This piece is a continuation of another Travel Freak piece, to read part one click here
Munich is a great city for beer lovers. Some of the best beer in the world is made here, and most of the great beer halls and beer gardens are within walking distance of the town center. If you come on a normal week during the summer there are tons of reasonable hotels and hostels available for a quarter of what they charge during Oktoberfest. The party in the beer halls goes on all year round, but if you come in the summer they also have huge beer gardens set up, some of which can seat up to seven thousand people. Take a walk back through the beautiful English Garden Park and you will find huge beer gardens around the Chinese Tower, and along the shores of the Kleinhesseloher Lake. Of course, the most famous beer hall in Munich is the Hofbrauhaus, but I have included a couple of my other favorite beer halls in Munich in here as well.
The most famous beer hall in Munich, if not the world was founded by the Duke of Bavaria in 1589, and moved to its current location in 1808. It was partially destroyed by allied bombing in 1944, but fortunately for you and me was rebuilt and restored after the war. This place is surprisingly hard to find if you don’t know where you’re looking. It’s close to the center of town, but on a small square back off the main streets. There’s a Hard Rock Café on the same little square, but who comes to Munich to go to the Hard Rock? Go get your overpriced T-shirt there if you must, but get into the Hofbrauhaus and sit down at one of the big communal tables. I’ve met and talked to people from all over the world here. The atmosphere is friendly and fun, and there’s a band playing that “oom-pah” music you know and love. After a few liters of Hofbrau Helles beer you’ll be making up words and singing along with your arms around the shoulders of some people you met half an hour ago. Side note: the cleaning ladies in the bathroom here will straight up mop right between your feet while you’re doing your business. I guess if they’re cool with it, I’m cool with it… I’m just letting you know.
2. Augustiner Keller
It’s a hard call, but I would have to say Augustiner is my favorite beer in the best beer drinking town on the planet. If you’re not familiar with the Bavarian Helles beer, it’s a lager that’s a little lighter and less hoppy than a pilsner. Most of the time in the rest of Germany if you just sit down and order a beer you’ll get a Pils (pilsner). In Bavaria and throughout the south however, the most common beer is helles, and Augustiner Brau Helles is by far my favorite. This beer hall is right on the main pedestrian walking/shopping area in the center of Munich. It doesn’t look big from the front, but it’s like a huge maze once you get inside. Get a seat by the front windows though and you can people watch for hours.
3. Der Pschorr
The house beer at Der Pschorr is the holzfass helles from the Hacker-Pschorr brewery. Holzfass means wooden keg, and they roll the wooden keg out to the bar and tap it right there. I know I said Augustiner was my favorite, but this helles, straight out of the wooden keg is amazing too, and you can’t leave Munich without trying it.
Der Pschorr is more like a really big restaurant than a giant beer hall like the last two, but it is my favorite place to hang out. Also incidentally, if I disappear from our table at the Oktoberfest and wander off, this is where you’re most likely to find me (wish my friends had known that a few years ago.) The staff here has always been very friendly and more likely to hang out and talk with you than in the big, busy beer halls. The outside patio sits right on Viktualienmarkt, a year round food, drink, meat, cheese, produce, fruit, flowers, etc. market that has its own beer garden in the summer months as well.
4. Weisses Brauhaus
Georg Schneider, the founder of the Schneider-Weisse brewery, bought the rights to brew wheat beer from the Bavarian royal family in 1872, and they still brew beer by his recipe in a brewery that has been working since 1607. Wheat beer is what they’re known for and they have several versions; a blonde, a dunkle (dark), and the regular hefe-weizen. I’m not a huge wheat beer fan, as to me it’s like drinking an entire loaf of bread all at once, but their blonde is really good. Plus sometimes you want to switch it up from drinking helles all day, and this place is right on the other side of Viktualienmarkt, on the stumbling path between Der Pschorr and Hofbrauhaus… how convenient is that? They have great food too, try the schwienshaxe, which sounds better than “pork knuckle” they call it in English. Whatever you call it, it’s a giant chunk of roast pork on the bone and it’s amazing.
What is your favorite beer hall in Munich?
photos via Michael Ball