- Rhineland Bitterbier. These are the classic Obergäriger Lagerbiers. Beers that have a top-fermenting primary fermentation followed by a long period of lagering at 0-2º C. I've sort of made the term Rhineland Bitterbier name up. It's not that important. I just wanted a general name to cover these two types:
a. Düsseldorf Altbier
- Bavarian Weizen. Brewed with a specific type of yeast that produces spicy flavours.
- Sour beers. These fall into two groups:
a. Lightly-hopped beers which sour during primary fermentation: Berliner Weisse, Leipziger Gose.
b. Heavily-hopped beers which sour during secondary fermentation: Münster Altbier and Lichtenhainer. There is only a single example of each still brewed.
- Grätzer. Smoked wheat beer not brewed with a Bavarian wheat beer yeast. I'm still hoping this will be revived.
- Süßbier and Einfachbier. Sweet, malty, low-alcohol beers. Once all such beers were top-fermented. Many are now bottom-fermented. I suspect very few top-fermenting examples still exist.
Comments are welcome. (Unless you're one of the Homebrew Twats, in which case you can f*ck off.) I know at least one beer that doesn't fall into any of these categories: Dampfbier. It isn't a wheat beer, isn't sour and isn't lagered. Maybe it needs its own category.
What strikes me looking at this list is how under threat most types are. Only Bavarian Weizen is flourishing. Even Kölsch and Düsseldorf Alt have been hit by falling sales over the last decade and the number of breweries producing them seriously pared down. The remainder are hanging on by a thread or, as in the case of Grätzer, extinct.
Note: this list has been compiled without reference to homebrewing books (no Eric Warner) nor other authorities such as the Brewers' Association and the German Beer Institute.