What to Drink in Munich

Munich is a funny city in that you can drink pretty much wherever you want; there are stalls at train stations, in subways, on the street, in the museum, and in the parks. Actually, drinking with friends is done especially well in the parks at beer gardens. Now that I’ve left Germany, the thing I will most likely miss most is sitting under the wide fronds of a fragrant chestnut tree eating and drinking with friends in a manner which is more socially acceptable than here in America.

But what do you drink when you’re there?

Style Plato alc.vol description
Pils 11.5-12º 5-5.2% Hoppy, thin, pale lager.
Helles 12.5º 5.2% Pale, malty, lightly hopped.
Spezial 13º 5.7% Pale, full, bitter-sweet and delicately hopped.
Oktoberfest 14º 6% Pale and sweetish.
Dunkles 12.5º 5.2% Red-brown, nutty, malty and lightly hopped.
Bock 16.5º 6.5% Pale, amber or dark, bitter-sweet.
Doppelbock 18.5º 8.5% Red- or dark brown, fruity, bitter-sweet, alcohol and concentrated dark malt flavours
Helles Weißbier 12.5º 5.4% Pale, spicy, high CO2 content, yeasty.
Dunkles Weißbier 12.5º 5.4% As above, but dark.
Kristall Weißbier 12.5º 5.4% The filtered version, almost always pale.
Weizenbock 16.5-18.5º 6.5-8.5% Usually dark, with even more spiciness than the weaker versions.

(Table found at Munich Breweries)

The strange thing about Munich compared to America is that if you go into a beer garden or a beer hall and look at the menu, it will look very similar to this table, without some of the superfluous information. There will be no choice as to brands of beer, because each resturant, brewery, and beer garden chooses a brand–from the most upscale resteuarnt to the most casual cafe. This is indicated outside the restaurant by a sign showing the brewery’s logo, for instance, the Spaten brewery’s logo is a digging spade. This can be a good thing to remember if you’re in Munich and are more concerned with the style of beer you are drinking than the food you are eating. In my opinion, the best beer I had in Munich was Augustiner (one hopes that after creating beers for so many hundreds of years (since the 1300s!) they would be the best).

A weißier, or wheat (white) beer, is a cloudy, sunny beer which generally comes in a half liter glass–something very important to know if you really want to drink out of a Maß, which is the “comedy” gigantic beer mug. Pils and Helles are the two other usual beers, both of which can be drank out of the gigantic beer mug. Helles, in my opinion, is slightly hoppier and therefore more appropriate for summer drinking. The dunkels and bocks may be more appropriate for winter drinking, as they are darker and maltier than the pils, helles, and weißiers.

But wait! There’s more! There’s also Radler and Diesel. I didn’t try the diesel, which is beer+cola combo, but the lemonade+beer radler is completely amazing, having neither the specific taste of lemonade nor beer. I feel as though that stuff could get a bit dangerous after a few Maßs.

Cocktails? I guess. But they, on average, cost from 7-9 Euro. Which is too much for me.

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