Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Independent Brewing in Munich

Taking a slice out of Munich History, the Augustiner brewery is Munich’s oldest still independent brewery. I actually thought it was the only remaining independent brewery in Munich, as it seems all the others had been gobbled up by InBev, but it turns out that Hofbrau, Paulaner and Hacker-Pschorr are still 50.1% locally owned. As for Augustiner, it dates back to 1294 when the bishop of Freising (you remember Freising was the powerhouse city at that time) established a monastery just outside the gates of Munich. In 1328 the brewery gained rights to sell beer on its premises, which still exists today. The monastery was taken over in 1803 as part of Napoleons reforms, and the monks walked out in protest. Soon after, the brewery was denationalized and moved to Neuhauser Strasse in 1817 (where the restaurant pictured here still exists). In 1884 it relocated to its present location of Landsbergerstrasse in Munich’s West end. The brewery still maintains its own tavern, the Braustuberl, on Lansberger Strasse, which is subsidized by the brewery so the prices are extremely low. After visiting what seems like hundreds of beer gardens throughout Munich, I can tell you that the Augustiner Braustuberl is by far the most authentic of the beer halls I’ve seen. Very few tourists, and lots of great (and cheap) beer and food.

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