Don’t Underestimate German Beer

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Angelina Manby
  • 86th Airlift Wing safety office
One of the many joys of living in Germany is the opportunity to sample a variety of German beer.  Those that are connoisseurs have probably had  wheat beers such as the "Weizenbier" or "Hefeweizen," pale beers, "Altbier" or "Pilsener," or dark beers, "Bock" or "Dunkles."  But what many Americans may or may not know is the alcohol content of the German made beers can be a lot higher than the typical American-made beer.  Pay special attention to the Bockbiers which can have up to 16 percent alcohol content compared to the typical 5 percent Alcohol By Volume (ABV) in other beers. 

Not only do you have to pay attention to the alcohol content but also to the serving size of the beer container.  A German serving of beer is different from a serving of beer in the United States.  The typical glass of beer in Germany is between half of a liter (17 fluid ounces) and a liter (33 fluid ounces).  The typical beer serving size in the United States is between 12 fluid ounces (.35 of a liter) and 16 ounces (.47 of a liter).   If you're not careful, a German beer can sneak up on you.  Keep in mind a 180 pound male who drinks a liter of German beer, or three US domestic beers, can have an approximate Blood Alcohol Content (BAC) of .06 in one hour.  The legal limit in Germany is .05 BAC compared to the .08 BAC in the United States.

Being aware of how much alcohol consumed while out on the town can be a task of its own.  The excitement of enjoying tasty German beers can cloud judgement. 

Unfortunately, poor judgement many times leads to driving under the influence.  In the KMC, there was an average of 176 DUI cases last year which is equal to more than three cases every week.   These driving under the influence cases were only in the Kaiserslautern area. 

To continue to fully enjoy the German beer experience, it is always a good idea to pre-plan.  A few ways to avoid drinking and driving is to always have a plan before going out. This means having a friend who isn't drinking be the designated driver, asking ahead of time to stay over at a friend's house and carrying extra cash for public transportation, to name a few options.  There is Airmen Against Drunken Driving\, which is run by volunteers who will pick up service members and their family members then drop them off at home in case their original plans fail.  The AADD phone number is available via the Ramstein smart phone app.