Author Topic: Initial thoughts on Munich  (Read 2090 times)

Offline nateo

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Initial thoughts on Munich
« on: February 06, 2014, 12:37:15 AM »
I've been in Munich for almost a week and thought I'd share some brief observations.

The beer stores (Getränkecenter) here are really cool. Most of the beer comes in the 0,5l bottles. I've seen a few 6-packs of the 0,33l bottles, but only a few of the biggest brands come in those. They cost between 0,75 and 0,95 euro, with a 0,08 euro bottle deposit.

So far my favorite Bierhalle was Hacker-Pschorr. It's on the Theresienplatz where they do Oktoberfest. The Weisswurst was great, and it seemed to be mostly locals there when I went. I didn't see any other tourists at Augustiner am Dom either. Schneider & Sohn was good too, but a bit touristy. Our waitress was an older lady, and she seemed very impatient with all the Russian tourists, but I speak a bit of German so she was very friendly to me. Hofbrauhaus was mostly tourists, and a few very drunk, very loud locals. The service there was pretty terrible, too, compared to the others.

The beer prices were typically 3,95 or 4,30 euro per 0,5l, and I think 7,60 for the 1L Maß in the Hofbrauhaus. As far as the quality goes, everywhere the beer was great. It definitely tastes different (and a bit better, to me) to drink it fresh, but it's not a night-and-day different from what you can find in the states.

Also, don't touch anything in the street-vendor stalls or you'll get yelled at.

It seems like most people in the city speak German. In the village I'm staying in there's a lot more Bairisch, which is almost totally incomprehensible to me. It sounds like Old English. Almost everyone can also speak German (or close enough), although I've run into a few old guys who either can't or won't speak German. Maybe half the people can speak limited English, but mostly the younger people. Most of the people over 30 don't seem to speak any (except for that waitress at Schneider, hers was very good).
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 12:52:42 AM by nateo »
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Offline phillamb168

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #1 on: February 06, 2014, 02:22:40 AM »
So if I understand correctly, the Germans call their beer shops "Drinking Centers." I love Germany.

I just gotta make it out there this summer. It sounds like so much fun.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #2 on: February 06, 2014, 06:23:14 AM »
Was in Munich 1.5 years back, and boy did the beer prices seems high after 4 days in Bamberg, where the 0.5 liter beers were in the 1.90 to 2.10 Euro.

The older people did not get English in school, now the younger ones had up to 7 years before university. That may vary by location. The first time we were in Bamberg was 98, and it seemed like no one spoke English, but our German was functional. Last time in Bamberg we noticed many more locals with English skills.

I have to start practicing my German!
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Offline AmandaK

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #3 on: February 06, 2014, 06:52:59 AM »
We are planning our honeymoon to Munich as I write this. Any more tips and tricks I should be aware of? Dates are 9/15-9/23, yes, during the beginning of Oktoberfest.

I'm practicing my German. I used to be fairly good, but lost it. Now that I'm learning it for the third time, it's coming back fairly quickly.
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Offline gmwren

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #4 on: February 06, 2014, 07:29:48 AM »
I used Larry Hawthorne's "The Beer Drinkers Guide to Munich" when I was stationed in Germany. Great resource for beer tourists in and around the city with good directions for mass transit and walking. I still have my first edition copy.

Try the Forschungsbrauerei (Experimental Brewery) in Perlach. Let me know if it is as good as I remember. It is a short walk from the S1 station.

Offline yso191

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #5 on: February 06, 2014, 07:50:59 AM »
I enjoyed Salzburg far more than Munich.  I could live in Salzburg.  However there are no breweries that I know of there.  The next time I go I think I'm going to take one of those river cruises.  Its not really beer oriented, but that's OK as I am not a major fan of light lagers which is all I came across over there.

In the Hofbrau house I had the option of a light beer, a darker beer or a lemonade beer  :o.  I chose the darker beer and my first reaction was that it was a less-sweet version of root beer.  I still had a hoot, but the beer was a disappointment.  I found no beer I thought was interesting in my travels in Germany, Austria and Hungary.

