The German Who Didn’t Like Beer

After living in Asia for nearly three years, I had gotten used to the fact that I would never fit in. No matter how I dressed or how many cute accessories I piled onto my cellphone, I would always be a gaijin (外人), a gweilo (鬼佬), a foreigner.

Even as my travels moved me westward, I still couldn’t pass for a local–The Brits were quick know I was from the US and the Parisians immediately stuck their noses up when I scrambled to use my broken French with them.

All of that changed however, when we arrived in Germany.

Suddenly, people looked similar to us.
Suddenly, people would start using German with us, which left me stammering awkwardly as I don’t actually know any German.
And suddenly, people would come up asking me for directions and to find out where something was located.

Now, my mother’s side is 100% German, but I just never realized how German I was, until going to Germany.

Spending time on tours and with locals, they’d joke about typical German personalities being a little OCD, orderly, and always on time. Oh shit– that’s me, was all I could think with every next joke made. Everything about Germany’s lifestyle, people and culture just resonated with me. I finally found a country where I felt like I fit in, where I felt at home.

Except for one thing…

I hate beer.

Munich - July 2014

That’s right, I said it: I hate beer. I can hold my own with any other type of alcohol, but there’s something about beer that I just can’t stand, no matter how much I try to condition myself to it.

So can I really call myself a German when I hate beer??

Beer seems to play such an integral part of life in German, especially in Munich. Every story, every famous building, seemed to somehow tie back to beer. Walking around at 10am, we already saw people enjoying their morning brew in the park, and I’m not talking about coffee.

Munich - July 2014

Everyone seemed so excited to get out and try some of Munich’s famous beers, except for me. Upon admitting I didn’t like beer I was met with blank stares, followed by lots of questioning and recommendations.

Everyone was assuring me that once I tried the beer there I’d love it, as what I had been drinking in the US was simply put– “not beer”.

Sitting down at my first pub in Munich, I looked around. Every person had the same logo glass of beer in hand, so I figured it had to be good if everyone was drinking it.

I ordered myself a tall glass and taking a big sip… blehk. I could barely get the sip down. It was crisp, it was bitter, it was, everything I hate about beer. I continued to sit there, nursing that beer for almost two hours through dinner, and in the end I only managed to down one-fourth the glass.

I called defeat and went home, leaving the rest at the table.

The next day on tour, I was given even more recommendations. They, again, assured me that maybe I just needed a different taste. So that night I found the fruitiest, sweetest beer I could find.

It was, a little more tolerable, but I still only got through half the glass. Better than the previous night’s conquest I suppose.

But I was still standing by my original statement– I hate beer.

Our plans for the next day involved going to some of Munich’s most famous beer halls. More than anything, I wanted a photo with one of those ridiculous steins, but could I really justify paying nearly $10 just to get a picture since I knew I wouldn’t even be drinking the beer inside?

Munich - July 2014

Flipping through the pages of their massive beer menu, something caught my eye– Ruß’n. A fruity white beer with lemonade. Fruity? Yes, please. Lemonade? I love lemonade!

So I placed my order and waited for the giant stein to be placed in front of me, and when it finally was, I must say, it was a bit intimidating.

Lifting up the stein, I could barely get it to my mouth. I have no idea how those beer maids run back and forth, often with three or more steins in hand. I’d always seen photos of steins, but they just don’t do them justice. Thinking about consuming a near liter of beer, especially when you hate beer, was actually kind of nauseating.

Getting thirsty from too much red cabbage and sauerkraut, I finally took a sip. It was… surprisingly, not bad! For once it actually tasted sweet and fruity, with just the slightest hint of beer. I continued conversing with the family we shared the table with, eating my meal, sipping away, and before I knew it, I had finished the stein. And in record time.

Munich - July 2014  Munich - July 2014

I couldn’t believe I found a beer I liked. The next night I went out and ordered another one, again, finishing it no problem. Can I finally say I like beer?

Ehhh, maybe not.

While I still don’t like most beers I’ve tried since then, it’s a start at least! Maybe it’s a good thing that I have yet to find another beer I enjoy outside of Munich, as it just gives me more reason to return. Watch out Oktoberfest, next year, I’m coming for you. ;)

Maybe I’m not such a bad German after all…

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Think you know a beer no one can dislike? Do you have recommendations for me? Leave them in the comments below!

