Of course, Germany is well known for its favorite beverage beer. Drinking it is common and important, but thus it can also lead to some unpleasant moments when you don’t know how to handle the thousands of years of drinking culture. Let’s face the most important rules.
Drinking in Public
Unlike in many other countries, drinking alcohol and especially beer in public is not only legal but very common in Germany. The so-called Feierabendbier (end of work beer) is still a vivid part of the German beer and working culture. That’s why you can easily see workers with a can or a bottle of beer in their hand walking home or riding the bus and nobody will probably care. But beware: in some public trains or buses, drinking alcohol is prohibited, so just watch out for signs. Especially in summer, it is also widespread to have a beer outside at the lake, in the park or at the beach. You don’t need to cover your bottle – just show it with pride.
Anstoßen (toasting) with Beer
Toasting is crucial in Germany, especially when you have some beers with your friends. Germans tend to toast a lot and in many different situations. They toast when they get a new round of drinks, they toast when someone just said something important and they toast just without any reason. If you don’t want to attract attention, you should just follow some simple rules: You should always try to bump your glass to those of every single of your drinking mates, but sometimes it is just good enough to knock them all together. If your mate is too far away, it’s also allowed to just raise your glass and nod your head slightly. Don’t bump too harsh because your drink could splinter. Also, a very basic rule is to make eye-contact to whom you are toasting. If you don’t, you will have seven years of bad sex, according to a German drinking myth.
In Germany, it is legal to enjoy soft alcoholic drinks like beer and wine at the age of 16, whereas hard drinks like spirits and liqueurs are only allowed to adults over 18. So don’t wonder if you see some youngsters having a beer – it is probably legal.
Never drink Weizen/Weißbier out of a Bottle
This rule is sometimes also discussed in Germany, but most of the German beer drinkers (and especially in the south) will agree: It is absolutely sacrilegious to drink a Weizenbier (or Weißbeer or Hefeweizen – different words, same style) out of the bottle. You have to use a special, high glass, narrow at the bottom and wide at the top. An alternative can be a mug. There is a reason besides the good, old tradition: It just tastes better. Because of the yeast you use for this type of beer, you have to pour it to spread this yeast in the beverage. But better practice a bit because pouring a Weizen is not easy and must be done with the right technique.