A True Taste of Bavaria
The average Munich resident consumes an average of 350 litres of beer a year, making it clear that the city takes its beer drinking seriously. As the “beer capital of the world,” Munich is credited with many of the modern brewing inventions and has been a place where beer enthusiasts come to pay homage. The infamous three week beer drinking festival, Oktoberfest, occurs in Munich every year when locals and visitors come clad in their lederhosen and dirndls to partake in the continued celebration of King Ludwig’s 1810 marriage to Princess Therese.
In order to enjoy the Bavarian beer as the locals do, you should head to the beer halls and beer gardens that make up the city. The beer halls are open year round with their vaulted, wooden ceilings; however, the beer gardens open throughout the city in the warmer months. These large, spacious tree-lined gardens have surrounding parks and playgrounds making it clear that the beer gardens are a family affair. Many beer gardens allow people to bring their own food and offer areas for self-service food as well as sit-down service. Some refuse to sell draught beer in less than a full litre measure so you may find yourself drinking a beer the size of your head.
The beer halls and beer gardens are an important and distinct part of the culture that I was happy to embrace during my four days in Munich. Here are SOME of the places to join in the fun. Prost!
Yes it is touristy, but does that not mean you should not go. As one of the oldest beer halls in Munich, the Hofbräuhaus is steeped in history and has been entertaining locals and tourists alike for centuries. Now some will say it is mostly tourists, so it may not be the authentic beer hall experience that you are looking for, but if you can ignore the people taking photos on their iPads, cheer your neighbors and listen to the traditional oompa band, you can still have a good time. At night it will be mobbed, but we went at 3pm which must have been the “lull” between lunch and dinner and did not find it as overwhelmed with tourists as we were expecting.
A little further outside Munich’s city center and close to the Nymphenburg Palace, the Hirschgarten is not to be missed. With seating for over 8,000, it is the largest beer garden in Munich (and some say in the world). Most of the outside seating is self-service and is surrounded by a beautiful park as well as a deer park. We ate in the self-service section at the outside tables, but I have heard good things about the Koniglicher Hirschgarten restaurant, which has a small outdoor seating area and beautiful wooden rooms indoors. The Hirschgarten wins the award as my favorite beer garden in Munich.
Chinese Tower (Chinesischer Turm)
In between watching the surfers at the beginning of the Englischer Garten and paddle boating outside the Seehaus, we found the Chinese Tower. The beer garden gets its name from the 25m Chinese Tower situated around the tables. In the middle of the expansive Englischer Garten, it is the perfect place to relax and take a break.
Off the Viktualienmarkt, Der Pschorr was unlike many of the other beer gardens we visited as it opened right up to the street. Its lunch and snacks are more expensive than the other beer gardens, but all its ingredients are local and the portions are large. There are tables with umbrellas outside and this was the perfect spot for a beautiful day in Munich.
Sad we missed…
So many places to drink and not enough time! Unfortunately, we did not make it to Augustiner Keller this time and was disappointed as I had heard good things. It will be on the top of the list next time!