Dating back more than 400 years, Munich’s iconic Hofbrauhaus is probably the most famous place to drink beer in Europe.
It was opened in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. He wasn’t happy with the quality of beer being brewed in the region, and he had been importing his beer from northern Germany for years.
The current restaurant building was completed in 1897 and the public was allowed to enter it. After sustain quite a bit of damage during World War II, the rebuilt Hofbrauhaus was completed in 1958, and the building looks almost the same as on that day.
I’d visited the Hofbrauhaus twice on my 1998 Europe trip- the first time when heading through Munich on the way to Italy, then on the last days of the trip when going from Salzburg back to Amsterdam.
The Hofbrauhaus only offers three beers, and all are famous for being easy drinkers with the highest quality of ingredients, as mandated by Reinheitsgebot, the famous German Purity laws that allow brewers to only use 4 ingredients in beer: water, hops, barley & yeast.
There are two rooms that are highlights of a visit to the Hofbrauhaus. The first is the open air beer garden, where I sat on this visit. It’s a comfortable space with a fountain in the middle, and room for more than 500 guests.
The second room is the famous Festival Hall on the second floor. Decorated with the flags of Bavaria, this room also holds the small but informative exhibition, which is like a museum on the history of the Hofbrauhaus as well as brewing in Bavaria.
The experience isn’t just about the beer and it’s history. The Hofbruahaus also has great food, and it’s a great place to be able to try traditional German fare done right.
While German beer (particularly the styles brewed by the Hofbrauhaus) aren’t really my favorites, I can heartily recommend a visit here, if not only for it’s food and history.