With my affinity for all things Belgian, I used to think German beer was overrated. Some may be, Augustiner Bräu is not. The Augustinian Brotherhood of monks began brewing Augustiner beer at their monastery near Munich’s cathedral in 1328. This makes it Munich’s oldest brewery. In 1803, secularization and subsequent privatisation led to it becoming a privately owned company: Augustiner Bräu. It has been at Neuhauser Straße since 1885. It was majorly damaged during the Second World War, but was rebuilt.
Today it is one of the six official beers that produce beer for Octoberfest, but Augustiner beer sets itself apart by being old school. Most German breweries made their bottles slimmer and gave them a more modern design. Augustiner kept their traditional form, known as the “Bauarbeiterhalbe” (construction worker’s half liter).
If it’s so historic and the beer is so great, why haven’t you heard of it? He says that the Germans are greedy and keep all the good stuff for themselves. Another reason might be that Augustiner Bräu doesn’t have an advertising department. In fact, they don’t advertise (with the exception of a website). Bavarians love it so much, they don’t need to.
Augustiner is considered the last truly local Munich brewery. If you are in Munich, you can sample the tasty beverage at the brewery’s internal tavern, the “Bräustüberl”, at the Landsberger Straße. Michael Jackson’s The New World Guide to Beer he described it as “[t]he most elegant place devoted to the consumption of beer in Munich is Augustiner’s 1890’s Restaurant on Neuhauser Strasse.” It’s less touristy than the Haufbrauhaus and, well, you know how I feel about the beer. Proust!
Augustiner is very good and their Biergarten in Munich is a lot of fun.
Stateside, Weihenstephaner seems to be pretty easily found. I’m not sure how Germans like it, but their Dunkel Hefeweissbier is one of my all time favorite beers.