Why is German beer so good? Reinheitsgebot.
The German Beer Purity Law was first passed in Bavaria in 1516 restricting the ingredients in beer to water, hops, and barley. Later on, the European Court of Justice found this law to be illegal because of the restrictions it imposed on other countries selling beer in Germany. The breweries of Bavaria decided to keep these high standards anyway; making sure that the beer of Bavaria stayed pure (and tasty).
There are six big breweries in Munich. While newer and smaller breweries are popping up all over the city, nothing beats drinking one of the classics. These breweries date back hundreds of years and are staples in the diets of all Bavarians. If you ever venture to Oktoberfest or Munich, these names are everywhere you look.
- Rank 6th: Hofbräuhaus
- Hofbräu has quite the history in Munich. It has since branched out with locations all over the world. Unfortunately, with growth comes commercialization. The beer is my least favorite of the six, but the original Hofbrauhaus is worth going to. Don’t spend money on the overpriced and lackluster food. Stop to see the location, even if you don’t stay for the 4€ pretzels. The Munich location is also where Adolf Hitler stood on stage (upstairs in the big hall) and announced the creation of the National Socialist Party.
- Rank 5th: Augustinerbräu
- I happened to stay across the street from the Augustiner brew house, which means I snagged the same liter for half the price as locations in the center of town. It’s a very charming little beer hall, but the beer itself- well it’s ranked 5th.
- Rank 4th: Spaten
- Spaten was the final brewery I went to during my stay. It’s actually a little harder to find than the larger breweries. This beer was definitely better that 5 and 6, but less memorably than the top three brews.
- Rank 3rd: Hacker-Pschorr
- Hacker-Pschorr stands above Spaten because of the experience I had drinking it. Frankly, Hacker-Pschorr is only a tad bit better than Spaten. BUT, Hacker-Pschorr is served at a really great beer garden/restaurant near Marienplatz. Our waitress was impatient, annoyed, and gave us a great laugh. (She yelled at my friend for asking for a drink menu.)
- Rank 2nd: Paulaner
- Paulaner stands above the previous four by far. The beer is smooth and the restaurant in Marienplatz serves GREAT traditional Bavarian food. It’s the perfect place to sit outside, drink an incredible beer, and eat some great food so you can order more beer without becoming too intoxicated.
- Rank 1st: Löwenbräu
- My favorite brewery in all of Bavaria-Löwenbräu. It is by far the best tasting beer in town. Everything from Helles to Dunkle to Radler. You will not be disappointed by the lion’s brew.
Beer gardens in Bavaria are a gathering place like no other. Going to the nearby beer garden in the afternoon is so commonplace that you begin to wonder- “why aren’t these people at work?” The feeling of community at a Bavarian beer garden is truly something everyone should experience. With a zillion beer gardens over the area, which one should you choose? After completing my own “market research” by attending every beer garden in sight, I’ve compiled a list of the ones you can’t miss!
- Nymphenburger Str. 2, 80335 München
- *personal favorite*
- Of course this one is my favorite. My favorite beer and my favorite little corner of the city. This beer garden was close to my school, so it was the perfect stop after class. They have a full indoor restaurant/beer hall, but outside they have two areas- one b.y.o.f. (bring your own food) and one not. The beer garden is surrounded by large bushes giving this place the perfect escape-vibe while still being in the city! [Picture above was taken here!]
- Viktualienmarkt 9, 80331 München
- *personal favorite*
- This beer garden is located right off of Marienplatz. They rotate amongst the six breweries and you can buy/bring your own food from the local vendors surrounding it.
- Chinesischer Turm in the Englischer Garten
- Englischer Garten 3, 80538 München
- This beer garden is HUGE. I personally had a lot of trouble finding this one because of the size of the English Garden. They serve Hofbrahaus brews! [Top picture was taken there!]
- Augustiner Keller
- Arnulfstr. 52, 80335 München
- One of the oldest of the bunch, and also massive! However, this one doesn’t hold the same place in my heart as the others (because they serve Augustiner).