Thursday, 29 July 2010
We made a brief stop over in Munich on our way back from Bamberg last month. Whilst the logical thing would have been to fly in and out of Nuremberg, It worked out considerably cheaper to fly Easy Jet to Munich. Then, making full use of the good old Bayern Ticket (rail travel for up to 5 people throughout the state of Bavaria, for only 30 Euros), we were able to travel by train to Bamberg. It was a journey of over 3 hours, and involved changing trains at Nuremberg. It didn't matter though, as our schedule allowed plenty of time for this, and on the return journey we arrived in the Bavarian capital with a whole afternoon free.
If we thought it had been hot in Bamberg, then Munich was doubly so. We perhaps got an inking of this when we changed on to the Regional Express in Nuremberg, but being transported in comfort, in an air-conditioned train gives one a false sense of what the temperatures are really like outside, and when we alighted from the train at Muenchen Hauptbahnhof then the heat really hit us. The first thing we did was to deposit our cases in one of the left luggage locker. That done, we headed off towards Marienplatz through the sweltering heat.
My son wanted a look round Saturn, a large electrical retailer just off Marienplatz. Fortunately it was air-conditioned in the store, but after he had seen what he wanted, we exited into the baking heat, taking care to try and keep in the shade.
Our first port of call was the Hofbraeuhaus; well it's got to be done hasn't it when one's in Munich? Fortunately it wasn't too busy inside, but it was still uncomfortably warm. I was aware that the waitresses normally like to press litres (Mass) of beer onto customers, and under normal circumstances I would gladly have accepted one. However, I knew that later that evening I would be driving back from Stansted, so needed to moderate my intake. I therefore explained the situation to our waitress, and she was happy to oblige with a couple of half litres of Hofbraeu Original. Priced at 3.45 Euros each, it was a Euro more expensive than what we had been paying in Bamberg. It wasn't as tasty either as some of the beers we had been drinking in Franconia, but having said that it wasn't that bad either.
My son had wanted to eat in the Hofbraeuhaus, but I wasn't feeling terribly hungry. I find that high temperatures dull my appetite, and also I rarely eat large meals at lunchtime. I therefore persuaded him that whilst I appreciated his offer to buy me a pub lunch, hearty lumps of pork were not what I was after on what must have been one of the hottest days of the year. Instead we adjourned to a VinzenMuir outlet (basically a chain of bakers, selling filled rolls and the like) , and ordered ourselves a schintzel roll each. We sat in the shade at one of the tables outside the shop and thoroughly enjoyed what was still a substantial snack.
After that we decided a shady beer garden would be the best option to while away the rest of the afternoon. Neither of us were in the mood for sight-seeing, especially in this heat, so we boarded an S-Bahn train at Marienplatz and alighted at the Hauptbahnhof. From there we made the short walk up Arnulfstrasse to the Augustiner-Keller. There were a couple of other reasons for visiting this particular establishment; first it is close to the station and we wouldn't have to go far to retrieve our luggage. Secondly, out of the city's major breweries, Augustiner brew by far the best beer in my opinion.
The beer garden was quite busy, it was after all a Friday afternoon, but we managed to find a table in the self-service area to the rear, and were soon tucking in to a nice cool glass of Augustiner Edelstoff. We had made the right choice in coming to a beer garden; the whole area was shaded nicely by the large horse chestnut trees, and given the outside temperatures, it was relatively cool there. The Edelstoff was in top form too, dispensed straight out of a large wooden barrel. The only downside was that I had to drive later on, so had to limit my consumption. As the time moved on, more and more people started to arrive drawn, no doubt, like ourselves by wanting to escape the heat of the city and to refresh themselves with a glass or two of the excellent beer on sale.
We, unfortunately had to leave. We had a few last minute gifts to buy, and also wanted to make sure we arrived at the airport in plenty of time. After retrieving our suitcases, we caught the S-Bahn out to the airport. It was evening rush hour and the train was hot and crowded. It was a relief therefore to reach the air-conditioned comfort of the airport terminal, even though we had a bit of a wait before check-in opened.
Although it had only been a brief stop-over, it was good to spend a bit of time in Munich again. Despite its relatively high prices (certainly compared to Bamberg), I'm certain it won't be too long before we return.
Wednesday, 21 July 2010
Many beer travellers will know that
On our recent visit to
Starting alphabetically with the brew-pub Ambraeusianum, which is a couple of doors along from the world-famous Schlenkerla pub. We sampled their Helles and their Dunkles. For me, the former was one of the best beers I tasted on the trip, and that is saying something for a region that produces some superb beers. The Helles was fresh tasting with an almost herbal hoppiness; it certainly was perfection personified. Unfortunately the same could not be said of Ambraeusianum's Dunkles, which I struggled to finish. This was a pity, as I am normally a fan of the darker beers. To find such a contrast between two beers from the same brewery is unusual, to say the least, but just goes to show how beers can vary.
Brauerei Faessla comes next in the A-Z of
Moving on next to Greifenklau, which is the smallest of the city's breweries, and only available at the Brauereigasthof on Laurenziplatz. We visited this excellent establishment on both our first and last nights in
Brauerei Keesmann is next on the list, and the company's brewery and adjoining tap are situated in the suburb of Wunderburg, which is about a 25 minute walk from the city centre. We visited Keesmann twice, sitting out on both occasions in the covered area between the rear of the pub and the brewery itself. I tried both their "Sternla" Lager, which is an unfiltered, pale, hoppy lager, and their Herren Pils, which is a very satisfying bitter beer,
Returning to the city centre, and Klosterbraeu, which is
Mahrs Braeu is next alphabetically, although as the brewery is virtually opposite Keesmann in Wunderburg, we first sampled their beers when we visited this part of town. We sat out in the small, shady courtyard, in front of the brewer,y that doubles up as a beer garden, and sampled the 4.9% Helles along with mine, and everybody's favourite, Mahrs Braeu Ungespundetes or "U". We also enjoyed a lunchtime meal of
That leaves two more breweries in the town, both of which produce versions of
Brauerei Spezial is the final
The beer we sampled that evening was Spezial Rauchbierl Lager, served in stoneware mugs. As stated earlier, the smokiness was a lot less pronounced than Bamberg's better known Rauchbier producer, but it could still be tasted lurking in the background. Later in the week we visited the Zum Spezial, the brewery tap, right opposite Faessla on Obere Koenigstrasse. Here we were able to sample some of the brewery's other beers, including Spezial Rauchbier Maerzen and Spezial Ungespundetes.
I will describe the best ways of getting to Bamberg in a later post, but in the meantime I would thoroughly recommend a visit to this beautiful city in order to sample its beery delights!