When the centigrade begins to rise, there's nothing more refreshing than a cold German pilsner. Whether you're at a bar, a Biergarten or simply having some beers along the river, it's the perfect compliment to a warm summer day. But if you want to enjoy a drink without boozing up, Germany has other options. There is plenty to drink besides good German beer. Here is a list of the best non-alcoholic drinks in Germany.
Club-Mate. There was once a time when only a select few had heard of this German-made, South American inspired drink. Today it is sold in every Späti (convenience store) and found in the hand of every hipster on their way to the club. A caffeinated, carbonated, Yerba Mate drink, it can loosely be called a tea or soda. It is valued for its high caffeine (20 mg per 100 ml) content which delivers a mellow, enduring buzz, and relatively low sugar content. It is the chosen drink of those who start their weekend Thursday evening and end it sometime on Sunday, the hacker community, or anyone in need of a little pick-me-up.
Apfelschorle. This fancied-up version of apple juice (mixed with sparkling water) is often the kid's drink of choice at social occasions, but its omnipresence and refreshing taste make it the perfect summer beverage for all ages. Schorle simply refers to a juice mixed with sparkling water so there are many different versions of this drink.
Bionade. Manufactured in the Bavarian town of Ostheim vor der Rhön by the Peter beer brewery, Bionade is non-alcoholic and organically fermented and carbonated. It comes in varieties such as Holunderbeere (elderberry), Lychee, Ingwer-Orange (ginger-orange), and quince. All flavors of Bionade contain water, sugar, malt from barley, carbon acid, calcium carbonate, and magnesium carbonate. It is billed as tasting like a soft drink but is a healthier alternative.
Fassbrause. Fassbrause is another unique soda-type drink from the Germans. Though some brands are alcoholic, most are not and the drink is made from fruit, spices, and malt extract. Its name translates to "keg soda" and it is indeed traditionally stored in a keg. The most common version tastes like apple, but rhubarb and strawberry are becoming popular. Fassbrause was originally invented in Berlin in 1908 as a mixture of fruit (apples), herbs, and malt to serve as an alcohol-free substitute for beer. But since then, the word has come to mean a wide range of alcohol-free products or beer mixes like Radler. In Berlin, Fassbrause made by Rixdorfer or Spreequell can still be bought on tap in some bars. Look for Sportmolle (sport beer) and note that it is often mixed with beer.
Spezi. In a country known for its strict purity laws in brewing (Reinheitsgebot), it may be surprising that the Germans are keen to mix soda with all sorts of things like beer (Diesel). The popular Spezi (cola and orange soda) is another non-alcoholic version of this mixing of drinks. International sodas are also widely sold and simply known as Cola.