These days, river cruises are all the rage and a Danube River cruise is, perhaps, one of the most popular. But for a magical day trip, visitors can take a river cruise to Kloster Weltenburg, the oldest monastic brewery in the world, from Kelheim, Germany. Although brief, the cruise takes travelers through the Danube Gorge (or Donaudurchbruch), a stunning nature reserve lined with remarkable rock formations, to the tip of a peninsula where the famous Weltenburg Abbey offers solace and award-winning beer.
Visitors to Germany, and the southern state of Bavaria, in particular, could easily spend months seeing all of the beer breweries that cover the picturesque landscape. But Klosterbrauerei Andechs is special. Less than an hour outside of Munich, Kloster Andechs sits on a hill overlooking the surrounding countryside of small towns, farms and, to the west, a lake. The brewery is still run by the monks of the Benedictine abbey. While the brewery exports Andechs beer around the world, you can try it for yourself by visiting Kloster Andechs. And while you could easily drive or take the bus to reach the monastery, Andechs is a popular pilgrimage — that is, you can reach Andechs on foot from nearby Herrsching. I only had to experience it once. Now the hike to Andechs is a favorite Munich day trip!
No doubt you’re familiar with Oktoberfest, but what about Starkbierfest? Across Munich, Germany in February and March the breweries hold Starkbierfest, or strong beer festivals, that resemble Oktoberfest. But unlike Oktoberfest they are on a smaller scale and with fewer tourists. The German beer festival is Oktoberfest’s little brother and features beers special to the Starkbier season. I went to Paulaner’s Nockherberg for the brewery’s Starkbierfest and it was a blast!
Nuremberg, Germany is a city with a rich history and lots of traditions. The city is in Franconia, the northern region of Bavaria was a major medieval city and was home to artist and inventor Albrecht Dürer. Big brother Munich is in the south and casts a shadow that’s hard to escape. While Munich might be thought of as the Bavarian Beer Capital, Nuremberg has something to offer in that respect as well: Nuremberg Red Beer or Rotbier. But what is Nuremberg Red Beer? I decided to find out.
From precision engineered cars that race down highways with no speed limits, to pretzels the size of your head there are plenty of things — you might call them stereotypes — that Germany is famous for and German beer breweries are at the top of the list. The ingredients in German beer are closely regulated by the Reinheitsgebot, which ensures high-quality beer. And while Bavaria is arguably the center of the German brewery world, the rest of the country has more than a few brands to boast of.
Many of Germany’s beer breweries offer tours. Regardless of whether you’re a beer connoisseur or just curious by nature, take note. These special tours often include guided walks through the production line, insight into the brand and brewery, and even tastings! Previously, I highlighted Bavarian beer breweries that offer tours. Now here’s a follow up with German beer breweries around the rest of the country.
Munich’s annual Oktoberfest is arguably the largest and most well known people’s folk festival in the world. Each September millions of beer drinkers and revelers descend on the Bavarian capital city, an already popular tourist destination. They eat pretzels, they ride carnival rides, they wear Dirndl or Lederhosen and, of course, they suck down beer from a select group of Munich’s breweries like the stuff is going out of style. While there is a lot to be said about attending the world’s premiere folk festival, those looking for a more intimate experience don’t have to look to far from Munich. Dachau, located a mere twelve miles northwest of Munich, hosts its own folk festival which traditionally boasts the cheapest beer prices in Bavaria.
Ever since our first trip to Munich, my husband has been in love with German beer. Leave it to German beer to turn a non-drinker into a habitual beer-a-day drinker. So it only made sense, as I plan our next trip to the Bavarian capital, to consider some brewery tours in Germany. Munich brewery tours are, surprisingly, somewhat difficult to come by. But if you’re willing to travel a little within the state of Bavaria, there are a lot of beer brewery tours available. Prost!
Maybe it’s the computer nerd in me, but I hate crowds. I actively avoid them. When everyone else is going on vacation in the peak of summer during July and August, I’m quietly planning a trip for the fall or maybe in early spring. But, I have to admit, I wouldn’t mind — just once — visiting the world famous Oktoberfest. It’s just one of those must-do, must-see things that you can’t miss. You have to go at least once! And with more than 6 million people visiting Oktoberfest in Munich, Germany during the sixteen days when the festival takes place, well, maybe I’ll just have to figure out the least busy day to visit. Unfortunately it won’t be this year as Oktoberfest 2013 kicks off this weekend!
My mom was generous enough to share her Oktoberfest photos from the early 1970s for this post.
You read the title correctly. Munich’s famous Hofbräuhaus has a location in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Don’t ask me why, I couldn’t tell you. But they do: Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. When I had the opportunity, I opted not to visit the original location in Munich for fear of it being a tourist trap. But, well, desperate times call for desperate measures. In other words: I’m, unfortunately, not planning to be in Munich anytime soon so I might as well take what I can get. So take, I did.
My husband who doesn’t drink has been drinking a beer a day for the last month or so. He swears the health benefits of the brewed beverage. He’s been sticking near exclusively with German beer — more specifically Bavarian beers — so I certainly can’t complain…but it doesn’t mean I’ll be joining him anytime soon. I’d rather eat my bread than drink it.
But I have really been enjoying examining the bottles. It is a disappointment that the labels have little to no German on them as they’re bottled exclusively for international export. But the labels still have some nice packaging, colorful artwork and sometimes a special design on the bottle cap. One variety even came with a small plastic trinket hanging around the neck of the bottle from a red string. Yes, I have to admit, I’ve been enjoying — in a somewhat guilty fashion — the German beer bottles.