Laughing Germans and Citrus in Beer

In a previous job, I occasionally had an opportunity to work with a vendor that was based in Germany. The company had a US presence, but all of their engineering staff were located back in Europe. While working on a new project with them, we would get together for week-long design sessions that would get into mind numbing detail.

At the end of the day, though, we would all go out and have a chance to socialize. The rather business-like and reserved engineers would relax and show much more of their personality.

One night, we were out at a restaurant and one American in our party ordered a beer that came with a slice of orange in it. One engineer next to me turned to his counterpart and snickered. I asked why and this is the story he told me. I haven’t verified it but it makes sense.

For centuries, a primary beer making region of Germany was Bavaria and other parts of the south of the country. The area is internationally known and the city of Munich (right in that area) hosts the Oktoberfest to end all Oktoberfests.

As the area produced more beer than the residents would drink (note I did not say could drink…), beer became an exportable item. Back before automated transportation, casks of beer would be loaded on the back of a cart and slowly make their way north. As the hot summer weather beat down on the casks during the long trip, the beer inside would start to spoil. When the beer finally arrived in the north, the beer didn’t taste as good as when it left and in some cases was (almost) undrinkable.

Some enterprising individual found that if you put some citrus in with the beer (lemons and limes initially) it tended to hide the spoiled taste. So when citrus was placed in beer, it became known (at least to the Bavarians) that you were likely drinking bad beer. While the recent trends (Corona and lime, Blue Moon and Orange) are not likely to cover spoilage, the tradition runs deep with the Bavarians.

Bavarian Pot Roast

Photo Mar 18, 5 32 58 PM - Featured Size

This dish has flavors reminiscent of Sauerbraten, but honestly not quite there. It certainly was easy to make.

Photo Mar 18, 6 17 32 AM

The cider and vinegar really brings that Bavarian flavor.

Photo Mar 18, 6 25 24 AM

I cheated and didn’t brown the roast. It was fine.

Photo Mar 18, 5 27 02 PM

It is amazing to me how much a big roast can shrink during cooking.

Photo Mar 18, 5 32 52 PM

The tangy and slightly fruity flavor work great!

Bavarian Pot Roast

prep 10 min ∙ cook 420 min ∙ source


  • 1 beef top round roast (2 pounds)
  • 1 cup unsweetened apple juice
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon white vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons minced fresh gingerroot
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup water


1. In a large skillet coated with cooking spray, brown roast on all sides. Transfer to a 3-qt. slow cooker.

2. In a small bowl, combine the juice, tomato sauce, onion, vinegar, ginger, salt and cinnamon; pour over roast. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

3. In a small bowl, combine cornstarch and water until smooth; stir into cooking juices until well combined.

4. Cover and cook 1 hour longer or until the meat is tender and gravy begins to thicken. Yield: 6 servings.


4 ounces cooked beef with 1/2 cup gravy equals 228 calories, 5 g fat (2 g saturated fat), 85 mg cholesterol, 531 mg sodium, 10 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 35 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 4 lean meat, 1/2 fruit.

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Beef 2, Fruit 2, German, kosher, Low Carb, Main Dish 3, Recipes, Slow Cooker

Author:The Ranting Chef

Check out the best recipes at

One Comment on “Laughing Germans and Citrus in Beer”

  1. December 3, 2014 at 11:56 am #

    Nice work.

    If you want to really upset a German, casually say…”well, yeah, German beer’s OK, but it’s not quite as good as Belgian beer, is it…?

    Light the blue touch-paper, and stand well back…. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: