Adjusting to life in Germany was difficult at first. I was excited, but honestly felt a bit overwhelmed by the rules and the differences in culture. However, the longer I live here the more I enjoy the nuances of the culture and even appreciate the rules. Moving here has opened my eyes to new experiences and ways of doing things; ultimately motivating me to evaluate and question ideas that I once thought of as the ‘norm.’
While there are still some challenges associated with living here, alcohol is an aspect that makes living in Germany so great.
Yes, alcohol. Germany is awesome when it comes to alcohol in many areas including; the legal drinking age, quality and variety and of course the beer and wine festivals.
The German drinking age is 16. While it doesn’t directly impact me, I think it makes more sense than the U.S. drinking age of 21.
It is so strange that in America at age 18, you are deemed responsible enough to vote for the leaders of our country and can join/be drafted to serve in the military, but you are not deemed responsible enough to legally drink.
I know this is an old debate, but here is what I’ve observed in Germany.
The most important benefit is that the 16-year-olds are being supervised as they drink. They are learning their limitations in a more controlled, safe environment.
In the U.S., teenagers are still drinking, but are trying to hide it for fear of getting in trouble instead of having open communication. However, if they are among the few waiting to drink until they move out of their parents’ house (18) or are of legal age (21), that puts them in college…unsupervised, not knowing their limitations and making mistakes.
In contrast, my German neighbor’s 16-year-old son has his friends over on the weekends and they have a few beers sitting around a table in the back garden or in the courtyard.
He does sometimes have the occasional party in the large space over the wood barn. Yes, he and his friends get loud and sing American songs (love it) at the top of their voices and jump on the trampoline (safety nets) with a strong buzz going. My favorites of their renditions are “Sweet Caroline” and “Gangsta’s Paradise.” Now that’s entertainment. I digress.
While they have fun, they never seem to get out of control. There is a level of supervision because his parents and the parents of the other village teenagers are nearby.
I feel like I should also mention that my neighbor has a 15-year-old son and he is very strict about the 15-year-old not drinking until he turns 16.
The Germans have a strict drinking and driving law.
Quality and Variety
Germany is a beer lovers dream. I am not a beer connoisseur. I just know I like German beer. There is a large variety of tasty options and because I live in Germany, the price is affordable and the beer is easily accessible. To learn specifics about each brew category, I recommend reading The KegWorks Field Guide to German Beer Styles. It does an excellent job of explaining the different characteristics of each type and best times of the year to drink a specific beer.
Each region has its own local brew and My husband and I have noticed as we’ve traveled from region to region that pubs advertise the local brew on the outside of their buildings. This is great because it designates a pub and it lets you know that you’ve entered a new beer zone – get those tastebuds ready. My husband and I enjoy sampling the local beers as we travel around Germany. Plus, beer and German food pair together exceptionally well.
- Side note: Germany’s neighbors have delicious beer as well. Belgium beer is a favorite of mine.
- Tip: Always choose beer in Prague because it is less expensive to order a beer with your dinner than it is to order water…and Czech beer is tasty.
Germany has several different regions and varieties of wine, but my favorite is the Riesling trocken (dry) produced in Germany’s Rhine Valley. Riesling is the most popular wine in Germany and makes up more than 20% of all wine grown in the country. I find the Riesling in the U.S. to be too sweet, but here there are great dry options.
To learn more about Germany’s other varieties of wine, I recommend reading The Best German Wines you Need to Try at least Once by Culture Trip.
I will have a separate more detailed post regarding German festivals in the upcoming weeks, but for now just know that in the Fall (Herbst) there are many beer and wine festivals throughout the country to celebrate the harvest.