The Hofbrauhaus is known for its traditional German beer, served in large beer steins. // © 2011 Hofbrauhaus
If walls could talk, the walls of Hofbrauhaus Munchen would probably never be quiet. The beer hall in Central Munich has been open for more than 400 years and has been the center point of many historical events. It even helped save the city from being pillaged and plundered. During the Thirty Years War in 1632, when the Swedish occupied Munich, Hofbrauhaus made a deal to give them 1,000 buckets of beer in exchange for not ransacking the entire city. Now that has to be some good beer.
The site was once owned by the Duke of Bavaria and, over its long history, Hofbrauhaus has been a place of enjoyment for locals, royalty and even world-famous individuals, including Mozart. Much of the property was destroyed during World War II; however, renovations were complete in 1958 and, today, it is operated and owned by the Sperger Family.
Hofbrauhaus is not just a historic beer hall — it’s a brewery, beer garden and restaurant. On my recent trip to Germany, I had the opportunity to see Hofbrauhaus for myself. When I walked in, I was dazzled by the sheer size of the establishment. The event hall, which can cater to 1,300 people, features tall, vaulted ceilings. There are also a number of entertainers, including oompah bands, who perform daily at Hofbrauhaus. Ceilings are incredibly high, carrying the subtle echoes of clinking bier steins, and beautiful paintings line the walls. All of the servers wear traditional German clothing that can make any tired traveler feel as if he has been transported back in time. The atmosphere is casual, with many tourists stopping in for a meal of Bavarian salt pork knuckle, Munich-style sauerbraten, sausages or huge pretzels and a stein filled with weissbeir, Bavaria’s famous wheat beer.
I enjoyed sampling the Hofbrauhaus’ meat, potatoes and sauerkraut. A word to the wise: It is too easy to wash down all that yummy traditional German food with lots of beer. However, beer at the Hofbrauhaus (and within most of Germany for that matter) has a significantly higher alcohol content than American beer. It is not uncommon to see some Americans stumble out of the restaurant singing “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.”