This is the tenth post in the London & Munich series. Other posts in this series include The Square, Dinner by Heston Blumenthal, Exploring London by Foot, Alain Ducasse, Marcus Wareing, Classic Munich Beer Houses: Hofbrauhaus & Wirtshaus, Viktualienmarkt and De Pschorr, Chinesischer Turm Beer Garden, and Visiting the Residenz and lunch at Spatenhaus
Living in a country that's less than 250 years old, I'm not used to seeing buildings or establishments that have been around for close to a thousand years. At most, we have certain well-known places, like Harvard University (right near my home), that have been around for maybe closer to 500 years. And that is already really old for us!
On our last full day in Munich, based on a recommendation from a beer-obsessed bartender friend, we hopped on a train (the S-bahn) and traveled 45 minutes to the outskirts of Munich to a cute little town named Freising.
There, we would visit the site of the Benedictine Monastery, Weihenstephan Abbey, which, to this day, houses the oldest continuously serving brewery in the world.The Monastery at Weihenstephan was first established between 811 and 835. The Brewery was officially established in 1040, although there are records going back to 768 referring to a hops garden that paid tithe to the monastery.
Today, the brewery is state-owned and is part of a larger entity that also includes the monastery and the Technical University of Munich, Life Sciences school.
To get to the brewery, take the S1 train to the last stop, Freising. From there, it's about a 25-minute pleasant walk through the quaint town to get to the the brewery.
Make sure you're at least somewhat fit, since the brewery is at the top of a hill, and the path is basically an incline the whole way up.
It's a pretty walk, though.
When you finally reach the top, you'll come upon the main building that houses the beer garden, small gift shop, and various restaurants.
This is the entrance! Taxis will drop you off here if you don't feel like walking 25 minutes and hiking up the steep hill.
If you want to purchase beer to take home, head across the street to the main shop. It has limited hours, open only on weekdays from 10am - 1 pm and 2pm - 5 pm.
The inside is crazy, full of crates and crates of beer. The prices are very good here, and we definitely saw some locals drive up in their trucks to take home many crates of beer!
Of course, we had to fly back to the U.S., so we only bought a couple bottles and steins as gifts.
The view from the store.
After shopping, head on back to the main brewery house to catch dinner and drinks! You can see Bryan is holding bags full of beer and souvenirs.
If you missed the hours of the main store, don't worry! There is also a gift shop inside the restaurant. It's more geared towards tourists who want branded souvenirs than the serious beer buyer.
Here you can get all sorts of glasses, steins, mugs, keychains, and other fun gifts to bring back.
There are multiple restaurants and eating areas in the building, but they are not all open all the time. Bryan and I came on a weekday afternoon when several of the restaurants/eating areas were not open for dinner yet. We ended up sitting in the beer garden and sampling many different types of beer.
While sipping on beer, enjoy this view from the top of the hill down into the Weihenstephaner campus.
Of course, we had to pair our delicious beer with pretzels!
We spent a couple hours there and tried several beers. The prices are pretty cheap, about 4-6 Euros for a liter of beer. Our of all the different types, the Vitus (a wheat beer) was my favorite, though I really enjoy all their beers.
If you have the time, definitely sign up for one of the tours. They are very limited and you must sign up a head of time here: Mondays at 10.00 a.m., Tuesdays at 10.00 a.m. and 01.30 p.m, and Wednesdays at 10.00 a.m.
We were unable to do a tour due to Bryan's work schedule, but we still enjoyed ourselves a lot just checking out the grounds and trying the beer. The town itself is quaint and beautiful, and the brewery campus is fun to explore.
We came at a funny time - a Monday afternoon on a cloudy/rainy day around 3PM. As a result, the beer garden was pretty empty. I am betting that if you came on a weekend or even closer to dinnertime, the place would be a much more festive and bustling place. I would recommend trying to come at a more popular time, since half the fun of sitting in a beer garden is to be around other people in a lively environment.
On a side note, the brewery is actually really close to the airport. It might not be a bad idea to visit this place on your way to or from the airport. If you have several hours in Munich on a layover, you can even consider coming here!
The beer here turned out to be one of my favorites in all of Munich. The location is fun. I would have loved to do the tour, but I still enjoyed the visit despite missing out on the tour. Essentially, the fantastic beer and pretty walk totally made up for it.
Weihenstephan Brewery Munich