24 Comments

  • Momo says:

    I’m German and I wholeheartedly dislike beer, alcohol in general actually. And I happen to know a few other Germans who feel the same, so I guess we’re rare, but not unheard of. :-)

  • zoomingjapan says:

    Haha, don’t worry. I’m German and I don’t like beer, either. ;)

    But I know exactly how you feel. Maybe you can see now why I was surprised all the more how different it is here in Asia. In Germany we have such a cultural diversity nowadays, that we just assume that each and every person is German – which I think is a much nicer approach.

    Glad you seemed to like your stay in my former home country. :)

    • Beth Williams says:

      Glad to know there’s more people out there like me!

      I absolutely loved Germany and can’t wait to go back. It was certainly the place that felt most like ‘home’ to me (in Europe at least). I hope you get a chance to visit home soon! :)

  • rebecca says:

    you certainly get points for trying!

  • I’m really not a huge fan of beer either, but I think if I went to Germany I would totally do what you did and try stuff anyway. You have to, right? :)

    My family’s also German so I really feel like I’d fit in over there, although I’ve never been. It’s on my list though!

    • Beth Williams says:

      Exactly! When in Munich right?

      I feel like I barely got to explore Germany, so I’d love to go back for longer … maybe even to study German. Do you know what region your family is from? Definitely give it a visit!

  • Enjoyed reading your post, very funny and well written. I went to Germany for the first time this summer and spent some time in Munich. Looking forward to returning some day!

  • Ohmygod, if you go to Oktoberfest, I want to come too, I’ve already been once BUT IT’S AMAZING (even if you don’t like beer that much, I promise)! Plus beer with lemonade good stuff. The stein’s are wicked awesome, put your hand through the handle and hold the glass with your hand resting the handle between your index finger and thumb, it’s the easiest way :)

    • Beth Williams says:

      #Jealous!! I really want to go to Oktoberfest! I know you have to book a tent really far in advanced though, right? Totally going to try to go next year… we should get a group of bloggers together! #Blogtoberfest ;)

  • Amanda says:

    Oh how I feel your pain! I actually hate the taste of alcohol in general, so I very rarely drink at all.

    In Munich, though, I also wanted a photo with a beer stein. So I asked if I could get water in one. Haha. Yes, I looked silly, but I wasn’t about to force myself to down a beer just to get a photo! ;)

    • Beth Williams says:

      Totally understand! I hate anything that tastes like alcohol, so if I ever go out for drinks I get things like Sex on the Beach where I can’t taste any alcohol, haha.

      I wish I liked beer since I love collecting beer logo glasses… but I’ve come to accept that I don’t mind giving the beer to someone else to drink or having to pour the remainder down the drain. :)

      I still want to make it out to Oktoberfest though, just for the experience!

  • It is funny that I only ever acquired a taste for beer after living in Asia (those Koreans LOVE beer). Ever since then I drink it quite often, however German beer and my stomach did not get along so well. I did however find a great beer in Austria. What did you think of the beer there? Did you try it?

    • Beth Williams says:

      I was surprised I didn’t pick up a taste for beer living in Japan! They’re just as bad as Koreans when it comes to drinking :)
      I didn’t try any in Austria though, next time! I’ve also heard good things about the beer in Belgium, did you try any there?

  • Haha, ok so you were in this Munich beer house even though you don’t LIKE beer and I was in there even though I don’t DRINK beer! :-D Wrote a post just a few months ago about my experience in there as a teetotaler, though I have to stay, I really rather enjoyed the atmosphere regardless! http://whywasteannualleave.com/2014/03/15/munich-beer-house-hofbrauhaus-germany/

  • Don’t forget that Munich doesn’t equal Germany. There’s so much more to the country than just Bavaria ;) And I hate beer too even though I’m German so that’s perfectly fine! :D

    • Beth Williams says:

      Oh I know! We went to other parts as well.
      Glad to know I’m not the only German who hates beer though! Welcome to the club :D

  • Rebekah says:

    haha, that’s so funny. I LOVE beer, like really good craft beer but I have a new coworker who doesn’t like beer and I feel bad because we all keep being like “really? Really? you don’t like beer?” It must be rough but if you don’t like it then what can you do? I hate vodka and in college that always confused people.

    • Beth Williams says:

      Hmm, I have yet to try craft beers! Maybe though would be better for me.
      I can see how hating vodka in college would confuse some people!

  • AHHHH I hate beer, too! But I’m only like 1/8 German, so I think I can get away with it :P You’ve given me some hope, though!

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