Anyone care to guess what Germany’s number one draught beer is? Let’s see, I heard Beck’s…wrong. No, Lowenbrau’s not it either. Heineken is Dutch, so that’s wrong. Okay, okay stop yelling at the computer, I’ll tell you…it’s Bitburger!
So you probably guessed that by the title of this post, but have you ever had one? Bitburger is a traditional German pilsner whose brewery is located in the town of Bitburg. Initially opened in 1817, the Bitburger brewery brewed ales due to the lack of refrigeration (cold is required for lager brewing).
Once technology advanced far enough to cold-ferment beer (say around 1883), Bitburger began to brew the pilsner (or pils…those Germans are so efficient that they have no time to say the ‘ner’). This is the very same pils that is brewed today. A 128 year run ain’t too bad.
There was a rough patch for the brewery and the town when much of it was destroyed in 1944. I’m not sure what exactly happened in Germany in ’44 (I’m not really a history guy), so it’s tough to say what the problem was (sarcasm alert!). The brewery got right back on its feet though, brewing again by August of 1945.
The well known slogan for Bitburger is “Bitte ein Bit,” which means “A Bit please” (It sounds more German if you scream it). You can even see it written on the bottle, which it has been since 1951.
I am a sucker for a good German Lager, so you can imagine where I’m going with this. My only complaint is the color; I find it kind of unappetizing. It’s a very light-colored (and therefore, deceiving) beer, but the color is a little to yellow for me. It looks like Bud Light, which should never, ever be the goal.
There is almost no odor (also deceiving), but the flavor is the bees knees (whoa, I just channeled 1951). It has a sharp, bitter (in a good way) bite as soon as it hits your tongue, with the hops jumping on as you swallow (must…resist…joke). It is a very deeply flavored beer and one of the best pilsners in the world. If you haven’t, I strongly suggest you try it sometime.
Of course one of the places that you can’t try it is in Walt Disney World. It would be a great addition to the Germany pavilion because I don’t feel like the beer there fully represents such a storied brewing tradition, but I am not in charge…yet.