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Munich Beer and Breweries
From: Munich Travel Guide
Beer in Munich
"Munich" is to beer as "Hershey, Pennsylvania" is to chocolate: The city's six major breweries produce an estimated 600 million liters of beer annually, with about 20 percent being exported and another 30 percent consumed locally during Oktoberfest.
Munich beer tends to be lighter and less "hoppy" than beers from the Northern part of Germany, possibly because it's drunk in larger quantities: A standard Maß or measure is one liter, which is the smallest-size mug of Helles (light) or Dunkles (dark) beer available at the Hofbräuhaus, the most famous of Munich's beer halls.
But don't confuse Munich's big-name beers with Bud Lite: Alcohol levels can range up to seven percent, so treat your Maß with respect. (If you're driving, avoid beer altogether; the legal blood-alcohol level is .05 percent for most drivers, but it's zero percent for drivers who haven't been licensed for at least two years.)
Although the big industrial breweries dominate Munich's beer landscape, microbreweries have acquired a following in recent years. One of the best is the Airbräu restaurant and beer garden at Munich International Airport, whose master brewer--Christian Storcher--has won two gold medals from the German Agricultural Society (DLB).
If you enjoy learning about beer (as opposed to merely drinking it), spend an hour or so at the Beer and Oktoberfest Museum in Sterneckerstrasse, not far from the Viktualienmarkt. The museum has a wonderful video on beer-brewing, and it takes up several floors of the oldest house in Munich. It also has a pub on the premises. (Caution: Unless you're of medieval height, be careful not to bump your head on the ancient doorframes.)
Munich's annual Oktoberfest (which begins in late September) is the world's most celebrated beer bash. It's like the Texas State Fair of keggers, with beer tents that hold up to 10,000 drinkers (reservations advised), amusement-park rides, and even a campground for drinkers in the Olympic Horse Stadium.
For the full story, including links to festival-related Web sites, see our illustrated Oktoberfest Munich article.
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