If the pronunciation section of our vocabulary lists which says “IPA” (International Phonetic Alphabet), always makes you dream of Indian Pale Ale instead, you’re clearly all about that beer. This article is for you!
As a German-learner, you won’t get around learning about German beer culture as it’s an integral part of German culture in general. If you’re visiting a German-speaking country and want to fully immerse yourself in it, it’s a good idea to at least try a local beer. You won’t have to look very far as you’ll soon notice that in Germany basically every occasion can be a reason to drink beer:
- The end of each work day: It’s very common to drink a beer after work, which is commonly known as Feierabendbier (End of the work day beer).
- On the go: There also is a German expression for a beer you drink on the go – Wegbier (Road beer). It can be consumed while walking home, to a friend’s place or wherever else. It doesn’t matter where you go, as long as you have your beer handy!
- Summer: Beer can definitely be enjoyed through all four seasons but summer is the most popular one. In summer, you’re most likely to see Germans with beer bottles in parks, on festivals and in the streets.
- Your 16th birthday: Yes, in Germany it’s perfectly legal to start drinking beer at 16! Germans often celebrate this like Americans celebrate their 21st birthday.
- Oktoberfest: The South of Germany often takes Oktoberfest as an excuse to drink beer all day every day and Americans love to join in on the fun.
How to say beer in German
Beer in German is “das Bier” and the plural is “die Biere”. There are so many different beers in Germany that it’s easy to get overwhelmed. It helps to know which kind of beer you already like and then find a German one that’s similar.
When in doubt, you can always drink what the locals are having. Most of them are very proud of their regional beers and some cities have actual rivalries about whose beer is better.
Types of beer you can order in German
We’ll teach you all the different kinds: Light or dark, sour or sweet, draft beer or craft beer in German. Whatever you prefer, you’re guaranteed to find it in Germany. Here’s a list of how to say each beer in German, so you get exactly what you want.
|Dark beer||Dunkles Bier||[ˈdʊŋkləs biːɐ̯]|
|Light beer||Helles Bier||[ˈhɛləs biːɐ̯]|
|Wheat beer||Das Weißbier||[ˈvaɪ̯sˌbiːɐ̯]|
|Sour ale||Das Sauerbier||[ˈzaʊ̯ɐbiːɐ̯]|
|Root beer||Das Rootbeer||[ˈɹut biːɐ̯]|
|Cold beer||Kaltes Bier||[ˈkaltəs biːɐ̯]|
|Draft beer||Das Fassbier||[ˈfasˌbiːɐ̯]|
|Craft beer||Das Craft-Bier||[krɑːft biːɐ̯]|
|IPA (India pale ale)||Das IPA (India pale ale)||[ˌiːpeːˈʔaː]|
|Pale ale||Helles Ale-Bier||[ˈhɛləs ɛɪ̯l-biːɐ̯]|
|Low carb beer||Kohlenhydratarmes Bier||[ˈkoːlənhydʁaːtˌˈaʁməs biːɐ̯]|
|Malt beer||Das Malzbier||[ˈmaltsbiːɐ]|
|Non-alcoholic beer||Alkoholfreies Bier||[alkoˈhoːlˌfʁaɪ̯əs biːɐ̯]|
|Low-calorie beer||Das Light-Bier||[laɪt biːɐ̯]|
|Gluten-free beer||Glutenfreies Bier||[ɡluˈteːnˌfʁaɪ̯əs biːɐ̯]|
|Top-fermented dark beer||Das Altbier||[ˈaltˌbiːɐ̯]|
|Fruit beer||Das Fruchtbier||[fʁʊxt biːɐ̯]|
How to describe beer in German
If you’re a beer enthusiast, Germany will be heaven for you. There’s definitely a German beer for every taste from bitter dark beer to fruity banana beer!
|Delicious||Lecker; köstlich||[ˈlɛkɐ; ˈkœstlɪç]|
How to order a beer in German
If you’re meeting up with a date at a bar or a colleague for a fun little Feieerabendbier, it’s definitely useful to be able to say “I would like a beer” or “ I need a beer” in German. This is how a conversation in those situations could look like.
|Waiter||Can I get you anything?||Kann ich Ihnen etwas bringen?|
|Customer||I’m waiting for a friend but I would like a beer, please.||Ich warte auf eine Freundin, aber ich hätte gerne ein Bier, bitte.|
|Waiter||Sure, which beer would you like?||Sicher, welches Bier möchten Sie?|
|Customer||Can I get a light beer, not too bitter?||Kann ich ein helles Bier bekommen, nicht zu bitter?|
|Waiter||Absolutely, coming right up.||Natürlich, kommt sofort.|
|Friend (showing up)||Sorry I’m late!
(to waiter) Another beer, please!
|Tut mir leid, dass ich zu spät bin!
(to waiter) Noch ein Bier, bitte!
|Colleague1||How was work today?||Wie war die Arbeit heute?|
|Colleague2||I need a beer!||Ich brauche ein Bier!|
|Colleague1||That bad?||So schlimm?|
|Colleague2||No, it was alright. I just had a lot to do, so I deserve a little end of work beer.||Nein, war schon in Ordnung. Ich hatte bloß viel zu tun. Deshalb hab ich mir ein Feierabendbierchen verdient.|
|Colleague1||I’m in!||Bin dabei!|
How to say cheers in German and other important drinking words
Whether you’re at Oktoberfest or drinking beer (or any beverage really) at the pub with a German-speaking friend, you’ll need to know how to say cheers in German, plus a few other related drinking words that will most definitely come in handy when quenching your thirst.
An important one to note is “Prost!’, your German version of “Cheers!”, which you can use in all types of situations. And don’t forget your please and thank you in German when ordering a round.
|Another beer, please||Noch ein Bier, bitte||[nɔx aɪ̯n bi:ɐ̯ bɪtə]|
|Where’s the bathroom?||Wo ist die Toilette?||[vo: ɪst di: toˈlɛtə]|
|A liter (Typical measurement for one large beer)||Eine Maß||[ˈmaːs]|
German beer culture
As you might have guessed, there are some peculiarities about German beer culture. Learn all about the German purity law that makes German beer so special, beer spas, and a number of weird German mixed beer drinks. Also take a look at how Germans open a bottle of beer with anything but a bottle opener!
Everything you need to know about German beer culture | DW English
Stay hydrated and keep practicing
Of course you can’t survive on only beer (although for some Oktoberfest visitors, it’s not for a lack of trying!) - so go ahead and check out our delicious guide on German drinks that includes a whole number of non-alcoholic alternatives!
The safest ones, especially if you’ve had one or two beers too many - is water or coffee to sober you up! Most of the time, a beer is a harmless way to loosen up though. It will get those German words flowing and ordering food and drinks in German as well as German small talk will become a lot easier. Just keep practicing and you’ll soon be surprised how good your German actually is!
Our German language blog will give some fun and easy topics to talk about - from flowers to flamingos!