On the 4th day of our trip to Munich we had a ride out into the beautiful countryside of Upper Bavaria. Our destination was a place we had been to on our last visit, but as we thought it so picturesque, decided we'd make a return visit. The place in question was the town of Tegernsee, on the lake of the same name in the Bavarian Alps, some 30 miles south of Munich. Tegernsee is home to the Herzogliche Brauerei, and its large Braeustueberl on the shores of the lake, is an excellent place in which to enjoy beers from this regional brewery.
So where does BOB fit into all this? Well BOB stands for Bayerische Oberlandbahn,
which is a private rail company that operates train services between
Munich and Tegernsee, along with a number of other destinations. We had
used the BOB service before, but only from Holzkirchen, which is
at the end of the S5 suburban rail line to the south of Munich. This
time we wanted to travel the entire distance using the private rail
company, so for the sum of 25 Euros we purchased a return ticket to
Tegernsee, which also allowed us to travel anywhere within the inner
area on the MVV public transport system.
We caught the 10.10 from Munich Hauptbahnhof, taking care to travel in the correct portion of the train as it splits twice en route in order to serve two other destinations (Lenggries and Bayisschzell). An hour later we arrived at our destination having left both the city and the flat lands to the immediate south of it behind and climbed up into what are the beginning of the Bavarian Alps. As we approached we could see the lake unfolding below us. The sun was shining and the temperatures rising (it had been quite chilly when we left Munich and we wondered, unnecessarily as it turned out, whether we might have departed under-dressed).
Leaving the station we walked the short distance down into the town and over to the lake, passing the Herzogliche Brauerei on the way. Tegernsee itself is an attractive small town with many buildings constructed in typical Alpine style. With their window boxes exhibiting colourful displays of geraniums, and other flowers, the whole place looked like a picture postcard. Tegernsee is nevertheless a busy working town, as well as a popular tourist destination and its Herzogliche Braeustueberl is undoubtedly one of its most popular attractions so far as visitors are concerned. The Braeustueberl is housed in former monastery buildings, but the ecclesiastical connection ended in 1803 when the abbey was secularised and taken over by the Bavarian Royal Family, who continued with the brewing business that was formerly conducted by the monks.
Before calling in to slake our thirst, we had a short walk down to the lake shore, pausing to some photo's of the picture-book scenery. That done we returned to the Braeustueberl which houses a centuries old vaulted beer hall. Last time we visited we sat inside, but as the weather this time was so good, we sat outside on benches shaded by some large vaulted umbrellas. Having arrived quite early we had no difficulty in obtaining a seat, but as the morning turned into afternoon more and more of the benches and tables became occupied, as an increasing number of visitors started to arrive. Many seemed to have either cycled (not much fun in such hilly countryside), or walked. One groups of walkers told us they had been walking in the woods overlooking the lake for the past few hours and were now looking forward to a drink and something to eat.
Speaking of drink and food we ordered ourselves a half litre glass each of the 4.8% Tegernsee Helles to begin with, before moving on to the much fuller bodied Spezial, which weighs in at 5.6%. To eat I treated myself to a Bavarian delicacy that I had been meaning to try for a long time, namely Weisswurst. These white, anaemic-looking veal sausages arrived swimming in hot water in a covered metal dish. They certainly tasted much better than they looked, and went down well with some sweet Bavarian mustard and a Brezn or two. Once we'd finished we had a quick look around the brewery shop, and I wish now that I'd bought a few bottles of the two Bock beers produced by the company.
We re-traced our footsteps up to the station and caught the 14.57 train back towards Munich. We didn't go the whole way to begin with choosing instead to break our journey at Holzkirchen, where we alighted and walked into the centre of this small town to undertake something we had failed to achieve back in 2009. The object then had been to try the beers from the Holzkirchener Oberbraeu brewery, but unfortunately we picked a day when the principle pub inn the town, and the former brewer tap, was closed for a rest day (Ruhetag). This time around Zum Oberbraeu was well and truly open, but was understandably quite quiet mid-afternoon. We sat outside in the courtyard at the rear and ordered a Helles each. I had noted that Holzkirchener Oberbraeu were acquired a few years ago by Koenig Ludwig Brauerei (the one owned by Crown Prince Luitpold of Bavaria), but according to the company's website the Holzkirchen plant continues to operate and still produces the Oberbraeu range of beers. I was therefore slightly puzzled when our beers arrived in glasses carrying the Koenig Ludwig Brauerei logo. I asked the waiter whether the beer was the locally brewed version and he assured me that it was, but this is one of the frustrating things about drinking in Germany as there is often no indication at point of sale as to what the beer is! Most of the time the beer is just dispensed from a series of anonymous looking taps.
I found the beer rather thin tasting, so we decided just to have the one and to make our way back to the station. On the way up to Zum Oberbraeu we had noticed a pub selling beers from Klosterbrauerei Reutberg, another former monastic brewery situated some 11 km from Holzkirchen. This was another brewery who's products I was particularly keen to try, so we stopped off at Gasthof Oberland in Muenchner Strasse and were very glad that we did. The pub had a covered veranda type area, overlooking the street at the front of the building, so we parked ourselves at a table there and waited for the waitress to come and serve us. When the beer arrived, the Reutberger Export Hell (5.1%) proved to be one of the best beers of the trip, coming only second to those we sampled at Forschungsbrauerei. Despite its relatively modest strength this Helles was a full-bodied and extremely malty tasting beer, and we were left wishing we had called in there first and given Zum Oberbraeu a miss!
It was very pleasant sitting out on the veranda watching the world go by; people were starting to make their way home after finishing work with the weekend about to unfold. Tempting though it was to stay and have another glass of this excellent beer we decided we had better head back into the city, particularly as the BOB trains only operate on an hourly basis. We walked the short distance back to the station and caught the train back to the Hauptbahnhof after what had been a most enjoyable day out in the Bavarian countryside.