- The Washington Times - Friday, May 19, 2006

BERLIN — You traveled hours for your first glass of genuine German beer — and after it’s ordered, you’ll just have to wait a minute or two more.

Pouring a beer is serious business in Germany. Bartenders first wet the inside of the glass to reduce excessive foaming. Then they let the head settle for maybe a minute and top it up several times until just a bit of foam peeks over the rim.

Here’s a brief guide to beer in Germany for visitors to the World Cup June 9-July 9.

• Pilsner: Usually shortened to “Pils,” as in “ein Pils, bitte” (“a pilsner, please”), this is the mainstay in the north, a light-colored beer made from barley and with the distinct, faintly bitter taste of hops — the flowering plant used for flavor. Often served in a tall, thin flute with the brewer’s logo, especially if it’s a “null drei,” or a third of a liter — about two-thirds pint.

A larger “null fuenf,” or a half-liter, equal to about a pint, may arrive in a tall mug with a handle.

Helles: German for “light,” referring to color, not alcohol or flavor, popular in the southern region of Bavaria. Helles differs from pilsner by having noticeable malt sweetness and less hops flavor.

Hefeweizen: Made from wheat, naturally cloudy from yeast, faintly sweet. A favorite down south but available all over.

Kristallweizen: A hefeweizen with the yeast filtered out.

Dunkles: German for “dark,” referring to the darker color caused by roasting the malted grain a bit more.

Bock: A strong lager, with about 7 percent alcohol, a bit on the sweet side. A “mass” (as the 1-liter — about 1 quart — beer steins are known; pronounced “mahs”) of dopplebock, which is even stronger, packs a wallop, so watch out.

Radler: A beer cut with lemonade or lemon-lime soda. The name means “cyclist” because it is said to have been invented so cyclists could refresh themselves without crashing.

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