OK, obviously beer is a special thing in Germany. I expected that there would be lots of tasty beers and lots of places to get them. Still, I was a little surprised to learn quite how prevalent beer is during the summer in Germany. All along the bike path, there were little towns with shops catering to passing cycle tour groups (such as ours). The offerings differed a little from one place to the other, but there were two constants: beer and ice cream, or bier and eis in German.
At first, I was a little surprised how everyone would stop mid-ride for a beer, either with their meal or just on its own. It wasn't just the more relaxed cyclists; even the hard-core cyclists in spandex were drinking beer during their ride. I was somewhat skeptical at first. Certainly I enjoy a nice beer after exercising or a good ride, but in the middle of the day?
I was convinced when I saw that Eva, one of the fastest in our group, was having a beer at each stop. She was steadily and consistently out ahead of the pack, seemingly without tiring. If she was refueling with beer, it couldn't be that bad of a decision. I decided to give it a try, and was very pleased with the result. Something about a tall glass of German beer really hits the spot. It is not as heavy or strong as Belgian beer, not as watery and flavorless as big-brewery American beer, it was just the right balance of nice flavor and cool and refreshing. See picture below : )