Munich is big on beer all year
Bavaria is the home of German beer and the world's largest beer festival, Oktoberfest. Many famous breweries are headquartered in Munich, so you can have a liter of beer and traditional Bavarian cuisine any season.
The Hofbräuhaus is the Royal Brewery of Munich and the most famous beer cellar in the world. Founded in 1897, Hofbräuhaus' fame stems from the beer, authentic food and interesting history. During the Thirty Years' War, the brewery convinced the Swedish army to spare Munich in a trade for 1,000 buckets of the treasured golden beverage. So if it weren't for the Hofbräuhaus, Munich might not exist today!
Now, visitors can enjoy beer specialties like the Hofbräu Original and the Hofbräu Dunkel, the earliest form of Bavarian beer, as well as seasonal specialties like the Malbock, a highlight of the beer year produced the last week of April, and the Hofbräu Oktoberfestbier, a strong beer brewed for Oktoberfest. The Hofbräuhaus also makes the local delicacy of a white sausage made with a secret recipe.
The brewery offers tours in English Monday-Thursday (except during Oktoberfest), by advance reservation only, for ages 16 and older. Visitors see the entire brewing process, sample beer and enjoy a Bavarian lunch. The restaurant is open daily, and reservations are recommended.
This brewery is home of the Schneider Weisse, Bavaria's oldest wheat beer. Today, Weisses Bräuhaus is a popular meeting place for students, business people, tourists and locals. International competitions frequently recognize Schneider Weisses' wheat beers, including the Unser Adventinus, a dark red beer which happens to be Bavaria's oldest Weissbler bock.
The Weisses Bräuhaus offers tours every Tuesday, as well as Thursdays from May to October. Admission includes an exclusive tour of the brewery, a film about Schneider Weisse, a trip to the museum, a green beer in the historic swing-top bottle, a sample of wheat beer and a fresh pretzel. The restaurant is open daily, and guests should book at least one day prior.
The Paulaner brewery dates back to 1634, though the first bräuhaus was not opened until 1989. Paulaner has since expanded the Bavarian beer tradition to destinations worldwide.
The brewery's specialties include the popular Paulaner Münchner Hell and the Salvator, the original Paulaner beer. Paulaner also serves the Oktoberfest Bier and massive portions of pork knuckle, apple strudel, and Brotzeit, a meat and cheeseboard.
Paulaner offers tours for those 16 and older with reservations. Large group tours are offered from Monday to Friday at 12:30 and 15:30 p.m., and smaller groups can join. The restaurant is open daily, and reservations can be made online.
Augustiner Bräu is the oldest brewery in Munich. It began as part of a monastery of the Augustinian Brotherhood, and beer was brewed as early as 1328. Two specialties include the Oktoberfestbier, available only at the fest, and the Augustiner Dunkel, which is one of Munich's oldest beers and ideal for dark beer enthusiasts.
The main beer hall and restaurant is located on Neuhauserstraße and is open daily. Augustiner has dozens of other restaurants in Munich; visit their website for a list.
Hackerhaus is the home of Hacker-Pschorr, and its history traces back to the 15th century. However, it became the brewery it is today in 1797 with the marriage of Therese Hacker to Joseph Pschorr. Centrally located between the Sendlinger Gate, the Asam church and Marienplatz, specialties of Hacker-Pschorr include the Hacker-Pschorr Oktoberfest Märzen, Hacker-Pschorr Superior and the unfiltered Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Kellerbier.
Michael Schottenhamel introduced the first Oktoberfest tent in 1867. Just a few years later Löwenbräukeller opened, drawing crowds with tables set with linens and napkins, unusual for the time. Löwenbräukeller brews nine beers, including the Löwenbräu Original and Löwenbräu Oktoberfestbier, both mild lagers. The brewery also boasts of Bavarian staples, including options for vegans, vegetarians and other dietary needs.
While in Munich, plan a visit to at least one of these breweries and toast a Maß (beer mug) with people from around the globe. Prost!
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