Beer Coasters (Bierdeckel)

This is one of the oldest categories of cultural icons. I began picking up beer coasters, or Bierdeckel (beer covers) in German, on my trips to northern Europe in the late 1980s and early 1990s. In the early 1990s Don Smith and I visited Jever in part because of the Jever brewery. (We’d already visited with Enercon’s Alloys Wobben.)

Jever Beer Coaster


Beer is to Germans what wine is to the French–and Coca Cola is to Americans. All major cities and most minor ones have their own brewery. Jever is a provincial center in the länder of Niedersachsen (Lower Saxony) in northern Germany. It’s just west of Wilhelmshaven, where the Deutches Windenegi Institut and the Jade wind plant are located, and northeast of Aurich, where the large Germany wind turbine manufacturer Enercon is based. Jever is in the province of Östfriesland. It’s a region of windmills. There are several historic wind mills in and around Jever. Windmills are as natural a part of popular culture in this region as is beer. And the beer is good.

The coaster reads “As is the land, so is Jever” implying that Jever beer (an excellent lager) is an integral part of life in Östfriesland.

It was only a matter of time before the new wind turbines springing up on Östfriesland began to adorn local beer coasters. In 1995 the Jever brewery began distributing coasters that pictured the Enercon E33 turbines near Pewsum.

Husum Brauhaus Germany


Husum is in Schelswig-Holstein and is home to the Husumwind messe or conference–the largest wind conference in the world. The beer’s good there too.

Cowley Ridge, Alberta, Canada


There was a cow craze in the late 1990s or early 2000s and this coaster played off that and the name Cowley, a village west of Pincher Creek, Alberta.

New Belgium Brewing Company Beer Coaster


The back of the coaster is set up to be mailed as a post card (with the spot for the stamp marked: “Go fly a kite”) with the following message: “Huge, Winderful Beers! New Belgium Brewing Company has tapped into the big winds of Wyoming as their sole source of energy, making them the first wind-powered brewery in the world.”

Visit the New Belgium website for their story.