The city of Frankfurt boasts the largest skyline in Europe (shown above in all its modesty), but that’s not why it stands out amongst the crowd. No, this Germany city has an even bigger secret: It doesn’t drink beer.
We know what you’re thinking. A German city that doesn’t drink beer? Blasphemy! But no, seriously, it’s true. In Frankfurt, it’s apfelwein (apple wine) that fills the glasses of the locals.
Apfelwein is made in the same way as wine — by pressing apples and adding yeast — but it tastes more like a cider and it drinks like a beer with an alcohol content of 4 to 7 percent. It is served to patrons in what’s called a bembel (that blue and white pitcher in the photo below) and drank from a special glass called a geripptes, which has ridges cut into it to prevent it from slipping out of your hand (back in the day, the Germans ate pork and sausage with their hands while they drank, which made them greasy).
The traditional varietal isn’t sweet like Magner’s or plain apple juice/cider. It’s actually a little tart, very light and very easy to drink. Like wine and grapes, the different types of apples produce different styles of apfelwein, and so it’s possible to find versions that have a higher sugar content.