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How to Drink Your Way Through the Beer Gardens of Munich

How do I do beer in Munich? Order a bunch, then start drinking!

But really, there’s a little more to the beer drinking scene in Munich, and it typically begins with picking the ideal place to do it. My vote goes to a beer garden, basically any outdoor place with communal tables where you serve yourself beer and snacks. Many are open year-round, and while drinking a dunkel outside in December has some appeal, I prefer the warmer months.

A few things you might want to know before hitting up Munich:

First, if you’re expecting the variety of craft beers you’re accustomed to at home, you’re largely out of luck. In 1516, the country adopted the Reinheitsgebot, aka the “German Beer Purity Law,” which limited the ingredients in German beer. Basically, brewers could only use water, barley and hops. Though in recent years, some brewers have started making more craft-style beer, you’re likely only going to find a handful of varieties of beer at most places.

My favorite has to be weissbeir— which means “white” beer, a wheat beer that offers a sweeter, fruiter finish. Tastes like summer to me! Other common options are pilsners (these seem to be the most prolific in Germany!), helles (a pale ale), dunkels (a dark and often maltier brew) and radlers– a half beer, half lemon-lime soda or lemonade. It’s supposed to only get your half-drunk (not kidding). If you want to get double-drunk, go for the doppelbock. Double the booze!

Second, there are so many beer gardens to choose from, but my favorite has to be Seehaus in the Englischer Garten. It’s a lakeside spot that offers views and brews. Trust me on that one!

Oh and lastly, if you’re into the low carb diet thing, consider giving it a rest for your trip. You’re in Germany after all! Enjoy the beer and the giant pretzels, which will ruin you from ever ordering one again in the states… the pretzels here are incredible in comparison.

Where’s your favorite beer garden? Share in the comments!


This Post Has 11 Comments

  1. It’s hard to imagine anyone visiting a Munich beer garden and being disappointed by the unavailability of “Crazed Armadillo Raspberry Porter” or some such thing.

  2. Other great “destination” Beer Gardens are the Chinese Tower, Hirschgarten, Waldwirtschaft, Augustiner Keller, Rosengarten & Michaeli Garten…

    And sorry to nitpick, but a few corrections:
    Weissbeir is misspelled – Weissbier is the correct spelling. This is a top fermenting beer (ale) which is also known as a Hefe-Weizen. Commonly served in a special 1/2 liter glass.

    A Helles is not a pale ale – it is a pale colored lager. It is a balanced beer (not at all hoppy) and the most common in the Munich Gardens.

    Pilsner is not common in Bavaria, but is is in northern Germany.

    Viel Spass in Muenchen and Prost!

    1. Scott sounds like a man who knows his bier!
      Good corrections, Scott, and I’m glad you included the Augustiner Keller in your list. It’s one of my favorite as well, but you don’t hear about it from the travel gurus like Samantha or Rick Steves, probably because it’s not really for tourists but mainly locals. It’s unfortunately misnamed “Keller” (which makes one think of cellar), because in actuality it is a classic biergarten, a lovely inner-city oasis of tables under tall trees where the conversation flows as smoothly as the wonderful Augustine’s beer. Check it out!

  3. The Chinese pagoda/beer garden is worth searching out, also there is a place in the. Big park next to the lake that is awesome. Don’t miss the standing wave, and check out Munich surfing scene.

  4. For me it’s the wild and crazy Hofbrau tent. You’ll meet people from around the world united in the goal of drinking! One caution: its nearly impossible to get in to any tent on a Saturday — especially if it’s rainy. Best bet of getting in is a weekday unless you have the means to reserve a spot. Another alternative is to visit a one of the other Celebrations of the season in Bavaria — such as the Cannstatter Volkfest Verein near Stuttgart.
    Ein Prosit!

  5. There is also Andechs outside of Munich, well worth the side trip. Monastery with beautiful grounds to hang out and excellent beer. The monks make and serve it!

  6. If you’re in Munich and don’t stop at the Hofbrauhaus located downtown a short walking distance from the Glockenspiel on the Marienplatz, you will have truly missed a historic gem of a beerhall, plus the great namesake beer. Traditional bavarian music is played by a live band.

  7. The transit system in Munich provides a special route map that identifies the beer gardens that are close to each stop of their S- & U-Bahns.

  8. Thanks to Scott for his comments. He has a lot of knowledge on beer and leads some great beer related tours.

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