How to Order a Beer in German: 10 Phrases to Enjoy Bier in Deutschland

How to order a beer in German? That’s probably a question you quickly ask yourself when you’re starting to learn German. And honestly, why wouldn’t you ask yourself this question, because German beer culture is in a completely different league than everything else in Europe… and maybe the whole world.

Easy German asked another important question: how much beer do Germans actually drink?

In this blog post, we’ll list (at least) 10 Phrases to enjoy your bier in Deutschland, and what’s even better is that you can learn more about the whole beer culture in Germany.

We know you’re here to learn how to order your beer as quickly as possible in German, but if you want to go beyond the beer and truly master German, we have just the thing for you: Conversation Based Chunking.
This method focuses on learning natural phrases and expressions (chunks) without worrying about grammar rules. Want to learn how to implement it?

1. How to order a beer in German: 10 ways to order like a local

You’re probably eager to know how you can order a beer like a true native speaker, so let’s jump right in! We shouldn’t waste any time when someone’s thirsty, right?

A tall glass of light lager beer filled with golden, slightly cloudy beer topped with a frothy white head. The background is simple and unobtrusive, ensuring the beer glass stands out prominently

So, in this section, you will learn how you can order your favorite beverage on a scorching hot summer night. You can immediately find the English translation in the heading, and we also gave you the formality level, so you know how you can address the waiter in a German restaurant

Ein Bier, bitte. (A beer, please)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This is a straightforward and polite way to order a beer. You can use this phrase in any casual or formal setting when asking a waiter for a beer. It is clear and gets straight to the point.

Ich hätte gern ein Bier. (I would like a beer)

Formality: Polite
Usage: This phrase is slightly more formal than “Ein Bier, bitte.” It conveys a polite request and can be used in both formal and informal environments. It’s a good choice when you want to add a touch of politeness to your request.

Könnte ich ein Bier haben? (Could I have a beer?)

Formality: Polite/Inquisitive
Usage: This is a polite and somewhat more formal way to ask for a beer. It’s often used in settings where you want to be particularly courteous or when you’re unsure if it’s appropriate to order a beer at that moment.

Ein großes Bier, bitte. (A large beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This phrase is commonly used when you want to specify the size of the beer. It is straightforward and polite, suitable for any setting. “Großes” indicates a larger size, which is usually half a liter (500ml) or more, depending on the establishment.

Ein kleines Bier, bitte. (A small beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This phrase is useful when you prefer a smaller serving of beer. It is polite and clear, appropriate for any occasion. “Kleines” refers to a smaller size, often around 300ml.

Ein Helles, bitte. (A light beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This is specific to ordering a type of beer known as “Helles,” which is a pale lager. It’s a common and polite way to request this particular kind of beer, suitable for any setting.

Ein Dunkles, bitte. (A dark beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: Use this phrase when you want to order a dark beer, known as “Dunkles” in German. It’s straightforward and polite, ideal for any environment.

Ein Weizenbier, bitte. (A wheat beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This phrase is used to order a wheat beer, or “Weizenbier.” It’s a common and polite request, suitable for both casual and formal settings.

Ein Pils, bitte. (A pilsner, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: Use this phrase when you want to order a pilsner, a type of pale lager. It’s straightforward and polite, appropriate for any occasion.

Noch ein Bier, bitte. (Another beer, please.)

Formality: Neutral
Usage: This phrase is used when you’ve already had a beer and would like another one. It’s polite and direct, suitable for any setting where it’s acceptable to order another drink.

2. German beer culture: learn type of beers

German beer culture is one of the greatest cultural things related to German-speaking countries. German beer is on another level and there are different types of beers in Germany. Some of the well-known types are:

  • Pilsner (Pils): A light, golden lager that is crisp and slightly bitter.
  • Weißbier/Weizenbier: A wheat beer that is cloudy and has a fruity, spicy flavor.
  • Helles: A pale lager that is less bitter than a Pilsner and has a slightly sweet taste.
  • Dunkel: A dark lager with a, malty flavor.
  • Kölsch: A light, slightly fruity beer from Cologne.
  • Altbier: A dark, somewhat bitter beer from Düsseldorf.
  • Bock: A strong lager that is often darker and more robust.

