage, popular in Germany
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Bratwurst – 🇺🇸 a banger sausage
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Currywurst – 🇺🇸 Bratwurst served with curry-flavored ketchup
- 🇩🇪 das Sauerkraut – 🇺🇸 pickled cabbage
- 🇩🇪 das/ein Riesenrad – 🇺🇸 the Ferris wheel
- 🇩🇪 die/eine Achterbahn – 🇺🇸 a roller-coster
When going to the Oktoberfest, you have to keep in mind that it is the wrong place to save money. In the year 2019, one Maß Bier cost up to 11,80€. And believe me, you won’t drink just the one.
Besides, you will also need extra money for food and some of the attractions. They aren’t cheap either.
One last tip: When you are in Cologne in a pub enjoying a beer with your friends, you should put the beer mat on top of your glass to show that you have had enough. Otherwise, the waiter or the barkeeper will automatically pour some more beer into your glass.