German Beer Vocabulary: How To Order A Beer In German

  • Stephanie Ford
    Written byStephanie Ford
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German Beer Vocabulary: How To Order A Beer In German

Beer is one of the most important topics to a German. 🍺

Everyone you speak to will have an opinion on it - usually a positive one.

While you may be experiencing difficulties with the language, learning German is easier than you think. And this goes for ordering beer too.

All it takes is a few simple words and phrases and you’ll be ordering like a German in no time.

For all your beer needs, including how to order a beer, what types of beer there are, and beer-related vocab, stay right here.

How to order a beer like a German

If you just know the words for ‘beer’ and ‘please’ (Bier, bitte), you might think this is enough to get you a drink.

Wrong. For one, it’s a little blunt to ask for something like this. Germans expect a decent level of courtesy, especially when talking to people you don’t know.

What’s more, simply saying ‘beer please’ is such an ambiguous request.

What kind of beer? How many beers?

There’s an endless supply of beers in Germany that cover pretty much everything you can think of, so you have to be specific.

Before I teach you about the various types of beer in German, however, you’ll first have to learn how to ask for one.

Saying ‘I would like…’ in German

The phrase ‘I would like’ is super important when ordering anything, in any language.

It’s a polite way of requesting something, rather than simply shouting the drink you want at the bartender.

Like in many languages, there are a number of ways you can express this phrase in German. Check out a few of these variations in the table below.

English German
I’d like… Ich möchte…
I’d like to have… Ich hätte gern…
For me, a… Für mich, ein/eine/einen…

Use these to strike up a conversation with a waiter or bartender when you’d like a beer.

While these are the standard ways of starting an order, there may be other phrases you could say, depending on context.

If you’re ordering just after a friend, you could say Noch ein Bier, bitte!

This translates as ‘another beer, please!’ and is how native Germans would order.

Once you’ve got these phrases down, your next job is to order your beer. But how do you know what type of beer you’d like?

Read on to discover all the different types of beer in Germany!

Different types of beer in Germany

Germany and other German-speaking countries are crazy about their beer!

They brew some of the best beer in the world and celebrate the beverage with the biggest beer festivals in the world!

Oktoberfest is held every year throughout Germany, but the event in Munich boasts the single largest beer consumption per person in the world.

With all this beer cheer, Germany has a huge selection of beer. For most people, this can be daunting when you go to order one without knowing what brands or types there are available.

The table below details the various types of beer that you may find in bars and pubs around Germany.

After that, I’ll teach you some adjectives you can use to describe them.

English German
beer das Bier
lager das Lager
dark beer dunkles Bier
wheat beer das Weißbier
light beer helles Bier
stout das Starkbier
porter das Porter
ale das Ale
pilsner das Pilsner
sour beer das Sauerbier
beer on draft das Fassbier
IPA (India Pale Ale) das IPA
shandy das Biermischgetränk

While you may not be familiar with the brands available, you can use these words to ask for a specific type of beer.

The bartender or waiter will then likely recommend a brand to you that matches your description.

But what if you want to be even more specific than just ‘a wheat beer’?

If you’re after something with a specific Geschmack (‘flavor’), you’ll need to know how to describe your ideal beverage.

The table below details a bunch of adjectives you can use when ordering your beer.

English German
large groß
small klein
cold kalt
foamy schaumig
strong stark
bitter bitter
fruity fruchtig
delicious lecker
light hell
hoppy hopfig
caramelly karamellig
malty malzig
acidic säuerlich

Keep in mind that these adjectives need to agree with the noun if you’re including one in your sentence.

Most alcoholic drinks in German are masculine, but Bier is neuter - an exception to the rule.

This means that any type of beer will also be neuter. You should therefore stick to the correct adjective declension for neuter nouns.

How to say ‘cheers’ in German

Perhaps the most important part of drinking beer is the expression of friendship and comradery that comes with it.

Therefore, it’s crucial you learn how to say ‘cheers’ in German.

Luckily, it’s very simple and easy to remember.

Prost!

That’s all. Just a simple word, like in English.

If you take one word away from this article, let it be Prost!

Even if you’re having a hard time being understood by Germans around you, a simple Prost! is enough to invoke warm sentiments of joy and harmony with your fellow beer-drinkers.

More useful German beer vocabulary

There are plenty more things to learn when it comes to beer in German. The Germans do love their beer, after all.

The table below contains a whole bunch of words and phrases that you can use in beer-related situations. You might be ordering a beer, drinking at a friend’s house, or drunk on a night out.

However you choose to drink your beer, you might find yourself needing one of these words or phrases at some point or another!

English German
A ‘roadie’ / ‘one for the road’ das Wegbier
Where are the toilets? Wo ist die Toilette?
I need a taxi. Ich benötige ein Taxi.
drunk betrunken / blau / besoffen
I need a beer! Ich brauche ein Bier!
tip das Trinkgeld
tipsy beschwipst
a litre (typical German measurement) ein Maß

Put your beer knowledge to the test

Enjoying a beer with your friends is a great way to practice the vocab you’ve just learned.

Even if you’re not in Germany, there are many German beers that are exported across the globe, so why not pick one up from your local shop to try?

Having a beer in Germany is common, especially after work. This is called a Feierabendbier and is ideal for winding down the day after a long workday.

Put your newfound German beer knowledge to the test and have a go at ordering your first beer entirely in German.

Prost!

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Donovan Nagel
Donovan Nagel - B. Th, MA AppLing
I'm an Applied Linguistics graduate, teacher and translator with a passion for language learning (especially Arabic).
Currently learning: Greek
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