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Agriculture and rural development

Münchener Bier PGI

The protected geographical indication (PGI) ensures that at least one of the stages of production, processing or preparation takes place in the region.

Origins

Many people have heard of the ‘Reinheitsgebot’ or beer purity law, which traditionally limits the ingredients of German beer to just barley, water and yeast. However, did you know that Munich’s own regulations were passed in 1487, 29 years before the Bavaria wide code which would go on to become the German standard?

This commitment to high quality beer has been closely linked to the city's identity throughout its history and once even threatened to cause a revolution. In 1844, a rise in the rate of tax on beer was so widely and violently opposed that there were fears that the monarchy may be overthrown. The global reputation of Munich beer is now so strong that over six million visitors make the journey to Munich's ‘Oktoberfest’ every year in order to sample the world-famous beer.

Munich beer comes in a number of varieties, from golden ‘Helles’ right through to dark ‘Doppelbocks’, each with their own unique flavours but when you buy a Münchener beer you will be drinking a beer whose reputation for quality has been built over 500 years.

"Marienplatz" by Ashwin Chandrasekaran licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0
"Marienplatz" by Ashwin Chandrasekaran licenced under CC BY-SA 2.0

Production

Every excellent beer must start with good water and the water used by Munich's breweries comes directly from their own deep wells in the city. This water is drawn through layers of slate which were formed millions of years ago and directly link Münchener beer to the city itself.

This water is then mixed with coarsely ground malted cereal and the resulting ‘mash’ is constantly stirred whilst being heated to different temperature levels. This activates enzymes in the malt, making its components readily soluble.

After being ‘lautered’, when the wort is filtered or insoluble materials are settled out, the hops are added and the mixture is boiled for around 1-2 hours. This breaks down the hop flavours and constituents, removing proteins that would be detrimental to the durability and taste of the ‘Münchener Bier PGI’.

After the solid constituents still present in the wort have been separated from the liquid, the wort (which is still hot) is cooled and taken to the fermentation vessels, where yeast is carefully added. All the yeast cultures used in Munich beer derive from a single yeast cell so that they all possess identical qualities. The addition of the yeast triggers fermentation that lasts between 4 and 8 days. The yeast converts the dissolved malt sugar into around a third alcohol and around a third carbon dioxide. The other rest is the unfermented malt, which will determine the beers flavour and characteristics.

Once the first phase of fermentation is complete, the remaining yeast is removed and the beer is placed into tanks. This begins the secondary fermentation phase where the beer gradually matures and becomes enriched with naturally produced carbon dioxide. After 4-11 weeks, the beer has reached its full flavour and is ready to be bottled or placed in kegs.

More information

Münchener Bier PGI – legal specifications

Protected geographical indication

Geographical indications food and drink