Archive for June, 2008

I’ll have a Coffee. – Beer? – No, C-O… – B-E…

Ok, its a lot harder to convey a Simpson’s reference into the header than I anticipated. ANYWAYS…

It’s that time of year, the sun is beginning to shine, bird’s are chirping – the bees are trying to have sex with them, is my understanding – and above all hops are in bloom! Now if you’re in Bavaria and don’t like pork and beer, well you best leave as soon as possible.

So I have been doing my best at making my rounds of beer gardens, indulging in as much Maß as I can afford. So here are my top Munich beer gardens at the beginning of my rounds of 2008. We’ll see what the opinion is by the time fall comes.

Hofbräukeller

This beer garden is very close to Max-Weber Platz in east Munich (tram and subway accessible). Like pretty much any other beer garden in Munich, this one is equipped with lots of shade from chestnut trees, good grub and lights in the evening. The beer here is, as you might guess, Hofbräu. This isn’t my favorite, but there is a Sausalitos (Mexican food and bar chain) adjacent sharing the courtyard, so the atmosphere can accommodate different tastes. The food was on par for your average beer garden, not great, not bad, just moderately satisfactory.

Taxisgarten

This beer garden is sort of in north west Munich by the Gern stop along the U1 subway line. The beer here is Spaten. Though beer gardens in general are quite family friendly, this one seemed particularly quaint and friendly for the family atmosphere. When it comes to Spaten beer, I prefer the Weißbier (Franziskaner). This garden is relatively near the biggest mall in Munich (the OEZ) if you have any shopping to take care of. One culinary specialty I would order would be the the pretzel with dipp; the dipp is obazda – a cheese dipp similar to cream cheese with bits of brie in it. They are also famous for their ribs and though good, I didn’t think they were anything amazing.

Augustiner-Keller

This beer garden is very central – near the main train station. Probably my most visited beer garden, Augustiner Keller carries my favorite Munich beer: Augustiner. The currywurst und pommes frites are to die for if you’re there around meal time. They also have a big fish stand there, though I have never tried it. In fact, I try to sit as far away as possible, because everything within 10 meters stinks to high hell of fish. I heard from a tour guide that the property of this garden was where Hitler held public beheadings. Around Oktoberfest time if you find you can’t get into a tent, this beer garden is a great alternative and within walking distance (up to debate by some of my associates).

Biergarten am chinesischen Turm

This beer garden is in the middle of the Englischer Garten if you’re up for going for a walk in one of the biggest and nicest public parks in the world. You can enjoy some beer next to Munich’s famous Chinese tower as a break from napping in the shade, playing soccer/football, throwing the Frisbee, riding bikes, tanning, or any number of things. If its a nice day see if you try and find the surfers who actually surf the river that flows through the gardens. The spot is at the beginning of the park next to Haus der Kunst. As a forewarning, you just may happen to wander through the nudist section of the park along the way.

So, for my visiting American friends, here are some quick travelers tipps for

visiting Munich beer gardens…

DO NOT CALL THE BEER GLASS A BIERSTEIN. It called a Maß (pronounced ma – ss). You can hold it by the handle, but only a the risk of an evil eye and a punch to a kidney. You pick.

PLEASE DO NOT HOLD YOUR MAß BY THE HANDLE. Rather hold it around the actual glass. Don’t worry about the beer getting warm. That is the very last of your worries.

FINDING A PLACE TO SIT is good weather may be difficult, so the chances of you finding your own table can be slim. It is not uncommon to share a table with strangers. Just sit down anywhere you can find. If the people are cool, you may have some new drinking buddies or if they’re jerks ignoring them usually does the trick – unless they’re loud, obnoxious foreigners of course. Also, as long as the table is not clearly marked as belonging to a restaurant then you are free to bring your own food and save some money. Just think of it as a picnic with an endless supply of bier and hundreds of other people with the same idea.

Prost ihr Säcke!

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