Virtual Beer Hiking in the Time of the Coronavirus

About this time last year, I was doing some local hikes around Munich to use for my then in-the-works book,  Beer Hiking Bavaria. Though I’d been to Kloster Reutberg a few times, it was either by a rather convoluted public transportation route or the luck of a lift. One great thing about the researching the book was it forced me to look at things from different perspectives and I found some great trails in the process.

the route to Reutberg & the Reutberg Rooster

Though a lot of work, the book came to fruition and garnered me (and Beerwanderers) a lot of attention in the local Munich press. While my focus with the site has always been the northern area of the state,  Franconia, I started to think about doing tours closer to my hometown of Munich too.  I designed a series of hikes based on the most logical entries from the book and deemed them Munich Beer Tours.  I got some early bookings and was set for a breakout year and then came the Coronavirus. People initially said it was like the flu. People wanted to believe it was like the flu sans a vaccine. People wanted to believe anything but what it wound up being: a full-blown pandemic. Some of my early tours have thankfully been rescheduled rather than cancelled. I’m hopeful that ones later in the season will remain in place but in the meantime, we have to find outlets for our yearnings and in my case, it is beerwandering.

some scenery on the trail to Kloster Reutberg

One really nice thing about starting the website has been people writing to thank me for all my efforts and to say how much they enjoy it. One theme in particular is my ability to take them on the hike with my words. They feel they’re walking beside me. I believe my book does the same. The turn-by-turn directions are not only helpful in keeping hikers on the correct route but I also intersperse observations of the trail,  landscape and villages within the text in hopes of keeping it interesting. Feedback from readers has confirmed this.

Kloster Reutberg & the Brauerei out back

I did a lot of my research hikes on my own but I was always happy when my wife was able to come along too. She was glad I’d found an easier and scenic route to Reutberg. It was also a perfect hike for a clear sunny day in March as it would afford views of the mountains but not bring us up so high that we might have to deal with snow.  Trains to Schaftlach are frequent and in less than an hour, we were meandering through the village before ducking into a mixed forest with a fresh scent of pine. Before long, we popped out into open countryside with distant but distinct views of the Alps rising. It was an easy but invigorating walk and we’d have been happy to take refuge in the cozy Bräutüberl at its end but were elated to find the Biergarten not only open but quite busy.

biergarten through entrance with mountainsthe scenic Biergarten at Kloster Reutberg awaits

We managed to snag a seat and soaked in the scenery while awaiting the rewards of our hike: a marvelous Reutberger Export Dunkel and some hearty Bavarian fare.

to the beerwanderer goes the rewards

Basking in the sun with a great beer is all anyone could ask for but doing it with a happy wife makes for a happy life. On the way back, we took a different route. It went by what would generally be a parking lot but on this particular day, there was a big tent erected. We peeked in to find a Starkbierfest in full swing. We’d had the Josefi-Bock after our meal since the weather was so fine. Otherwise, I’d have said we had to nip in for one. I wanted to anyway but I know keeping your wife (and life) happy necessitates some sacrifices.

Starkbierfest at Kloster Reutberg & their marvelous Josefi-Bock

Well, I was already scheming for next year on the way home but that didn’t come to pass. The Coronavirus made that not possible but I am looking forward to doing this route again with my wife and hopefully some of you beerwanderers out there. It won’t be until May at the earliest, it appears we’ll all be keeping a distance until at least then. If you’re heading this way, check out the Kloster Reutberg Biergarten Experience.

Until then, join me by reading about 50 great beer hikes in Bavaria. It’s the next best thing do being there, oder auf Deutsch: Bierwandern Bayern.

beer hiking bavaria book coverbierwandern bayern buch

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