NEW ORLEANS
French Quarter

Celebrating Tradition

Posted on: April 7, 2016 | Posted in: News

 

A Tradition Continues

New Orleans’ oldest operating brewery, Crescent City Brewhouse, proudly holds true to the beer industry’s longest running law, Das Reinheitsgebot.  Crescent City Brewhouse (CCB) is celebrating it’s 25th year anniversary alongside the 500th year anniversary of the German purity law.  CCB is continuing traditional brewing techniques that have been passed down through generations in a time when the old ways of brewing are becoming increasingly rare during this exciting renaissance of craft beer.  

CCB began brewing premium quality lagers and ales for French Quarter locals and tourists when neighborhood breweries and microbrewery taprooms were nonexistent with massive industrialization of the brewing industry.  CCB passionately adhered to the Reinheitsgebot when other breweries utilized cheap and flavorless adjuncts (such as sugar, rice, and corn).  The world-class beers were brewed via modern adaptations of traditional brewing techniques in small quantities according to the Bavarian Purity Law of 1516 from four natural ingredients: water, malt, hops and yeast.  Guests will be pleased that the German heritage known for fine beer making is continued at Crescent City Brewhouse.

Purity Law Primer
The purity law remains one of the oldest and longest running food quality laws worldwide.  The law is most famous for its line “We wish especially that, henceforth and everywhere, in our towns, markets, and in the countryside, shall be employed and used onto no beer more pieces than alone barley, hops, and water.”  The remaining words of the document related to regulatory measures, price control, and penalties for transgression. 1

The Reinheitsgebot was decreed by Bavarian co-rulers Duke Wilhelm IV and Duke Ludwig X on April 23, 1516.  The law prevented the use of wheat and rye in the brewing process so that those ingredients would be dedicated to the production of bread2 and mandated the other respective ingredients of the brewing process.  This regulatory and purity law initially applied to Bavaria only but was gradually adopted by the northern German states.  The Reinheitsgebot was merged into the laws governing beer brewing in all of Germany in 1906.  Other amendments included yeast as an acceptable ingredient along with malted grain. 3,4  Over generations, the law has transformed itself over time to represent rigorous German quality control and a world renowned tradition of brewing techniques.  

The true significance of the modernization of the Reinheitsgebot is that beer brewed in the traditional technique is all natural.   This is something Crescent City Brewhouse holds in the highest regard.  The beer brewed will not contain any chemicals or stabilizers nor will it contain inferior, cheap, and flavorless adjuncts (such as sugar, rice, and corn).   All beers will strictly be brewed with only malted grain, hops, yeasts, and water.   Our brewing techniques go even further with dedication to natural ingredients by fermenting under pressure.  This allows collection of naturally formed carbon dioxide during fermentation that is contained to carbonate all beers at the brewhouse.

Today, of course, most domestic (German) brewers are proud of the ancient purity law for beer and even want to have it protected as world cultural heritage. The German Brewers Federation has submitted a corresponding application to UNESCO. The decision will be made in 2016, in time for the 500th anniversary of the purity law. 4


References

  1. Dornbusch, H. (2016) Reevaluating the Reinheitsgebot: Still Relevant 500 Years Later?  The New Brewer (March/April 2016).  Brewers Association.

  2. NPR (2013) sourced from http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2013/12/17/251959392/is-a-500-year-old-german-beer-law-heritage-worth-honoring

  3. German Beer Institute (2008) sourced from http://www.germanbeerinstitute.com/beginners.html  

  4. Deutschland Alumni Portal (2016) sourced from https://www.alumniportal-deutschland.org/en/germany/eating-drinking/article/german-beer-purity-law.html