To be fair that was before I was a homebrewer, and I didn't know that much about beer styles - I just knew what I liked and didn't find any.  So I guess one would have to put more thought and research into finding specific beers/breweries/styles than I did because it didn't happen all by itself - which I honestly expected.
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Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #6 on: February 06, 2014, 08:02:11 AM »
I have to second the "Beer Drinker's Guide to Munich". There are more things to do besides beer drinking in that city. You can also go to some wonder breweries outside the city by rail - Ayinger, Andechs, Hofbrau Tegernsee, Weihenstephaner.

Steve - Salzberg has an Augustiner brewery that is fantastic, the Helles is perfect.


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Offline nateo

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #7 on: February 06, 2014, 02:06:59 PM »
They sell sodas, waters, Radlers, Spezi, etc in the Getränkecenters too, and some have wine, though not a whole lot.

The Hofbrau Helles was solid. Not amazing, but better than most of the blonde ales/whatever you can find in most brewpubs in the US. We just had the one liter then left. My friend was getting annoyed at the bad service, so I didn't want to stay any longer than that.

There's a brewery called "Unertl" I'd never heard of before. I don't think it's exported to the states. My friend said it's the best weizen in Bayern. I think Schneider's Tap 7 "User Original" is slightly better, but Unertl is still very good. I'd definitely grab some if you see it. 

So far I've really enjoyed Munich. It's really easy to get around by the subway and suburban trains. It reminds me of New York, but cleaner, cheaper, less-crowded, and with friendlier people. So I guess nothing like New York. . .

The Innenstadt is pretty crazy. It's kind of like Time Square. It's where all the tourists go, and it's expensive. Once you get a few blocks away from the touristy parts it's very quiet, clean, and a lot cheaper, too. A dinner may be 10-15 euros in the Innenstadt, but next door in Maxvorstadt it's more like 7-8, and if you keep going to Neuhausen it's cheaper still.

I've been using the ATMs from the Hypovereinsbank. I exchanged some money in O'Hare before I left, just to be safe, but it ended up costing me 13% due to the fees and bad exchange rate. The HVB ATMs give me exactly the exchange rate you see if you google "usd to euro," with no fees or anything. I haven't used any others, so I don't know if that's typical or not.

I really haven't been drinking all that much. The Viktualienmarkt is rad. If you're into good seafood, chocolate, and cheese, that's a pretty good place to go. Some of the produce there was really good too, if you can cook. I've been picking stuff up in the city and cooking at my friend's house most nights.

If you like parks, there are a ton of those. It's also pretty rad to just walk around and look at all the weird old buildings. I think the S7 (suburban commuter train) goes to Aying. I should make the trip down there next week when my friend goes back to work.

As far as restaurant etiquette goes, you need to ask for the check. You say "Bitte, kann ich zahlen" or something similar. The lady comes over, gives you the total, opens her change purse, and gives you your change. There are probably a lot of different opinions on tipping here, but according to my friend tipping isn't necessary, but if the service was good, 10% is reasonable. If the service was great, maybe leave 20%.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 02:26:46 PM by nateo »
In der Kürze liegt die Würze.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #8 on: February 06, 2014, 02:43:54 PM »
What you said about Munich holds for most big cities including NY, well Munich is pretty clean. Munich can be fairly crowded and busy in the summer, remember you are there off season. It is still a big city, but not so many tourists. A Swedish friend said if you set on the famous square looking at the famous building it will cost twice as much as a place where you can not see the famous square or building. Held true all over Europe.

We always use the ATMs. The exchange bureaus at the airports is the worst way to do it. Convenience has a price. Deutche Bank or Commerzbank are what works well for us.

Viktualienmarkt is good. If you see any other street markets that happen about 2 times a week in town, check them out. Good fresh food, and usually snacks and sandwiches for cheap.

Tipping, it is customary to just round up. 10 or 20% is what tourists do. The servers are paid a good wage.

