I drank beer at many (many, many, many) places in Munich and while the beer was almost always great there were definitely some winners and some losers. This list is only the winners in order of how much I liked loved them to help you plan your own trip to Munich!Read More
An easy train ride out of Munich, Freising (pronounced fry-sign) is a perfect day trip for beer lovers that want to get a little history in during their stay in Germany. Weihenstephan is the oldest continuously producing brewery in the world (a fact not easily forgotten as it is plastered all over the brewery campus) and is best known for its impeccably brewed wheat beers. Here’s what I suggest doing when visiting this picturesque town and historical brewery.
Explore the Town of Freising
Freising is a quaint German town that almost seems torn from a movie set (or maybe Disney World’s Epcot?). If you’re planning to tour the brewery, try to get an early train and give yourself a few hours to explore the old town area. The town square with three (beer serving!) cafes and the old church is a great place to relax, people watch, and take in the unique architecture and statues.
Go to an Eiscafe
I was shocked at how important ice cream is to the German diet. At any time of day, early morning, lunch time, very late at night, people are sitting outside eating massive ice cream sundaes. My friend who lives in Berlin laughed when I texted her on our second day in Germany “Ok, everyone is always eating ice cream? Or am I crazy?” She confirmed, yes in Germany, there’s no wrong time to eat an ice cream. Freising’s main road is lined with Eiscafes that are a little less commercial and more charming than the ones you’ll find in Munich, a perfect opportunity to try the mid-day ice cream trend...maybe the Germans are onto something with this??
Go To Das Bräustüberl Weihenstephan (The Brewery’s Restaurant)
It takes about 25 minutes to walk from the center of the town up to the brewery. If you’d rather skip the exercise, it’s easy to find a cab near the train station. It’s a bit of a steep walk, you’re mounting the hill that the brewery sits on, but the elevation also provides a unique view of the city and scenic gardens as you make your way toward Weihenstephan. If you have time before your tour definitely stop in at the restaurant for a few beers. There is counter service through a window out back in the garden or you can opt for a full blown table service lunch of traditional German fare and beer. Beers are affordable at around €4 a liter and the whole line of Weihenstephan beers are available. It was my first time having their pilsner and I gotta say...come for the wheat beer, stay for the pils!
Take a Brewery Tour
The tour may seem like the main event, and it may be that I’m a bit tour-ed out, but I would say the tour is rather generic. It is cool to see the old equipment and the “room where it’s made” but I didn’t learn anything new or specific to Weihenstephan. The tours happen Monday-Wednesday and are available in English so you can ask as many questions as you want...and take photos of course. Be sure to make a reservation, these tours fill up! It was a really hot day so being in the brew room was almost unbearable, on a cooler day I’m sure we would have spent more time there. In my opinion, you should opt for the tour with the tasting. The tasting at the end is where I learned the most about German drinking culture and got to see the “proper” pour of a wheat beer...yeast and all! Plus at just €9 for the tour, three bottles of beer, and a souvenir tasting glass it’s a great deal.
Enjoy the Views
Like I said, Weihenstephan (and the college campus it is a part of) is on top of a hill that overlooks Freising. There is a great little view from behind the restaurant, but don’t forget to take a few moments to walk around to the other outlooks. Behind the beer museum is an outlook that allows you to see for miles with all of the small towns and their cathedrals speckling the landscape. I might over romanticize it because I’m used to looking at NYC every day, but it’s literally less than a minute out of your way to give it a look.
Hit the Gift Shop
Speaking of walking around the campus, there is a small gift shop in the main restaurant, but there is a much larger gift shop (packed with beer!!) on the brewery campus. If you’re looking to bring home gifts for anyone or a few memories for yourself, it is definitely worth the stop. Pretty much every piece of merchandise is plastered with the “World’s Oldest Brewery” slogan which is pretty iconic if nothing else. Also a great place to grab a few really well made beers you can’t get in the states.
From Munich take the S1 train all the way to the end of the line. It’s about 40 minutes from the Marienplatz stop (in the center of the city’s old town). The trains are comfortable and air conditioned so it’s a relaxing trip.