The Marshall Plan. NATO. David Hasselhoff. Collaboration between Germany and the United States is not new. But rarely has it spilled over into the world of beer—the glue that, almost as much as the Bundesrat, holds Germany together. After all, what could German brewers possibly have to learn from their German brethren?
Over the summer, Atlantic beer writer Clay Risen taunted Berlin’s beer-drinking public—basically everybody—in his critique in der Tagesspiegel of German beer culture. (Disclosure: Risen’s a friend and trusted drinking pal of ours.) He argued that American beers are every bit as good…and, ahem, more innovative… than their German counterparts. This is not to say that they’re better; just different. Benign stuff, right? A simple acknowledgment of what’s been happening with American beer for several decades. Well, the Germans didn’t see it that way, and the article caused quite a fuss.
We’re happy to hear, then, that Weihenstephan, among the most storied of German breweries, has announced that it will brew a beer in collaboration with Samuel Adams. Talk about culture clash. Wiehenstephan markets itself as “the world’s oldest brewery” and is deeply committed to the German Rheinheitsgebot, which assures purity, but tends to limit experimentation. Samuel Adams, on the other hand, is a creature of the New World of beer that emphasizes innovation. Together, they plan to release a new brew in Spring 2010 that will, says the press release, shatter “preconceived notions of what can be done following the Rheinheitsgebot Law.” Expect something dry and crisp, like Champagne, that will clock in at 10 percent alcohol, but will be well within the bounds of German law… and therefore could expose many Germans to the possibilities of American craft beer.