Brewer’s Star

Monday, 25 April 2022 - 11:00 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Bon appétit, Living, Working, Building
Reading Time:  4 minutes

Stammhauses der Riegeler Brauerei © Andreas Schwarzkopf/cc-by-sa-3.0

Stammhauses der Riegeler Brauerei © Andreas Schwarzkopf/cc-by-sa-3.0

The brewer’s star (also: beer star, beer pointer, brew star, in the Upper Palatinate also Bierzoigl and Zoiglstern) is a six-pointed star (hexagram) that is used as a guild sign for brewers and maltsters. The brewer’s star is also the symbol for the issuing office of the house drink of a brewery, which is therefore also called “star” or “stars”. The six-pointed Zoigl star, which is formed from two interlocking equilateral triangles, symbolizes the three elements involved in brewing, fire, water and air, and on the other hand the ingredients water, malt and hops that were common in the late Middle Ages. In the house book of the Mendelschen Zwölfbrüderstiftung from 1425, a brewer named Hertel is shown at a brew kettle with a brewer’s star. There are (so far) various hypotheses about the origin of the brewer’s star.

  • For one, the hexagram was a sign of alchemy and symbolized the elements. It is possible that the brewer’s star represented the substances (fire and water) necessary for brewing beer.
  • On the other hand, the hexagram was a protective symbol against fire and demons. Fire hazard was one of the greatest threats to medieval towns and beer brewing accidents were common. So it is possible that the brewer’s star should avert fire from the brewery.
  • Another theory derived from the first assumes that the brewer’s star symbolizes the three elements that are important for brewing (fire, water and air) and also describes the ingredients known in the Middle Ages (water, malt and hops). The yeast as a brewing additive was still missing at that time, so that the six points of the brewer’s star can be explained by this.

Gasthaus Zum Riesen in Miltenberg © Tilman2007/cc-by-sa-3.0 Schlenkerla in Bamberg © flickr.com - barockschloss/cc-by-2.0 Stammhauses der Riegeler Brauerei © Andreas Schwarzkopf/cc-by-sa-3.0 Zoiglstube in Tirschenreuth © Richard Huber/cc-by-sa-4.0 Brauerei Bender in Kaiserslautern © Franz-Georg Bender/cc-by-sa-4.0 Brauerstern-Brauerei_Gebrüder_Maisel_in_Bayreuth-Tafkas_cc-by-3.0 Einkehr Zum Hammer © Derzno/cc-by-3.0
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Stammhauses der Riegeler Brauerei © Andreas Schwarzkopf/cc-by-sa-3.0
The Brauerstern is particularly common in southern Germany. As an element in tavern signs (inn signs) it can still often be found in Baden, Franconia, the Upper Palatinate and other regions of Germany. Often the sign was associated with brewing justice, that is, with the right to brew beer. As a bar sign, it was hung up when fresh beer was served. In the Middle Ages, the star served as a guide to beer for a population that could not read or write. A red star announced the serving of dark beer, a bright star promised light beer.

The brewer’s star is used in the logo of some breweries, including the Wulle brewery in Stuttgart, the Sternquell brewery in Plauen, the Würzburger Hofbräu and the Bender brewery in Kaiserslautern, the extension of Bender’s inn with brewer’s star can be seen today at the Theodor-Zink-Museum.

The brewer’s star (Zoigl), in connection with brewing and serving rights, is not to be confused with the Star of David, the symbol of the Israelites and Judaism.

Read more on brewingmuseum.org – The Six Point Brewers Star and schlenkerla.de – Tapping signs (Smart Traveler App by U.S. Department of State - Weather report by weather.com - Global Passport Power Rank - Travel Risk Map - Democracy Index - GDP according to IMF, UN, and World Bank - Global Competitiveness Report - Corruption Perceptions Index - Press Freedom Index - World Justice Project - Rule of Law Index - UN Human Development Index - Global Peace Index - Travel & Tourism Competitiveness Index). Photos by Wikimedia Commons. If you have a suggestion, critique, review or comment to this blog entry, we are looking forward to receive your e-mail at comment@wingsch.net. Please name the headline of the blog post to which your e-mail refers to in the subject line.


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