Sunday, 19 June 2011

How to Outdrink the GERMANS

Everybody knows that the Germans rule the world in terms of beer. They have the best types of it in the world BY FAR, golden nectars that have not so much a taste as a song, and a real respect for it to boot. A home-made brew will rifle itself down your throat with an ease second only to that of mineral water. Much of the Germans' success as beer producers lies in their ability to innovate (a talent less marked, I feel, in their most obvious competitors, the British) as well as a willingness to integrate new cultures and ideas into their production methods. Pilsner, for instance, was originally brewed by the Czechs. It was only in the twentieth century that the Germans reabsorbed their methods and industry, and presented them to the world, resulting in their most popular beer, and in my opinion their best. Their 'athletes' are, understandably, very well prepared.

When I first went to live in that jolly Canaan of the malt consumer, back in fall 2008, I thought that I would never reach up to their level. Germans can drink beer in a way that nobody else in the globe can, amen. Even the Americans, who are notoriously strong with this beverage, are nowhere near their raw talent. I have seen Germans drink so many beers together as to baffle a restaurant sink, and show no sign after it other than a mild reddening of the cheeks. If you're thinking of undoing a German over this beverage, you can throw the sponge now.

A little practice in the field, however, proved to me that the act of outdrinking a German is not at all as impossible as it may seem. In fact, their strength also happens to be their major weakness - and one, I may add happily, that is quite easy to exploit. Germans are mechanical locomotives when it comes to drinking beer, but they seem to collapse very quickly if you throw a couple of tequilas or vodkas inbetween the pints. So all you have to do, really, is mix their drinks a little. Shuffle your cards. Mess up the clogs in their stomachs. On the whole, once you know their secret, it's actually quite easy.

Notice who's in the lead

One sentence that I've found to be broadly true for the German people is, 'They don't do X, but when they do X, oh man...'. For instance, they don't party much by comparison with, say, the Latin countries. But when they DO party, they throw some shit to remember. No doubt the best example of this is the Oktoberfest, the world's greatest beer-festival and one of the craziest, most fucking awesome things you can find or do in Europe. And the probate sentence is true of drinking as well. The Germans, contrary to expectations, don't have much in the way of a drinking (sub)culture, but when they *do* drink, they drink like hell. And they do this by drinking beer. They specialise. Beer is their chosen discipline. Their weakness is their failure to reach outside that discipline. Despite being second to none with malt-based beverages, they have little range or resilience outside of them.

If a German challenges you, accept the challenge. Drink two or three beers with him, then throw a few shots of your preferred liquor into it. Keep bringing them at regular intervals inbetween the pints, increasing the gradation if necessary, and the sausage-eater should be down over the medium term. Prost!

No comments: