Hops, malt, yeast and water – and nothing else. For around five centuries, the German Beer Purity Law has determined what can and can't go into German beer. It's the oldest food regulation in the world still in force today. The origins of the reinheitsgebot, as it's known in German, are a matter of some dispute. While Bavarian brewers claim it dates back to a document from 1516, their Thuringian colleagues point to a local trading regulation passed in 1434. Not that it makes any difference to the quality of the beer. The reinheitsgebot is rigorously adhered to everywhere in the country.
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