On the way out to England, we planned our trip around some not-so-well-known gems of German drinking mecca. The two places we picked were completely devoid of tourists and were places typically only the locals knew about. I like that. So, if you’re ever in the area and feel like drumming to a different sort of beat (ie, the non-touristy thing), then I encourage you to visit the following:
About an hour south of Munich lies the sleepy town of Tegernsee (pronounced Tea-gern-say”) at the base of some hills and a lake. It’s a place for the locals of Munich to escape: there’s a direct train from Munich that will drop you off right into the heart of the small town. It’s a Bavarian ski destination in the winter.
The Bräustüberl is on the shore of the lake. Below, you see it in a winter wonderland; in the summer, it’s just as beautiful with the surrounding nature. It’s not very touristy because it’s well overshadowed by it’s big brother: Munich.
The Bräustüberl (Beer Hall in English) had its beginnings around 746 AD (as opposed to Munich’s founding in 1158 AD). The Benedictine monks found the Tegernsee valley and decided to build a cloister along the lake shore. The Bavarian King thought it was some prime real estate, and every King, of course, gets whatever he wants since it was God’s direct will that made him King (swords and might had absolutely nothing to do with it). So the King took the cloister as a summer home. However, he was kind enough to keep the monks employed on their own property, as they began to brew their famous Tegernsee Helles. Once the brew gained greater popularity than the line of Kings, the monks once again gained the cloister and made it a school for children and a brewery. Centuries later, it was turned into the Beer Hall you can go to now.
The food is pretty good, and the suds are top-notch. I recommend the Dunkel because I tend to like the darker side of beers. I also recommend not driving there in the winter with a blizzard. It wasn’t fun.
Be careful asking the locals about this place. It lies about 30 minutes east of Bitburg (home of Bitburger, some of Germany’s not-so-good beer). On a quest to find this hidden establishment, a few of my friends asked about “Kloster Ma-kern” and the locals replied “we have lived here for 50 years and have never heard of such a place.” Once my buddies realized it was right across the river and pointed to it, those same locals were like “Ohhhhhh! Kloster Machhhheerrrrn! Why didn’t you say so! It’s right there!” (Apparently you need the same “ch” sound as a proper Israeli would say “humus”).
This great establishment started as the convent offshoot of a Cistercian (the Puritan version of the Benedictine) monastery. The hills held great vineyards, and around 1238 AD, the Nuns thought it a great idea to lay a foundation and establish their convent. The abbey for the convent, however, saw continued construction throughout the centuries, and wasn’t completed until the 1700s!! By 1800, there were only 6 nuns left in the convent. The abbey was promptly closed and used as a barn to house cows (I’m talking the animals, not overweight nuns) until about 1970. From there, some genius saw great beer brewing potential in it, and the rest is history.
So it doesn’t have the same age-old appeal of Tegernsee, but the interior fits the bill (and charm) for a brau-filled dining experience.
Below is the convent – it’s beautiful in person because it is housed against vineyard-laden hills. Obviously it’s not so spectacular in the middle of winter.
The food is on par with Tegernsee… it’s not 5-star, but it’s good hardy German fare. Again, I recommend the Dunkel; their beer, like Tegernsee, earns an “Excellent” on the Snakeye-beer-o-meter.