German meatballs in beer sauce, Bierklopse

We have been cooking so many different dishes lately that at some point we both decided that it would be nice to have something simple, housewife art, for a change.  I mean all the dishes were simple and easy, but we wanted something we knew from our childhoods. Our discussion, like so many times before, consisted mostly of all the typical dishes we just didn’t have in a very long time.

The clear winner in this “we could cook this or that” game were meatballs in beer sauce. The fist time I had them it was prepared by Philipp’s mother and I loved it. To this day whenever we visit I would timidly ask if she could cook it for us.

Until recently I have done them only once myself and they were not quite as good as I remembered them. So I thought I better consult my cookbooks on German cuisine to make them right this time. I was quite surprised when I didn’t find it there. I thought, well, ok, probably not so high runner. I asked my colleagues at work if they knew this dish. The first hurdle was the word “Klopse” alone. The Germans have 4 words for meatballs, but one- and only one- of them is understood in Bavaria.  And it isn’t Klopse. But even after describing the dish nobody knew what I was talking about. But the looks on their faces- priceless! I sometimes do crazy stuff at work, but they never looked so confused before.

I then googled it, and although there is a lot of very similar recipes, only few of them called for malt beer, which was the one I was using. The difference to those other recipes is that malt beer contains no alcohol and is a bit herby and sweet, almost caramel-like in taste.

It also took me a long time to find out that the recipe comes from Berlin. So it is a German dish after all, not as widely known as Königsberger Klopse or Rouladen, and you probably won´t find it on the menu in restaurants but it is very tasty. And it is very much german home cooking.

Since then I have made the Bierklopse four times in quite a short time, so I guess I´m good for a while. But I did find the ingredients and the ratio that I liked best, so here it is how it´s made.

Serves 2-4

Total time: 30min


500g mixed minced meat,

1 egg

1 onion

2 garlic cloves

1 day old roll or 100g breadcrumbs

salt and pepper to taste


8 allspice grains

3 to 4 bay leaves

2 bottles 0,5L of malt beer

A little bit of flour or food starch to thicken the sauce

1.Pour the malt beer to a big pot. Add the allspice and bey leaves and bring to the boil.

2. In the meantime put the roll in a dish with some water and let it soak for few minutes. Squeeze and set aside. Peel the onion and garlic and chop very finely.

3. Put the minced meat to a bowl.  Add the egg, the soft roll (or breadcrumbs), onion and garlic and knead until smooth. Salt to taste and then form little meatballs.

4. Once the beer boils, reduce the heat add the meatballs and cook on low heat for ca 10 min without the lid. Once the meatballs swim atop they should be ready.

5. Take them out, and sieve the liquid so you get clear stock. Bring it to the boil and let it reduce itself, but this is optional. Add the food starch and thicken the sauce.

We served it with mashed potatoes and cabbage but they also go well with whole potatoes and other salads.

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