MUNICH, GERMANY. In Germany, beer is about the same price as water and day drinking is commonly more accepted here than in any other parts of the world. Because they are huge fans of beer, it is no surprise that they had been able to produce 1500 different brands and perhaps more. This fact makes it harder for people to pick just one to try out. With beer embedded not just in their culture but also in their veins, beer halls and beer gardens are normal things to see around Bavaria. They are practically everywhere and that poses another funny problem: in which should I go to? It is a fairly easy question if you have all the time in the world to explore each beer hall in a German city but if you do not, the question becomes something unsettling and something that you should really consider especially if you happen to be a beer enthusiast.
Munich is no exception. Beer halls abound the city and boy are they always full. We picked the Hofbräuhaus as we were told that it was the most popular. Despite it being dubbed as the most touristy, the Hofbräuhaus is one of the most traditional and one which has helped shape up the beer culture in the city.
As you enter the Hofbräuhaus, the bright, painted ceiling is what will catch your attention first; only secondary would be the amount of people already drinking as early as 5 PM. The main beer hall was already full when we came in so we had to find our way to the back and see if there were still seats available there. All full. The garden outside was out of the question as it was freezing that night so we waited for 10 minutes max until we saw a group standing up and leaving the table somewhere at the back. Perfect timing, we thought! We approached the table in no time thinking how we had been so lucky given the crowd that night, but when we were already near it we saw a girl sleeping with her forehead on the table and one of her hands holding an unfinished glass of dark beer.
She has jet-black hair and a skin color that pretty much tells you that she is Asian. We were hesitant at first to take the table and sit on the big and wooden U-shaped couch that she's occupying all by herself but since we were a big group of 9 and pretty much already getting desperate to sit despite cramming ourselves in in that little space and seeing that it was already taken, we still decided to take it. It is not long when the girl find consciousness and lifted her head from the table and blinked fast twice when she saw us. I was right, she was an Asian. A pretty Chinese girl who should not be alone in this kind of place, actually. But there she was all smiling at us and initiating the discussion with her broken English. From there, pleasantries came and stories ensued.
A waiter magically appeared out of nowhere and gave us a menu. We ordered the Hofbräu Dunkel and the Hofbräu Original: a liter of each to spare ourselves from the questioning stare of the waiter. They say it is unusual to not get the liter so we blindly followed the supposed norm. So, what's the difference between the two? The Hofbräu Dunkel has more alcoholic content than the Original one. Futhermore, the Dunkel is dark in color. They are both good nonetheless, though I like the dark beer better. And to accompany the big beer and the endless stories were these big salty pretzels that looked much like a centerpiece because of its humongous size!
When the stories slowed down, my brothers then chugged down what has remained in their mugs as if signalling that we have to leave soon. It was evident that they like the beer so much. There were no bitter after-taste, no traces of hangover that were carried over the next morning. Germans say that this is due to the fact that their beers were produced naturally and with no preservatives. Now, who knows beer can be more organic than most of what we eat.
It is not always that we do have beers like this, not always that we see a girl sleeping alone on the table, not always that we do eat pretzels 4 times bigger than our hands, not always that we go to beer halls and not always that we experience the same exact moment, at the same location and time twice. As the last drop of the beer was consumed, I thought that this trip to the beer hall would be our first and last for this trip as we were already leaving Germany the next day. But I was completely wrong. This was just the beginning of the many drinking session that we will have in Europe.
- Address: Platzl 9, 80331 Munchen
- Phone: +49 89 290136100
- Website: http://www.hofbraeuhaus.de/en/index_en.html