Hamburg - German Craft Beer
The Hanseatic City of Hamburg was once considered the brewery of the Hanseatic League. Countless breweries were located in the city and the beer of the North Germans was an export hit all over the world. Now, finally, after many, many years of drought, there are again plenty of breweries in Hamburg.
Upswing and fall of the Hamburg brewing history
While in the south of Germany at the beginning of the beer history the monasteries were the center of brewing and beer, in the north - or at least north of Bavaria - brewing was done in communities and guilds organized in the cities. Accordingly, regulations for achieving quality and financial statutes were decided and adopted in the mergers.
One of the largest mergers in Northern Europe was the Hanseatic League. The association was aimed at transporting goods from the individual countries or Hanseatic cities to other Hanseatic cities. To secure and protect them together on the way. Thus a huge network of strong partners was formed, which contributed the foundation for the wealth and prosperity of many European cities.
One of Hamburg's most important export goods was beer. In the innumerable breweries a lot of beer was brewed and also beer from other cities in Northern Germany was loaded on ships and transported to other cities. The taxes and revenues from the trade of the liquid gold literally flowed directly into the hands of many participants. The Hanseatic City of Hamburg gained in fame and wealth.
For many years, Hamburg was the number 1 transshipment center in Europe when it came to beer. Hamburg was famous for its Weißbier, which is said to have been invented here rather than in Bavaria. Certainly, the beer differed from today's wheat beers or Hefeweizen. Only more wheat was used in brewing. However, the name had little to do with the color. At that time, light malt could not yet be produced. Also, the taste was certainly slightly smoky and sour, since even an isolated and controlled fermentation with clean yeast strands was not yet invented at that time and was possible.
A break in the boom came with the great wars in the course of German history. First of all, the 30-year war was certainly a turning point. Destruction, suffering and epidemics not only took away people, but also trade and industry. So the beer production was influenced and in Hamburg some breweries were destroyed and equipment like brew kettles and tanks were converted into ammunition and weapons or simply stolen as loot.
The destruction continued especially during the 2nd world war at the beginning of the 20th century. Bombing raids destroyed a large part of the city. However, at that time there were not as many breweries as a few hundred years before. Even the industrialization a few decades earlier did not really help Hamburg to a great upswing. Rather, it laid the foundation for commercialization and - further thought even globalization.
The demise of breweries throughout Germany took its course from the 1950s onwards. Small breweries had to close, large breweries bought up small businesses. From the 80s and 90s on, international beer companies started to buy up the big breweries as well. So at the beginning of the 21st century there were actually no independent small breweries in Hamburg any more. The large Holsten brewery became part of Carlsberg, and Astra from St. Pauli was also part of it.
Craft Beer in Hamburg
In 2012 finally it was time again for a few courageous people to start brewing their own beer in Hamburg and even start a brewery. The first were Kehrwieder Kreativbrauerei and Buddelship Brauerei. Followed by Landgang Brauerei, Wildwuchs and Überquell. All breweries are inspired and influenced by the Craft Beer movement that spilled over from the USA to Europe. Especially IPAs and Pale Ales were brewed, as this beer style was not yet well known in this country and best illustrates the novel taste and thought behind the Craft Beer movement.
The lively hobby brewery scene in the Hanseatic City of Hamburg also contributed to the steady growth in the number of small breweries. In addition to Simian Ales, Circle 8 Brewery, Malto Brewpub and Wittorfer Brauerei, who come from Hamburg or the surrounding area, brew good to great beer.
It is clear that Hamburg, along with Berlin, is one of the most important beer locations for craft beer in Germany. The creative scene is constantly reinventing itself, new bars and stores are opening and new concepts are emerging. Exciting!