The combination of beer with Coca-Cola and fruit liqueur It may sound like a hodgepodge worthy of university parties, but it is a recipe for a curious cocktail that we could define as the German calimocho -or michelada-. Is the Goaßmass or Goaß, a very popular drink in southern Germany during the 80s and now it is resurgent with new connotations.
The German country is no stranger to the fashion of craft beers and other drinks often associated with millennials. Claiming the Goaßmass today is a declaration of intentions in the face of these globalized trendsIt is even becoming the symbolic drink of urban activism against gentrification, climate change and other social problems of the 21st century.
To understand the culture around this cocktail the context in which it arises is important. Germany is a very large country with clearly differentiated regions in which the ways of life, customs and gastronomy differ greatly, also in drinks. For the rest of the world it is a beer country -although it is not the one that consumes the most in Europe per capita- that we associate with the Oktoberfest, but the great beer festival is, above all, a purely event Bavarian.
The Germans themselves consider Bavaria as a somewhat special region in terms of tastes and customs, with Munich as the great epicenter from which trends usually emerge that extend to the rest of the regions. And although some media predict the imminent arrival of the Goaßmass to bars across the country, maybe it’s too local a drink to convince other palates.
Popular and humble drink that is fondly remembered
The 70’s and 80’s lived the golden age of this cocktail of beer and cola, almost always garnished with a good shot of cherry liqueur –Kirsch-. It was a popular drink among the youth of the era away from the pretentiousness of the upper classes, very common in discos and student parties.
It was drunk in bars without necessarily having to appear in any menu and it was also heavily consumed at festivals and local events, neighborhood parties and in Stammtisch, a kind of round tables or community meetings of people with a common interest, very typical in Munich and its surroundings.
It could be derived from a sweet beer created by the Jesuits in the 18th century
Its specific birth is not very clear, as it happens with so many specialties of humble origin. It is related to the Jesuits of Munich that in the 18th century they made a lighter variant of beer Bock. It had a sweeter taste and they christened it Gay, goat, Goaß in Bavarian dialect. The drink is said to have acquired its final shape and name at Straubinger’s Gäubodenvolksfest.
And like so many popular products, the drink is known for other denominations in different areas; In addition to the variants Goaßnmaß and Goaßmaß, the Swabians call it Goißmaß, in Upper Franconia it is usually found as Gaaßmoß, Bumber or Bumbarappears more in Middle Franconia, there are even those who call it, simply, Schwarze (“Black”).
The basic recipe and its variants
How do you prepare a Canonical Goaßmass? The recipe does not have much mystery, although, like the calimocho, it admits variations and personal touches to the taste of the consumer.
- 0.5 l of black or dark blonde beer.
- 0.5 l of cola, usually Coca-Cola.
- 1 shot type Stamperl (4 cl) of Kirsch (cherry liqueur) or brandy.
It uses a Beer jar of type Maß, which today has approximately 1 liter of capacity. First, fill half with the beer, then add the soft drink, and finish with the liquor.
Of course, there are also advocates of the reverse order, pouring first the Coke and then the beer, and more creative versions when it comes to liquor. In theory young people like a fruity and sweet liquor more, but there are versions with whiskey, egg liqueur or even raw egg.
In principle, a glass of Goaßmass has less alcohol than a “full” beer, as long as we do not get out of hand with the liquor. But it is a very caloric drink, with about 526 kcal per serving.
An activist beer?
The popularity of this peculiar beer cocktail began to decline little by little since the 1990s, although some “temples” were maintained where already in the 2000s they had a loyal clientele, especially in Lower Bavaria. But it’s been a couple of years since its consumption has experienced a remarkable rebound, as various media in the country have pointed out.
It is inevitable that the new generations of young Germans, in their first contacts with beer and alcohol, this drink will attract their attention. Beer can be very bitter for novice drinkers, but Goaßmass is sweeter and smoother, with has this familiar touch of Coca-Cola. In addition, it is fun to prepare because of the reaction of the carbonated soda with the beer. Although the initial curiosity passed, it does not seem to penetrate deeply among the youth.
However, it is among the Middle-aged Bavarian Germans -or already around fifty- among those who reappear this drink. Has the inevitable halo nostalgic of past youth, but it is also taking on an activist hue.
In Munich, as in almost all of Germany and so many other large capitals, the gentrification it has become a serious problem that is skyrocketing the price of housing. Lifelong neighbors and more humble people cannot afford the costs of rents, which continue to rise as neighborhoods are transformed.
This drink is defended as a vindication of local tradition and the power of the people
Locals and trendy products such as craft beers and so many drinks that are “trend” are associated with this gentrification, that’s why recovering something as popular and local as the Goaßmass has something of symbolic. It is a way of reclaiming one’s own culture, the autochthonous, and of reconnecting with a past time in which there was more awareness of social struggle.
Also, as they expose in ze.tt, order a jug of Goaßmass instead of the Spritz or any other trendy foreign snack is a statement of intent like protest for the ecological footprint. Faced with the obsession to travel and catch a plane at the first change, something purely local is chosen.
A still very local drink
The Goaßmass offer is once again regaining its place in bars, Biergartens and festivals, but it still has ground to regain outside its regular consumers. Practically unknown among touristsNor does it seem to enjoy great popularity among those thirty-somethings who did not know it at the time, even less among those who are not pure Bavarians.
Maria, a Madrilenian living in Munich for several years now, confirms to Direct to the Palate its ignorance, also in his group of friends, all from abroad. “Nothing at all sounds like anything to me. I have never seen it in Biergartens, supermarkets or in my usual bars ”.
It also doesn’t seem to have great success among German co-workers, at least among those in their thirties. “A girl from northern Bavaria in his life has heard of it. Two from the city of Munich say that they do know the drink but neither of them drinks it. However, one of them has friends who like it a lot because it tastes sweet ”. They also confirm that at parties under the age of 20 their presence is only anecdotal; yes it is known, but still little is drunk.
Maybe to the Goaßmass you need a little more travel to conquer other palates, as happened to our calimocho, or to sangria. Beer by itself is already a popular drink that is very easy to consume and attractive to all ages, so reducing it with Coca-Cola may not have much of a pull, beyond curiosity. Not in vain has it been criticized as a “feminine” drink for being so sweet and weak.
Maria herself links this cocktail with the Spezi, a Coca-Cola mix with orange refesci very popular with nostalgic children and young people from Bavaria and Austria, without alcohol. In the end, beyond the symbolism that you want to be able to give it, the rebirth of these drinks depends a lot on that nostalgic factor.
We will have to wait and see if it will have enough potential to go from momentary fashion to a trend outside of Bavaria.
Photos | iStock