After a couple of days Munich, Merideth and I headed south for the Bavarian Alps. The last phase of our trip, the focus of our time in the mountains would be hiking and the great outdoors. Of course, we also found time to visit a few breweries.
Leaving Munich mid-morning, we arrived at our first destination, Bad Tölz, in no time. A town along the Isar River with a rich history, we were there to visit its brewery, Mühlfeldbräu. Located along the main thoroughfare, Merideth and I were the first customers of the day.
An anomaly of German breweries we have visited, Mühlfeldbräu was café-like: bright and airy with a very modern decor. I don’t say that in a bad way. Just that in a beer culture built on tradition, different stands out.
Sitting at one of the high tables in front of the counter, Merideth and I each enjoyed one of the pleasant house-brewed Helles. The decor might have non-traditional, but the beer was very Bavarian.
Bad Tölz was only a quick stop and Merideth and I were soon headed south again on our journey to the Alps. Hopping onto the Deutsche Alpenstraße, we were on familiar ground having driven the scenic road on several occasions.
Despite its charm and idyllic Bavarian setting, we avoided Oberammergau on our previous visits to the area. Famous for the town’s production of the Passion Play, Oberammergau is a very, very popular tourist destination. But now we had a reason to visit Oberammergau, there was a brewery in town.
Ammergauer Maxbräu was located in the Hotel Maximillian. Luckily for us, it was on the periphery of the tourist-laden center of the village. An amazing, glorious day with bright blue skies, there was no question we were going to enjoy their beers and some lunch, in the beer garden.
When I woke up in the morning, I never thought we would be part of a wedding party that day. I chose our particular table because it was right next to a really cool fountain. Moments after sitting down, a waitress started setting up the table a few feet from us with champagne flutes. Sure enough, a few minutes later, a small wedding party arrived and mingled around the table. Admittedly, we felt a bit odd, wondering whether we should move. The wedding party didn’t seem to mind, so we stayed put. Merideth and I cheered the happy couple.
The beers were nice and it was a wonderful lunch. Merideth enjoyed the Klassik Flammkuchen. Being a bit porked out (blasphemy), I was very un-Bavarian and went with the Junger Blattsalat, a big salad.
After a quick walk through the center of Oberammergau, it was time for us to head back down the Deutsche Alpenstraße towards our final destination of the day, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. A few miles down the road, Kloster Ettal, with its massive dome, dominates the landscape. Though it was already on The List, we could not pass right by without stopping.
We set up at the cafe in front of the monastery mainly because the beer gardens across the street were already in the shade. While watching multitudes our fellow tourists, bikers, elderly, families pass by, we finished the day’s alpine ramblings enjoying the Kloster’s Helles and Benediktiner Weizen.
The following day could not have been more different. Clouds and rain came in overnight shrouding the craggy Alpine peaks in mist. Being a veteran beer traveler, I already had a Plan B for such an occasion. Scrapping our planned hike in the hills above Garmisch-Parternkirchen, we headed towards the nearby Austrian border.
In less than an hour, we were in the Austrian village of Berwang. A thriving ski area, the village was eerily deserted in the September rain. Parking across the street from Hotel Thaneller, we surmised it wasn’t a total ghost town as there was another car also in the gravel lot. Merideth and I wandered into the equally deserted lobby in search of their Hausbrauerei, Stadl-bräu.
We finally located the brewpub on the second floor and even found people (staff). Oddly, there seemed to be a multitude of them, given that it was only the two of us in the whole restaurant. We grabbed an out of the way table in the front room.
With nothing much planned for the day, we enjoyed a few beers and leisurely lunch, splitting an order of the Jägerschnitzel.
Looping back into Germany, we were on our way to the village of Eisenberg and its brewery, the Maria Hilfer Sudhaus. Finding the brewery on the Interwebs, what intrigued me was their Allgäuer Bier–Käse Wanderung, a five stop beer and cheese walk in the village.
One the one hand, the rainy weather was the reason we had time to visit Maria Hilfer Sudhaus. The downside was, when we arrived, the rain was the heaviest of the day, preventing any sort of walk except a quick dash to the brewpub’s front door.
Walking in, we immediately faced a couple that seemingly were waiting for a table. Proceeding to the main dining area, we were confronted with a packed room, everyone enjoying a hearty lunch on the rainy afternoon. All the tables were full, except for one, a large pie-shaped table that was completely empty. Merideth and I immediately thought it was the Stammtisch, but the sassy waitress gestured to us that we could sit there. Admittedly, we didn’t feel comfortable until more people joined us at this huge table (Later, I spotted the real Stammtisch nearby).
Soon, we had two Vollbiers and a basket of pretzels sitting in front of us. The food looked really good, especially the Schweinebraten. We really should have split a plate but munched on some pretzels instead.
We thought about playing scrabble. But people continued to stream in and we felt bad about taking up a table to play a board game. Finished with our beers and satisfied with adding two breweries to The List, we returned to Garmisch-Partenkirchen.