When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Windhoek Lager has won eight gold medals since 2005
Windhoek Lager has won eight gold medals since 2005
Sebastian Geisler

Reinheitsgebot is the name of the German Beer Purity Law, which states that only barley, water and hops may go into beer.

Reinheitsgebot is also the best-known German word in Namibia. April 23, marked the 497th anniversary of the proclamation of that law in Bavaria, and in Namibia the anniversary is always cause for celebration. That’s because one of the world’s top beers is brewed in this former German colony in southwest Africa – Windhoek Lager, named after Namibia’s capital city.

Is the beer made in accordance with the German law? “Absolutely!” says master brewer Christian Müller. An African of German heritage, Müller says that German beer has become part of Namibian culture. His pride in Windhoek Lager is matched by the appreciation it gets elsewhere – such as the prestigious international DLG quality test organized by the Deutsche Landwirtschafts-Gesellschaft (German Agricultural Society), which has earned Windhoek eight gold medals since 2005.

In Germany, Windhoek Lager is mostly known among beer enthusiasts, but there’s a fan base across Europe – and not only because African-German lager beer has curiosity value. "The success of a beer is always determined by its taste," Müller says.

German quality

The law establishing Namibia’s "German Beer Day" was proclaimed in 1516 by Wilhelm IV, Duke of Bavaria. "Every Namibian knows what it is," says Müller.

And the Africans take it very seriously. Each step of the brewing process is carefully watched by workers sitting in front of flat-screen monitors. Müller patrols the halls where the beer, or what will later become beer, makes its way through an impressive system of pipes and huge steel vats. A general rule of thumb in this desert country is – what comes from Germany is quality.

Every year, Namibia Breweries Limited (NBL) in Windhoek produces 214 million liters of beer – including the extremely popular Tafel Lager. It also has licenses to brew or distribute well-known brands like Heineken and Guinness, and for the annual German-Namibian Carnival it makes a special beer much enjoyed by merrymakers wearing traditional German dress.

Some 60% of NBL’s production is presently exported to South Africa and over 20 other countries around the world. But the company is in full expansion, producing 20,000 bottles of Windhoek Lager an hour requiring brewery workers to rotate on four shifts.

After the day’s work, everybody gathers at the Felsenkeller tavern in the brewery complex for some freshly tapped beer. "Prost!" (cheers) Müller calls out. That’s another German word everybody knows in Namibia.

You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Economy

Europe's Winter Energy Crisis Has Already Begun

in the face of Russia's stranglehold over supplies, the European Commission has proposed support packages and price caps. But across Europe, fears about the cost of living are spreading – and with it, doubts about support for Ukraine.

Protesters on Thursday in the German state of Thuringia carried Russian flags and signs: 'First our country! Life must be affordable.'

Martin Schutt/dpa via ZUMA
Stefanie Bolzen, Philipp Fritz, Virginia Kirst, Martina Meister, Mandoline Rutkowski, Stefan Schocher, Claus, Christian Malzahn and Nikolaus Doll

-Analysis-

In her State of the Union address on September 14, European Commission chief Ursula von der Leyen, issued an urgent appeal for solidarity between EU member states in tackling the energy crisis, and towards Ukraine. Von der Leyen need only look out her window to see that tensions are growing in capital cities across Europe due to the sharp rise in energy prices.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

In the Czech Republic, people are already taking to the streets, while opposition politicians elsewhere are looking to score points — and some countries' support for Ukraine may start to buckle.

With winter approaching, Europe is facing a true test of both its mettle, and imagination.

Keep reading...Show less

When the world gets closer, we help you see farther

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
You've reached your monthly limit of free articles.
To read the full article, please subscribe.
Get unlimited access. Support Worldcrunch's unique mission:
  • Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.
  • Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries
  • $2.90/month or $19.90/year. No hidden charges. Cancel anytime.
Already a subscriber? Log in
Writing contest - My pandemic story
THE LATEST
FOCUS
TRENDING TOPICS

Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

Yet one month on, a quick look at the map shows that many of the worst-hit cities are those where Russian is the predominant language: Kharkiv, Odesa, Kherson.

Watch VideoShow less
MOST READ