I sometimes feel a little guilty with my often gushing praise of Franconian beer and what could be seen as a narrow focus on beer hiking trails in this northern part of Bavaria. This guilt stems from the fact that I live in Munich and though there is a lot of run of the mill mass-produced beer in town, there is some great beer, as well. There are also some fine hiking trails in southern Bavaria, sometimes close enough to breweries to be included on my website. Perhaps, one day I’ll get around to documenting those, too but for now, I will at least do the occasional blog on my hometown area as I’ve recently done with Aying, the Forschungsbrauerei, Maisacher and the Starkbierfest.
This past weekend, my wife and I got around to some local beerwandering, tackling our annual walk up to one of the nicest Biergartens in Munich, the Aumeister. It’s not only a very scenic Biergarten but also a fantastic walk through one of the great city parks in the world, the English Garden. That the Biergarten has great food only adds to its luster but its true calling card for me is that come spring, they serve Hofbräu Maibock on tap. This majestic bock which dates back to 1614 has an even longer lineage than its Starkbier rival, Salvator from Paulaner. In fact, its other name is Ur-Bock, or original bock. Well, at least in Munich since the first bock was brewed in Einbeck in the north of Germany. At any rate, it’s a top notch beer and the classic of its style.
We usually start our trek to the Aumeister from the Hofgarten in the center of Munich’s Old Town. It’s a beautiful small park and it’s worth peeking in the gorgeous Theatinerkirche before setting off.
The Theatinerkiche is worth a peek inside
Once you get into the English Garden proper, if the weather is fine, you won’t be alone and you can follow the procession of people north towards various destinations. It’s hard to go wrong but you want to stay towards the middle of the park unless you want to do more than the 6 kilometers it takes at the minimum to the most northern Biergarten in this Biergarten-rich city park that is massive in size.
the scenic English Garden with trees just starting to shake off winter
The most direct route will take you by the most famous of Munich Biergartens: the Chinese Tower. Though a beautiful place in itself and another venue for Hofbräu and its Maibock, the walk to the Aumeister is not only worth it, but also a worthy endeavor in its own right. It is, however, a long walk and if you get thirsty, at about the half-way point, you can pop in for a beer at the Seehaus, a Paulaner outlet.
You’ll cross a bridge from there to the northern sector of the English Garden and you’ll notice the crowds are cut in half once you do. It’s a little known part of Munich compared to the southern portion, where dogs are allowed off leash and bikes rule the paths. There are, thankfully, some more narrow paths reserved for walkers and by all means seek them out as you meander north towards the beer oasis. You’ll know the Aumeister is in your sights when you see an unusually large concentration of parked bikes. In fact, when we were there on Sunday, it was an insane amount. It will likely be the last time we go on a Sunday, especially the first warm day of the season, ever again. If you’ve got the luxury, go during the week and you’ll enjoy it more, too. Get a Hendl (half roasted chicken), a large pretzel or their very good dumpling in sauce and, of course, a liter mug of Maibock. If you’re sitting in the sun and it’s not too hot, you’ll be in heaven or at least the Bavarian version of it. Prost.