Reading a tweet comes across this sentence

Und es ist leider nicht die vegane Hopfenkaltschale, die viele Inder jetzt lieber im Rachen hätten

What does "vegane Hopfenkaltschale" mean in this context?

In what registers, contexts or regions and the word's frequency "Hopfenkaltschale" for beer?

  • 3
    Fun fact: McDonald's used to name their milkshakes Happy McKaltschale in Austria.
    – nwellnhof
    May 28, 2021 at 11:27

4 Answers 4


According to Duden, Kaltschale is a kind of soup that is served cold. "Hopfenkaltschale" could therefore be translated as "cold hops soup".

It is a name occasionally used to jokingly refer to beer.

There is even a Duden entry for Hopfenkaltschale, confirming this usage ("umgangssprachlich scherzhaft" - colloquial and jokingly) and frequency (low).

Whether beer is actually vegan depends on the applied definition of vegan (consider ingredients only or other components used in the production process, such as catalysts or filters) and the specifics of the production process (but such details are usually glossed over anyway when joking).

  • 3
    +1, Good answer although I would disagree with Duden's "low frequency": we use it quite often here exactly as described, jokingly. But this probably depends on region and personal preferences ;). You might want to add, that the addition "vegan" is a separate joke on everything being declared as "vegan" nowadays even for products where it is 100% obvious like apples or grapes and the word "vegan" does not add anything to the product description.
    – Tode
    May 27, 2021 at 11:49
  • 4
    @TorstenLink well yes, I suppose the frequency of such jokes is unevenly distributed - it is certainly more popular with regular beer drinkers and less so with people preferring wine, for example. Even among beer drinkers, there are also other options like "Gerstensaft" or "isotonisches Erfrischungsgetränk auf Getreidebasis", but I felt that adding an explanation for the joke was not necessary - naming alcoholic drinks using healthy-sounding descriptions is an ancient trope.
    – Hulk
    May 27, 2021 at 13:13
  • 4
    never heard Hopfenkaltschale, but Hopfentee (regional, AT). which is strange as (hot) tea does not usually seem to be associated with (cold) beer...
    – dlatikay
    May 27, 2021 at 21:38
  • 3
    Anecdote from CH: We like to order "Gerstensaft mit Vierkantrösti", which means beer and chips (french fries).
    – Patrick
    May 28, 2021 at 6:51
  • 2
    @dlatikay: In Germany we sometimes, in part, jokingly, recommend to drink a hot beer when someone is having a cold. Maybe Hopfentee is used in a similar context.
    – Hoov
    May 28, 2021 at 7:16

"Hopfenkaltschale" is a used word for beer, as you have correctly recognized. And "vegane Hopfenkaltschale" is then just a vegan beer, although beer is already vegan anyway.

Und es ist leider nicht das Bier, das die vielen Inder jetzt lieber im Rachen hätten

  • 2
    vegan in this context might mean alcohol free May 27, 2021 at 13:44
  • 13
    Never heard, that a vegan beer means a alcohol free beer May 27, 2021 at 13:46
  • 1
    In diesem Kontext halte ich ebenfalls eine vegane Hopfenkaltschale für Flachbier. May 27, 2021 at 19:16
  • 5
    Beer isn't necessarily vegan or even vegetarian. The finings/Schönung used to clear sediment may be derived from animal products (de.wikipedia, linked, has far more information than en.wikipedia though it's above my level; English wikpedia also has and article on the implications)
    – Chris H
    May 27, 2021 at 20:16
  • 1
    Beer is usually not vegan. May 29, 2021 at 10:11

There is an aspect to this that has not been mentioned. "Hopfenkaltschale" or "Bierkaltschale" was a real dish. When you look at cooking books from the 19th century it is a common recipe.

From Dieter Gallun's. Aus Omas alten Kochbuch.


75 g geriebenes Brot

1 Stück Zitronen oder Apfelsinenschale

1 Prise gestoß. Zimt

65 g Zucker

1 Flasche Weißbier

65 g Korinthen

Vorbereitung: Das Brot wird gerieben, die Korinthen werden aufgequollen.

Zubereitung: Das Brot wird mit Gewürzen und Zucker gemischt, das Bier darauf gegossen; die aufgequollenen Korinthen werden dazu gegeben; das Ganze wird umgerührt und kalt gestellt.


"Hopfenkaltschale" is a common joking reference to beer. "Vegane Hopfenkaltschale" I have heard a lot less frequently, and as a reference to non-alcoholic beer. While it does not make a lot of sense in the meaning of the word, it probably alludes to "real men" frowning on comestibles lacking in meat or alcohol. So "vegan" is used in a "I am not permitted more than that in current circumstances" meaning.

In a similar vein, "vegan poker" would be playing poker but not for money. It is a rather flexible invective.

  • 2
    Learned a new word there - had never heard "comestibles" before - thanks for that one (in addition to the insights on this use of "vegan" - I'm sure I'd understand it in context, but I haven't heard it used that way yet).
    – Hulk
    May 28, 2021 at 7:07
  • A while ago people said "bleifrei" (unleaded) in the same context. "Bleifreies Bier" is non-alcoholic.
    – RedSonja
    Jun 10, 2021 at 8:40

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