Germany: Hops and Lagering

Appears in
On Food and Cooking

By Harold McGee

Published 2004

  • About
In the centuries following the fall of Rome, beer continued to be an important beverage in much of Europe. Monasteries brewed it for themselves and for nearby settlements. By the 9th century, alehouses had become common in England, with individual keepers brewing their own. Until 1200, the English government considered ale to be a food, and did not tax it.

It was in medieval Germany that two great innovations made beer largely what it is today: brewers preserved and flavored it with hops, and began to ferment it slowly in the cold to make mild-flavored lager.