A Uniquely German Expression for Beverages of Extremely High Alcohol Content

-- Image Credit Sergio Ruiz (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirgious/) -- Subject to CC 2.0 License.
“Wait a second, this beer is like 100% alcohol…” — Image Credit: Sergio Ruiz (https://www.flickr.com/photos/sirgious/) — Subject to CC 2.0 License.

The night I asked The Wife to marry me — after getting down on one knee, offering her a diamond ring and giving her a picture I drew of a squirrel (seriously) — I took her to the Rose and Thistle Pub in northeast Portland. There, we sent text messages to all of our friends and family members announcing our engagement.

Cute squirrel holding diamond engagement ring
How a ring-carrying squirrel goes from idea to reality.

We also ordered beer, and if you know much about Portland, you know it is the Microbrew Beer Capitol of the United States. (And with this in mind, I once suggested to my German class teacher here in Hannover that the US actually produces good beer. He rolled his eyes, because Germans think we only drink Budweiser and Coors Light. I laughed and played along, but inside I was seeing red, thinking, ‘Oh you poor, naive little man. You don’t even know. You don’t even KNOW,’ and then I used my telepathic powers to make his giant German head explode.)

Anyway, Portland beer is awesome, and it is often quite strong. There are all sorts of ways to discuss drinks with high alcohol content, but translating these idioms directly from German into English is easily the most entertaining. So, as we looked over the menu, my German wife announced:

“I want a beer, but I don’t want something that pulls my sock off.”



31 thoughts

  1. I actually read that there was an effort by some to relax the German beer purity laws because a lot of breweries here are interested in doing exactly what’s been taking place in the U.S., Microbrews, but can’t because of said purity laws.


  2. HYSTERICAL! And I agree. Though I’ve never been to Portland, I think there are some good beers drafted (no pun intended..okay, maybe, a little one) in America that do not look like or taste like Coors Light. We have a few microbreweries here in Columbus, Ohio, where I live, and they produce a number of darker beers as well as pilsners. Secondly, I love the engagement story in general! Even funnier than mine! When my husband proposed, I emerged from our walk-in closet after changing out of my work-day suit, and I saw him down on one knee, and I said, “What the hell’re you doing?” :) He had a bad back, and I didn’t see the ring box, and I thought he’d fallen or hurt himself or something, LOL, until I saw the ring box…ANYWHO…thanks for sharing! :)


  3. Sure you do have some quality breweries in the US, I remember Stroh’s and Frankenmuth being pretty nice. So why on earth do most of your fellow Americans prefer colored water like Bud and Miller and so on?
    That’s what pulls MY socks off!


  4. Imagine the horror of Americans when they realize there is another Budweizer, a better Budweizer. And I though Seattle was the microbrew Capitol. I think we are spoiled by the variety of different styles of beer, where in Germany there are just a few varieties. There are billions of breweries all making about the same thing….not that there is anything wrong with that. But I’ll tell you a secret that will probably get me arrested under the Germany beer purity law…I would drink a Pyramid Hefeweizen anyway over a weizen here in Germany.


  5. Haha this is fantastic! What’s the literal phrase in German then? I just tried to look it up online but I can’t seem to find it! Something like die Socken ausziehen oder so?!


  6. *grin* Okay…. I don’t drink beer… but something that “pulls somones’ socks off”… I think this is definitely an expression that should be taken over by the Americans… sometimes we do produce alcoholic beverages that roll my toenails up. LOL


  7. What I think is funny is that she refers to pulling only ONE sock off . . . Are there instances when one would refer to pulling off BOTH socks?


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