The Germans are renowned for a lot of things; one of them is beer. Beer is an important part of their tradition and heritage, with more than thirteen-hundred different breweries spread across the land. As far as per capita beer drinking, the Germans are only below the Czechs and the Irish. The history of Germanic beer goes back to the beginnings of the nation when monks began to experiment with brewing around 1000 A.D. Eventually, brewing started to become really profitable for the monks and the nation's leaders started to regulate the manufacturing of the brew. The most well-known and significant factor to influence German brewing came about in 1516 with the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot, or the purity requirement.
To ensure Bavarian beers were only the best quality the Duke Wilhelm IV ordered the Bavarian Reinheitsgebot. Water, hops, and barley are the only ingredients allowed in beer according to the regulation. The Reinheitsgebot is the oldest legislation put on beverages in the world and has been unaltered in almost five-hundred years. Yeast is the only addition to the list of vital ingredients in the act. Brewers in the past before that had simply used the yeast found naturally in the air. Bavarian breweries were soon known as the superior producers of beer because of the strict standard of quality following by the purity requirement. Other manufacturers began to adhere to the act as the reputation of the Bavarian breweries continued to rise.
As a result of the Reinheitsgebot, Germanic beers have a long-standing reputation of producing quality beers made out of the best ingredients. As time went on and Germany began to export beer, some towns became famed brewing spots. The city of Bremen had over 600 breweries by fifteen-hundred and was the top exporter of beer to Holland, Scandinavia, England, and even as far as India. A couple of other famous brewing towns were Einbeck and Braunschweig. In modern Germany, most of the country's beer-drinking people still choose fabbier, or draught beer, over bottle beer because of it's full-bodied flavor and right amount of head foam. In an attempt to curtail more breakouts of the black plague German beer steins came into use about the time the purity requirement came out and are still in use today.
During the era of the bubonic plague, Germany began a lot of regulations to prevent its people from becoming ill. Disease would spread as large amounts of infected flies landed in people's food and drink. This led to the German beer stein, a beverage holder with a closed lid that is operated with the thumb so a person could stop infection and still be able to drink with one hand. As people started to learn the plague spread in unclean conditions with stale water, beer consumption went up exponentially. Steins were originally made of stoneware with pewter lids. German beer steins started to be crafted entirely of pewter for nearly three-hundred years as the pewter guild became more powerful. Still manufactured today, silver and porcelain German beer steins were eventually introduced.
Today there are over thirteen-hundred and fifty breweries within Germany's borders that make over five-thousand types of beer. The oldest beer maker in the world still in operation in the present is the Benedictine abbey Weihenstephan, that has been making beer since 1040. The Franconia region of Bavaria by the city Bamberg is the highest concentrated area for breweries in Germany. Most beers can be placed under ales and lagers but German breweries produce a large variety of flavors. Some brands of beer can have an alcoholic content as much as 12%, making them stronger than most wines even though most beers have an alcoholic content ranging from 4.7% to 5.4%.