So when I first moved to Italy and being the beer connoisseur that I am, I bought this beer guide book for Munich since it’s only 5 hours away… and Italy isn’t really known for it’s beer. Since then, I think I’ve found my favorite watering hole with this book… and it isn’t even in Munich! Dare I say it (sorry Limey), I actually like this place more than the original Hofbrauhaus in Munich (which is pretty awesome in and of itself).
I introduce to you the ‘Shtiner as I call it… or the Augustiner Brewery in Salzburg, Austria: renowned for it’s awesome beer garden. In the summer, you can hang outside in the beer garden that overlooks the entire city of Salzburg because Augustiner Brewery/Monastery sits atop a cliff. Yes, the brewery is the chapel/monastery that I’m pointing at:
I can’t totally throw Munich under the bus. Apparently the true beer was founded there by the Augustinian monks around 1328. I guess in 1621, the Archbishop of Salzburg was jealous of the success of the Munich Brewery and ordered some of Munich’s Augustinian monks over to Salzburg to set up shop there. And the rest is history. You enter the front door of the Monastery and are greeted by steps taking you into the bowels.
What makes this Austrian sanctuary stand out from all the offerings (including Augustiner) in Munich? All those in Munich are sit-down-and-order-your-food restaurants. Augustiner in Salzburg is a fend-for-yourself place. You get your food from hot dog stands in the halls of the Monastery. It’s not brought to your table. It varies from bread stands, pretzels, and a few butcher stands (the pork knuckle, introduced to me by Pam’s Dad, is great I might add…). You grab it as you make your way deeper into the Monastery:
As you continue, you come across endless shelves of mugs. You pick the size you want (liter or half-liter) and grab it off the shelf. You take your mug over to the nearby fountain and rinse it out yourself.
Proceed over to the “beerman” you see in the back of the picture to the left once you have a clean mug. The guy’s only job: change out the oak kegs, pound the spouts into the new kegs with a wooden hammer, fill your steins, and pull the spouts when the kegs run dry and get new oak barrel kegs. It’s awesome… and he fills your mug to the point where the suds overflow the sides.
Unfortunately, I’ve only been here in the Winter when the Beer Gardens are not open. The good news is this place has four large Beer Halls when the weather is unaccommodating. Like all Beer Halls, the seats are not spoken for. You sit where seats are open, to include even sharing the table with strangers.
English Ales will always be my favorite, but Augustiner’s lagers provide the perfect quench that you’re yearning for. Moreover, I love the Beer Hall fend-for-yourself atmosphere of the Augustiner in Salzburg… and that makes the beers there taste that much better. Cheers and Prost to that!