“There is a royal brewery in Munich– one, two, drink!”
The origin story of the Hofbräuhaus
The world-famous Hofbräuhaus brewery, which is right next to the Platzl Hotel Munich, was founded by Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria, as was the famous Jesuit church, St Michael’s. The ducal brewery was completed in 1592 and began operation at the Alter Hof (the “Old Court”). The “Braunbier” (“brown beer”) brewed here became the new drink at the royal table, where beer from Einbeck in Lower Saxony had previously been served. In 1610, the beer began being sold to landlords and private customers as well.
In order to make the quality more like that of the bock beer from Einbeck, the master brewer Elias Pichler was poached from Einbeck in 1612. In 1614, he brewed the famous “maibock”, the first beer brewed in Munich using the “Ainphock” method. This method of brewing remained the exclusive prerogative of the Hofbräuhaus royal brewery until 1818.
In order to offer “a healthier and cheaper drink to the military and the working class” as well, King Ludwig I of Bavaria allowed the selling price in the Hofbräuhaus to be dropped well below the usual price in pubs in the area.
Since 1852, the Hofbräuhaus in Munich has been owned by the State of Bavaria.
Picture source: flickr (Moon Soleil)
The Hofbräuhaus as a top attraction in Munich
The current building dates back to 1897. Even today, the Hofbräuhaus is still one of the most world-famous and popular tourist attractions in Munich, as well as a favourite among locals, attracting up to 35,000 visitors every day. So it’s not for nothing that the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is the most famous place in the world where Munich beer is served, and has been for 400 years. Nowhere else in the world can you experience “Gemütlichkeit”, the famous Bavarian “cosiness”, like you can in the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl – a real piece of Munich.
The style of the Hofbräuhaus
There’s always something going on in the unique “Schwemme”, as the biggest room in a public house is usually known here. It offers space for about 1,000 people. Both locals and visitors from all over the world come here every day to sit side by side at the long tables and sway together to the live music of the impressive brass band, with a fresh draught beer in hand. Stylish women in dirndl dresses and strapping men in lederhosen breeches also serve traditional Bavarian treats in the Hofbräuhaus’s own style: Bavarian tradition with a modern twist. But even guests who prefer a somewhat quieter atmosphere will find what they’re looking for at the Hofbräuhaus. The upper floor is divided into several rooms, which offer space for another 2,500 guests. Here, guests can make themselves comfortable in the small parlours, the taproom, or the hall of arms. Festive occasions are usually celebrated in the large celebration hall, which has nine metre-high vaults.
Picture source: flickr (Christopher Macsurak)
For anyone who wants to experience the beer garden atmosphere in the city of Munich, the place to be in the summer is under the old chestnut trees, surrounded by historical walls in the inner courtyard of the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl. The beer garden has room for ca. 500 guests and the gentle splashing of a fountain can be heard through the impressive archway. The fountain was built in 1897 and features Bavarian Lions on its columns.
For regulars of the beautiful tavern, the Munich beer palace offers a locker on one of the shelves where they can keep their own beer mugs.
So it’s not for nothing that Lenin himself treasured the hospitality of the Hofbräuhaus and the quality of its beer, as an entry in the diary of his wife, Nadeschda Krupskaja, reveals:
“We look back especially fondly on the Hofbräuhaus, where the good beer blurs all class differences.”
The Hofbräuhaus is located right by the Platzl Hotel Munich – it only takes about two minutes to get there. Just go along Münzstraße and turn left after the Hard Rock Cafe. The impressive architecture of the Hofbräuhaus makes it impossible to miss.
Picture source: flickr (rubenvike)