These contain some examples of vulgar language.

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The Germans might not be famous for their food but they are certainly famous for their beer. Germans love their beer and they can choose between numerous brews. You can have ein Dunkles, ein Helles, ein Hefe, ein Weizen, ein Gespritztes ... just to mention a few. There are also regional varieties and preferences such as ein Kölsch, a beer from Cologne. A certain lifestyle is connected to what sort of beer you drink. The Germans are particularly proud of das Reinheitsgebot, the purity law, which they fought for in the European Parliament.

Other spirits
Let's go for a drink

(* = familiar, ** = very familiar, *** = vulgar, s = slang, Lit. = Literally)


Ein 7 Minuten Pils (*) A seven minute beer.
The most popular beer is Pils, and to be perfectly poured it must sit there for seven minutes, and be topped up.

Ein Radler, ein Alster (*) Shandy, a light beer mixed with lemonade.
Called Alster or Alsterwasser in Hamburg after the town's lake and Radler, cyclist, everywhere else. A popular low alcohol drink.

Ein Kölsch (*) Regional light beer from Cologne.
You always drink it from 0,2 litre glasses and when in Cologne it is a patriotic act to drink Kölsch. Never ask for an ein Alt, as this is from Düsseldorf and people would feel strongly offended and vice versa. There is a similar love-hate relationship between Düsseldorf and Cologne as e.g. between Manchester and Liverpool.
Memorise: When in Cologne ask for ein Kölsch, when in Düsseldorf ask for an ein Alt.

Eine Berliner Weiße rot oder grün (*) A very light and refreshing wheat beer with syrup.
You only drink it in Berlin and surrounds and only during summertime. Real beer connoisseurs don't regard it as beer at all. You order it either red, with a twist of raspberry syrup, or green, with a twist of woodruff syrup.

Zischen (s) To drink. Lit. To hiss.
Drinking a beer quickly. Implies a hissing sound, maybe from the sound a can of beer makes when opened.

Ein Bier zischen (s) To drink a beer quickly, to hoist one.

Ein Herrenhandtäschchen (s) Six pack. Lit. Man's handbag.

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Other spirits

Ein Absacker (**) Nightcap, a last drink before going home. Lit. To sag.

Ein Herrengedeck (*) Consists of a beer and a glass of sparkling wine. Lit. Gentleman's place setting.
Formerly sold by clubs and bars to keep the beer-only-crowd at bay by forcing them to buy the two more expensive drinks together.

Ein Magenbitter (*) Digestive. Lit. stomach bitter.
That's what you normally drink after a heavy meal to help you digest. Formerly frowned upon as a bit of a granny tipple it is now a popular drink for party-goers. Favourite labels are Underberg and Jägermeister.

Die Puffbrause (*) Bubbly. Lit. brothel lemonade. Says it all.

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Let's go for a drink

Lass uns einen trinken gehen (*) "Let's have a drink" is what the Germans refer to when they want to have a night out. Normally before you go for a drink you have something to eat. Having something to drink right after work is not as common as in Britain.

Lass uns einen heben (**) Lit. let's lift one together.
Involves usually more than one drink.

Lass uns einen hinter die Binde gießen (**) Let's have a drink. Lit. let's go and pour ourselves a drink behind the collar. A bit dated but still popular.

Saufen wie ein Loch (**) Drink as if there's no tomorrow. Lit. To drink like a hole.

Vorglühen (s) to pre-party.
Drinking alcohol before you even go out. Lit. Warm up your battery before starting the engine. Probably something for the Kampftrinker, real heavy drinkers.

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Der Suff (**) The state of being drunk, sometimes used as colloquial expression for "alcoholism".

Saufen (**) To booze, serious drinking.
Saufen bis zum Verlust der Muttersprache (**) Drink until you forget your mother tongue. Not advisable but it does happen.

Der Säufer, die Säuferin (**) Heavy drinker, alcoholic.

Kampftrinken (**) Binge drinking. Lit. battle drinking.
Kampftrinker (**) Binge drinker. Lit. battle drinker.

Ich bin blau (**) I'm really drunk. Lit. I'm blue.
You're probably not able to decline offers anymore.

Ich habe einen Kater (**) I've got a hangover. Lit. I've got a tom cat.
Your answer should not be: Oh how nice, what's his name? Rather, you should demonstrate sympathy for your friend and offer him ein Katerfrühstück, a hangover cure, lit. a tom cat's breakfast, traditionally a pickled herring (cats like fish, don't they?).

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