Drinking with the Germans

Iwas honoured when my German friends invited me over for an authentic beer and sausage party.

What a treat, an Oktoberfest of sorts, without leaving the Yukon.

But this honour was soon replaced with uneasiness, after acknowledging the obvious: Germans are furious drinkers. Being the only born-and-raised Canadian at the event, I felt a certain pressure to perform the task at hand: consuming beer.

Prior to the event, I conducted some research on just how top-shelf these German drinkers really are. This unsubstantiated and non-cross-referenced research revealed that Germany placed third in per capita beer consumption (115.8 litres/person/year), behind the winners: Czech Republic (156 lpy) and Ireland (131.1 lpy). This may shock you proud Canadian beer enthusiasts, but Canada ranked 19th, at 68.3 lpy.

But Canada’s rating would have been much lower if it had not been so devastatingly skewed by the Yukon’s consumption of 145.1 lpy.

After synthesizing the first few websites that popped up, I switched to another solid and trusted source for national beer drinking traits: the movie, Beer Fest. The stereotypes presented in this film are, well, stereotypes … but I’ll take what I can.

In this movie, the Germans are the champs, beating Ireland, Canada and the rest of the world in the elite-of-the-elite international beer drinking competitions (with the expectation of the Americans winning in the end – come on, it’s an American movie afterall).

All of this research just reinforced what I already knew: a household of Germans + a German event in Canada + me being the only non-German = a whole lot of representing to do.

Armed with an ample supply of Hacker-Pschorr and Warfteiner, I prepared to represent my nation in our unofficial, favourite sport. Had to be in top shape; representing my countrymen you know.

A shot of olive oil to line the stomach and reduce alcohol absorption. Cheating? Perhaps, but given the data presented above I would need an edge over these beer immortals.

“Prost,” the first round. I eyed up my opponents, hand on the glass. Bam, it’s a three gulper, that must have impressed them. But wait, they’re just slowly sipping their tasty wheat beers. Maybe they’re just warming up, like the tortoise-and-the-hare tactic.

Second round, a bit slower than the first, but impressive no doubt. But again, they nursed their beers in a savouring manner.

By Round 3, and a third time of causally enjoying their beers as if this was a social event and not a competition, I realized that either these Germans are not stereotypical, or perhaps Germans know a thing or two about restraint and reverence.

With a lack of out-to-prove-yourself mentality at this party, I was able to enjoy the rest of the night and casually drink, in between sausages and pretzels.

And I realized Germans can drink beer like no other, but perhaps their end goal was not to get sloshed as so many Canadians do every weekend (and every second Tuesday).

With them, on this night, the focus was not mass consumption and well-played inebriation, but an evening with great company, great food and a few great beers.

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