A Brief History of the Beer Boot
Drinking beer is not the only thing I do, so the other day, I decided to go on a lovely jaunt through downtown Boulder. Where was I walking, do you ask? To the Bohemian Biergarten, of course! I was on a quest to discover the history behind the beloved beer boot, or Das Boot, as many of us fondly refer to it.
I arrived at my destination, but to my disappointment, their Bavarian chef, Martin König, was away, and my question could not be answered. I actually think my curiosity may have sparked the same questioning surrounding Das Boot in others. Anyways, I am not the most patient person, so instead of waiting for Chef König to return from his trip, I turned to all those handy researching skills I payed thousands of dollars to learn in college. Thus the search began!
All I knew about these splendid boot shaped steins, was they must have, with the utmost certainty, originated in Germany. Or so I thought…
England, sometime in the early 1800s – The Brits give birth to the boot! I’m sure you’re questioning me right now, but it’s the facts. These boots, just shy of a pint size, began popping up in hunting and riding lodges for the wealthier types. I guess they were terribly bored, and decided that drinking out of a quaint little boot with a tiny spur strapped around it would solve all of their problems. Unfortunately not, considering the boot went out of style shortly after it came in.
Germany, in the mid-1800s – Considering, England’s boot came about first, it is believed that the German’s were influenced by these boot beers. They simply made them better and bigger, now holding a liter or more. This is just where the story begins to get confusing…
All sources agree that Das Boot kickstarted in the military, once it made its way to Germany. It starts to get hazy when you question what it was used for in the military. It’s debatable, but lies somewhere between hazing and a rite of passage. History keeps the truth behind the boot hidden. Was it drinking out of your general’s boot after a victory as a rite of passage for soldiers, or being forced to drink a liter out of a comrade’s boot as a reminder of the pecking order to newcomers? We remain unsure which tale is fact, and which is fiction, but drinking beer out of a boot sure is grand.
Maybe the world will never know the truth behind Das Boot, but I know one thing; you should grab yourself an $8 Boot at the Biergarten this Tuesday! Hoppy Oktober!