If you go to Aying, the place for Ayinger beer is Leibharts. It is near the church you can see from the edge of town. There are signs to the brewery, but I don't think they have a taproom. There is the Ayinger hotel, but they didn't seem to want out type in there - it goes for about 250 Euros a night or so. There is also a neat brewery called Forschingsbrauerie in Perlach between Aying and Munich.
http://forschungsbrauerei.de/





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Offline nateo

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #9 on: February 06, 2014, 03:46:52 PM »
Tipping, it is customary to just round up. 10 or 20% is what tourists do. The servers are paid a good wage.

Like I said I'm sure there's a range of opinions on what the custom is, even among natives. My friend grew up in the DDR and has lived in Munich for the last 20 years or so. He told me it's not strictly necessary to tip at all, but unless the service is bad, he usually leaves 10%, and more if the service is outstanding.
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Offline ajk

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #10 on: February 06, 2014, 05:39:26 PM »
Others know way more than I do about Munich, but I'll post my experiences anyway because I like talking about it.

Favorite biergartens:

  • Hirschgarten: several brands of beer, mackerel on a spit, wash your glass for a 1-€ discount, and pet deer and goats after your meal
  • Chinese Tower: in the middle of the beautiful English Garden
  • Augustiner: a local favorite

Favorite places to eat/drink in the city:

  • Schneider Weisse: had a big multi-course paired dinner here
  • Tegerensee: my favorite beer was the "special" Helles, like a Kellerbier

Favorite places to visit just outside the city:

  • Kloster Andechs: monastery that brews my favorite Doppelbock
  • Ayinger: bucolic brewpub in the small town of Aying

If you like to bike, I recommend Mike's Bike Tours.  They speak English (most of them as a first language), and you can do guided or self-guided tours of the whole city.  I did both (and you get a discount for repeat business).  On my own, I rode up to Nymphenburg Palace, stopped at Hirschgarden, toured the trendy Westend neighborhood, checked out the Oktoberfestplatz, rode down the Isar to a popular swimming hole and took a dip, and then finished things off at the Aumeister Biergarten in the English Garden.  Then it started pouring down rain and everybody went for cover.

Here are some photos (you're getting off easy with just four).

Ayinger:

Mackerel at Hirschgarten:

Tegerensee:

Aumeister biergarten in the rain:

Offline HoosierBrew

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #11 on: February 06, 2014, 05:51:07 PM »
Great pictures ! I'm very envious.
Jon H.

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #12 on: February 06, 2014, 05:57:42 PM »
So you can get a beer at the Ayinger brewery? Did you need to be on the tour?

Edit - were you on the tour with some other Indianapolis people? You can't get into many of the German breweries unless you are on an organized tour.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 06:05:49 PM by hopfenundmalz »
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Offline ajk

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #13 on: February 06, 2014, 06:04:47 PM »
So you can get a beer at the Ayinger brewery? Did you need to be on the tour?

You know, it could be that you have to be on the tour.  They have a nice brewpub-like area, though, that seems like it could serve a lot of independent parties.  If you're in Aying, I'd check it out, even if you're not doing the tour.  The tour is good, though; we got Jahrhundert straight from the lagering tank.


Nateo, how great for you to be having such a lengthy stay there!

Offline hopfenundmalz

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Re: Initial thoughts on Munich
« Reply #14 on: February 06, 2014, 06:12:43 PM »
So you can get a beer at the Ayinger brewery? Did you need to be on the tour?

You know, it could be that you have to be on the tour.  They have a nice brewpub-like area, though, that seems like it could serve a lot of independent parties.  If you're in Aying, I'd check it out, even if you're not doing the tour.  The tour is good, though; we got Jahrhundert straight from the lagering tank.


Nateo, how great for you to be having such a lengthy stay there!

Yeah, you were on the tour with some folks I know (Sandy and Agatha, you were in some of their facebook posts).

A guy in our club has a picture when he threw a log of Beachwood into the Schlenkerla firebox to smoke the malt. He was on a big tour. Another guy I talked to was in Bamberg last fall and did not get a tour. That guy was Matt Bynildson, he was talking about being there and even asking Herr Trum. I't didn't work. Those Germans like to have things all set up.
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 06:14:22 PM by hopfenundmalz »
Jeff Rankert
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