For most visitors to Munich, a couple of days at Oktoberfest or a few hours in the city’s famed beer gardens is enough to satisfy curiosity about the local brewing culture. But for the true beer connoisseur, a tour of Munich’s major breweries is in order. Locals talk about the “big six” breweries, however consolidation and the fact that Augustiner doesn’t offer tours means that you effectively have a choice of visiting three major brewing sites. It will require a bit of planning, so it’s a good idea to book before you get to Munich. Needless to say there are samples at the end of each tour, but remember the minimum age is 16 except for Löwenbräu, where it’s 18.
Visit the home of the ubiquitous lion, one of the world’s most recognizable brews. These days the company also incorporates Spaten and Franziskaner varieties. After an informative film, there’s a stroll through 600-odd years’ worth of brewing tradition in the museum before seeing the amber liquid making its way into bottles. Unless you’re part of a group, you’ll need to book for a Saturday, or the first Friday of the month.
The Hofbräuhaus is central Munich’s most famous tavern but the label’s brewery on the eastern outskirts of the city is full of gleaming metal pipes and the highest of high-tech spinny, movey squirty things. If NASA made beer…well, they probably wouldn’t make it to the Moon so often but their brewery might well look something like this. English-language tours from Tuesday to Thursday.
Visit Bavaria’s largest brewery on a one-and-a-half hour tour, including a short film and tasting afterwards. Offerings range from the light flagship brew to the heavy-hitting, high-alcohol Salvator, and now also the venerable Hacker-Pschorr varieties. Tours are held on weekday afternoons.