Sunday, September 20, 2009

A Perfect Munich Beergarden, Part 1

Beer to the north of us, beer to the south of us...if you visit the fine German city of Munich, you'll be surrounded by the stuff and it's all good. A lot of it is great. And some of it is just about Heaven in a Stein. How appropriate that a liter (or litre) glass (or stein) of Bavarian suds is known as a Mass (or Maß as it's spelled in Germany) since it's bordering on a religious experience when the beer is right. And Munich gets it so right!

I was fortunate to visit three particularly wonderful Munich beergardens in July of 2009. In this chapter, we'll head north via the city's super transit system to check out one of them, the Sankt Emmerams Mühle. On a city map, it appears tucked away on a distant shore of the river Isar, way to the north of the Englischer Garten - but it's not really difficult to access. Just take the U-Bahn line #6 north to Studentenstadt station, then transfer onto the #50 bus in the direction of Johanneskirchen. Just two stops will take you onto a highway, then across the river and back south along the far side. Jump off and walk westbound downhill at St Emmerams Strasse, and there you are: a pleasant outdoor garden that seats well over a thousand thirsty visitors. Many are locals who have cycled in from wherever, and a few brave souls will even try to park in the vicinity.

"Mühle" means "Mill", and this was the site of a paper mill for many years. Beer and food have been part of the complex for well over a century, and although the old mill buildings survive to this day, this is now a beergarden only. And what a spot! It's a Spaten garden, featuring the fine beers of this famous member of the Munich Big Six breweries. If you are a wheat beer fan, you can indulge in a Franziskaner Weissbier. I'm there for the Helles, however, and here's the pot at the end of my rainbow - a nice maß of lager!

What a treat! I've had past experiences with Spaten where the beer has been something less than ideal - well, let's just use the word "stale" and be done with it. No worries at St. Emmerams Mühle, where the Spaten was tasty, fresh, cool and delicious. And the appearance of that book at the far right of the photo means it's time for me to once again plug Larry Hawthorne's wonderful The Beer Drinker's Guide to Munich, the book that led me to this and several other wonderful Munich beer spots I wouldn't have known about otherwise. If you're thinking of a Munich voyage, please do yourself a huge favour and track down the Guide. I've mentioned it in earlier posts - don't forget, your copy will have coupons for FREE BEER in selected beergardens, AND THIS IS ONE OF THEM! Yes, I enjoyed that lager for half-price!

I've gone on and on about a Yuk/Yummy Scale of Beery Goodness, and although I find it hard to give anyplace a Perfect 10, it's easy to award Sankt Emmerams Mühle a 9, maybe a 9.5 for ambience, friendly staff, and delicious beer. It's a lovely, and easy adventure away from Munich's inner city and I look forward to returning some sunny day.

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