Happy Quincentennial, Reinheitsgebot
April 23, 2016 is the 500th anniversary of the Reinheitsgebot Beer Purity Law of Bavaria. Many consider this the start of “beer purity” laws and the birth of Germany (then Bavaria) as the place best known for the quality of its beer.
But I say, “Not so fast!”
In doing a little background check, (Wikipedia, thank you very much), I discovered there are many older beer laws on the books, some dating back to 974 in nowadays Belgium. So there’s that.
And then there’s also the fact that the Reinheitsgebot is more about the price of beer and grain restrictions than about the quality of beer. See, at the time, some brewers were using wheat and rye, but these grains were needed for bread bakers and thus restricted from use in brewing beer.
Don’t get me wrong, the Reinheitsgebot will always have a very important place in beer-making history. Just don’t take it as the Holy Grail of beer purity it’s been made out to be.
Take care and drink wisely,