Forgotten German Beer: The History of Broyhan

Discover the lost story of a beer that captivated North Germany for centuries: Broyhan! Despite its popularity, this beer had all but vanished from existence - but what caused its mysterious disappearance? Find out why the widely beloved beverage disappeared from shelves and minds alike, and why its story is so important.

What started off as a beer for North Germany is now a thing of the past. Broyhan was a beer that had been around for hundreds of years, yet it was completely forgotten at some point in time. This article will explain what made Broyhan so beloved, yet it's baffling disappearance.

Broyhan - the definition

Broyhan was a pale, light beer that originated in the city of Hanover, north of Germany. It was a popular drink in its native Hanover, though it had not been able to move further afield. This was typical of many beers this time, and it was not exclusive to Broyhan.

The exact recipe of Broyhan is unknown, though it is known to have been a top-fermenting beer, which was uncommon at the time. Broyhan was also known for being slightly cloudy and had a extra floral aroma. All these factors made Broyhan a unique beer, and the Hanoverians are said to have prized it for this fact.

The first written records of Broyhan was through its production at the eponymous brewery in 1603. The brewery would go on to produce Broyhan for the next few centuries, until it stopped production in 1809.

The making of Broyhan

The brewing process

The brewing process of Broyhan is said to have been an arduous one, with a long and drawn out production - taking up to 6 to 8 weeks of fermentation, followed by cellar-maturing of around 30 weeks.

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The ingredients

Though the exact recipe of Broyhan is not known, some ingredients have been known to have been used in production.

  • Pale barley malt
  • Mild hops
  • A hint of wheat and oats for body
  • High carbonate and calcium levels

Why did the popularity of Broyhan fade?

Broyhan was the popular choice of beer for it's native Hanover and the nearby area. Unfortunately, the popularity of this beer would not last. Broyhan quickly went into decline due to various factors.

The presence of lager

By the late 19th century, a number of lager beers began to appear on the market. The lighter, crisper taste and clearer appearance of lager appealed to more consumers, and soon overtook the popularity of darker beers like Broyhan. This was absolute disaster for Broyhan, as its unique style and features made it no match for the much more cost effective and commonplace lager.

The botulism scare

The production of Broyhan began to erode further due to a scare of botulism contamination from the war of 1864-1866 between Prussia and Austria. This led to Broyhan being added to the list of beers being banned, along with 14 other beers. This ban was a major factor in the demise of Broyhan.

Missed opportunities

Broyhan's downfall was compounded by the missed opportunities of the 18th and 19th centuries, when larger scale beer production began to become feasible. During these times, Broyhan's production did not expand to meet the increasing demand - an opportunity which was seized upon by the larger lager breweries. Thus, a beer which had been the drink of choice for North Germany for centuries was fading away.

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Resurgence Attempts of Broyhan

With the growing popularity of craft beers and revival of historic beer styles, multiple attempts have been made to resuscitate the taste of Broyhan in recent years.

Brewmeister Broyhan Recipe

In 2011, a brewing historian named Horst Dornbusch managed to recreate a version of Broyhan beer, using clues from historic recipes. This version of Broyhan beer was branded as 'Brewmeister Broyhan', and this beer has been produced and distributed in the US, though it is not available in Germany.

Back to the roots of Broyhan

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