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Beer: A Tour Through Germany's Best-Loved Brews

With Oktoberfest right around the corner, it seems only fitting that we offer visitors to Germany a few tips on things to see. Since you are there for Oktoberfest, we know the one thing you can't get enough of: Beer.

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So you want to take a beer tour through Germany....

It is a worthy task, attempted by many. Beware, this map may say only 17 hours, but it will take at least a week to sample all of Germany's best-loved hoppy delights.

Stop 1: Cologne

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The first stop on a beer tour through Germany is Cologne, where a golden Koelsch will get you primed and ready for what is to come. This light beer is the perfect way to ease in to German beer. It isn't overly hoppy and doesn't come with the thick foam head associated with Oktoberfest. Also, instead of coming in 1-liter portions, it is served in six small(er) glasses. Portion control. Enjoy!

Stop 2: Einbecker Brewery

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If you have ever had bock beer, you owe it to the Einbecker Brewery. Einbecker is also one of the oldest breweries in the world; it has been in operation since 1378! Try all three of the original bocks: Maibock, Golden Bock, and Double Bock. Also, throw in its delicious pilsner, because one must always remain well-rounded.

Stop 3: Felsenkeller

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This is more of an architectural stop than anything. These vast tunnels and caves were used to store beer while it was fermenting. It is a great place to learn more about the history of beer production in Europe. (*Snooze* Also, there are great local breweries in the region!)

Stop 4: Berlin

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For Americans visiting Germany, one thing that might initially be missing is craft beer. Germany is known for the purity law, not for strawberry-dry-hopped-distillied-triple-dark-IPAs. A break in the heavy Weissbiers is occasionally neccessary, so a trip to Berlin is in order. Berlin is the hipster capital of Europe, and the perfect place for a good craft beer before Oktoberfest.

Stop 5: Leipzig

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A stop in Leipzig means a trip to any brewpub that serves Gose. Gose is a local beer first made in the town of Goslar, but made popular by bars in Leipzig. It has a unique salty flavor and a heavy body. It is definitely a must-try for all amateur beer enthusiasts.

Stop 6: Radeberger Brewery

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Radeberger brewery has the distinction of being THE beer of East Germany during the Cold War. Like "Rotkaeppchen" sparkling wine, Radeberger has an East German mystique that many find appealing even today. Radeberg is also the first brewery in Germany to brew exclusively pilsner beers.

BONUS STOP: Rechenberg Brewery Museum

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Since you will be in the area anyway, Rechenberg Brewery Museum is worth a short visit. You can do a guided tour of the old brewery and hear about beer in Germany through the ages. In other words, it is a scholarly sidetrip in between beers.

Stop 7: Bamberg

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Bamberg is the historic home of smoked beer. There are breweries in this town that have been brewing smoked beer - beer made by drying barley over a fire - for over two hundred years and have since perfected the art. Bamberg is a picturesque town with plenty of brew pubs to choose from, so it is definitely worth a stop on the way to Munich.

Stop 8: Benedictine Abbey Weihenstephan Brewery

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Weihenstephan Brewery has been in operation since the year 768. Here are a few other things that were happening that century: paper was developed in China; Charlemange was conquering things; the horse collar was invented. The monks of Bavaria had the right idea, though: Keep Calm and Drink Beer.

Stop 10: Oktoberfest

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The perfect end to any beer vacation: the largest beer festival in the world. Any paltry imitation you have attended before will pale in comparison to this sensational celebration. Take a few days, buy some lederhosen, relax and, most importantly of all, have a beer!

Written By Lauren Rogers

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