There’s a famous aspect of German beer culture that is related to the types of beers: Rheinheitsgebot (beer purity law). It’s a law from 1516 to ensure that the quality and the purity of the beer is guaranteed during the brewing process.

German holidays often have beer gardens and beer halls, while the most famous festival in Germany is all about beer: the Oktoberfest.

Biergartens (beer gardens) are outdoor areas where beer is served alongside local dishes. They are particularly popular in Bavaria. Bierhalle or Brauhaus are indoor beer halls that are famous in Munich. The special thing about these beer halls is that they brew the beers on-site along with traditional German food.

So, you can see that German beer culture is not just about the drink itself but also about the social and communal aspects that come with it. But what about the food?

3. Learn German beer and food fairings

If you’re in Germany, no matter the what reason (traveling, visiting family in German areas, watching football in Germany etc.), you will see that beer is accompanied by German food. Most of the time, it’s really traditional German food – you might like it or not, but they taste the best together.

A glass of light lager beer and a traditional Bretzel in a German beer garden, prompting you to ask yourself: how to order a beer in german. The beer is in a tall, clear glass with a golden hue and a frothy white head. Next to the beer is a large, freshly baked Bretzel with a golden-brown crust and sprinkled with coarse salt. The setting includes rustic wooden tables and benches, lush greenery, and traditional Bavarian decorations with a charming building in the background.

Some beer and food pairings in German:

GermanEnglish
Helles mit Brezel
Light Lager with Pretzel
Weißbier mit Weißwurst
Wheat Beer with White Sausage
Pils mit Bratwurst
Pilsner with Grilled Sausage
Dunkles mit Schweinshaxe
Dark Lager with Pork Knuckle
Kölsch mit Flammkuchen
Kölsch with Flammkuchen (Tarte Flambée)
Altbier mit Sauerbraten
Altbier with Marinated Pot Roast
Bockbier mit Käseplatte
Bock Beer with Cheese Platter
Rauchbier mit Schweinebraten
Smoked Beer with Roast Pork
Radler mit Kartoffelsalat
Beer with Lemonade/Beer Mix with Potato Salad
Märzen mit Braten
Märzen Lager with Roast Meat

You shouldn’t think much about this though: the main focus is still on the beer for Germans. You can drink it without food, too!

4. How to drink beer in German regions: say cheers in German!

While beer is truly a big part of social life in German regions, binge drinking isn’t really a thing. Actually, it’s generally frowned upon. Moderation and enjoyment of good-tasting beer is really important for everyone.

The legal drinking age for beer and wine in Germany is 16, but for stronger alcoholic beverages, it is 18. Drinking in public places, like parks or streets is allowed, and it’s totally acceptable.

But what if you drink it with your friends and acquaintances?

Germans raise a toast, and they say: Prost!

When you do this, it’s common to make eye contact with each person you’re clinking glasses with. Only after this will you be taking your first wonderful sip of the beer. 🙂 Beer is usually enjoyed slowly, over conversations. (Oktoberfest is a different event, haha!)

Germans also take pride in their beer glassware, and it’s different for every type of beer:

  • Weißbier Glass: Tall and narrow at the base, widening at the top to accommodate the foamy head.
  • Pilsner Glass: Slim, tall glasses that highlight the beer’s clarity.
  • Stein: In beer halls and during Oktoberfest, large mugs (Maßkrug) often made of glass or stoneware are common.
  • Kölsch Glass: Small, cylindrical glasses (Stange) holding about 200ml (7 oz), typical in Cologne.

5. Practice for the big day: how to order a beer in German

Fill in the blanks with the correct phrases and sentences!

If you want to learn more, you can request access to our Full Practice Worksheet Library!

6. Know your beer choices with Conversation Based Chunking

No matter which beer you’re choosing or what kind of beer and food pairing you like, there’s another method with which you can get closer to the German beer culture: Conversation Based Chunking.

It’s both a method that will help you learn German, and an approach that helps you get closer to the German culture. And German culture is rich in history, it’s interesting, and there’s tons of things on the plus side on why you’d want to know more about it.

Here’s your chance: if you sign up now for the German Conversation Based Chunking Guide, you’ll get access to Full Practice Worksheets, essential German chunking lists and even my favourite resources to learn German.

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