What is Reinheitsgebot?

Reinheitsgebot, pronounced ryn-hyts-ga-boat, is Germany’s world famous “purity law”.  This came about in the 1400’s, in Bavaria, and after it was put into law in 1516 was originally used to reduce the usage of chemicals or additives to beer and to reduce competition with bakers for wheat and rye.

According to the law, it was illegal to use anything in beer except water, barley, and hops (yeast was added to the list after Louis Pasteur determined that yeast was responsible for fermentation).  Because of this law, many popular beer styles arose, including doppelbocks.

According to the law, the bearer of questionable beer would have the kegs confiscated without compensation.

Some of the adjuncts that would be illegal according to the purity law would be sugar, rice, corn, fruit, and even wheat, although the law was expanded in 1993 to allow wheat and sugar additives.

What do you think?  Should reinheitsgebot be followed, or do you like your wheat and/or fruit beers?

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