Friday, 4 September 2009
The Beer Drinker's Guide to Munich
The first couple of times I went to Munich, I contented myself with visiting the better known beer gardens and hostelries. These included Augustiner Grossgaststatte and Keller, Lowenbrau Keller, Chinesischer Turm, Seehaus and of course the Hofbrauhaus. I did make a few trips to places outside the city such as Weihenstephan, Aying and of course, Kloster Andechs, but it wasn't until I logged on to a website entitled "The Beer Drinkers Guide to Munich" that I realised just what I had been missing in terms of traditional beer gardens that are off the normal tourist trail, and only known to locals.
Although having a presence on the web, "The Beer Drinkers Guide to Munich" is primarily a hard-copy publication; in fact it is exactly what it describes itself as, namely a fully illustrated, 240 page guide to drinking in the Bavarian capital. Now in its Sixth Edition, the BDG2M, as it likes to abbreviate itself, is the labour of love of American author Larry Hawthorne. Larry has devoted the last 30 years to both researching, and continually updating this indispensable guide, which is not only packed with details of over 50 of the best of Munich's beer gardens and taverns, but also contains essential information on how to reach them by public transport, sections on Munich Breweries, German beer styles, drinking etiquette as well as how to get around this fun-loving, easy going city. The comment on the back cover, sums up the guide. It reads "Enjoy Munich like a Munchener".
The BDG2M retails at $16.95, and can be purchased from the website. I bought my copy via Amazon, that way not only did I buy it at a discount, but I also saved on the shipping costs from the US. An added bonus is the inclusion at the back of the guide of a number of vouchers that entitle the bearer to a free litre of beer at selected "Five Beer Mug -Rated" establishments, when you purchase a beer at the regular price. (Essentially this is a "BOGOF" offer).
When the guide arrived through the post I found it hard to put it down. Most weekends this summer would find me sitting out in the garden for an hour or so, perusing the pages and selecting those beer gardens we especially wanted to visit on our forthcoming trip. When it came to actually using the guide in the field, so to speak, it proved to be worth every penny. There were places we would never have found un-aided, and yet by following the concise directions that accompany each entry, we were able to visit some real hidden gems. Getting to some of these establishments often involved a combination of train, bus and tram, but the only time we got a bit lost (and then not disastrously so), was when walking from Menterschwaige to Waldwirstschaft, a fantastic walk that took us right over the secluded Isar Valley, via a high-level pedestrian bridge.
If you are contemplating a trip to Munich, then I thoroughly recommend you get yourself a copy of this invaluable guide and no, before you ask, I am not on commission from the author!
ps. I almost forgot to mention that the BDG2M also includes details of six, out of town trips to places like Kloster Andechs, Tegernsee, Weihenstephan and even Augustiner Brau in Salzburg.