I used to regard the Weisses Bräuhaus in Munich mostly as a place to sit outside of on a lovely summer's day, while watching the traffic go past. You can't really watch the people on the pavement, as most seats face the wrong way. It isn't in the most picturesque of locations in fact, though the building itself is quite grand. Why not sit inside then? Well, until the smoking ban, it was really rather a hell hole, with a leather curtain always drawn over the door and a fug that required an iron lung to negotiate. Then there was the beer, a kind of muddy wheat beer, which was neither dunkles nor helles.
The Weisses Bräuhaus was the brewing home of Schneider und Sohn until one gloomy night in 1944, when the brewery in Tal and the Weisses Beer Hall were destroyed in an RAF air raid. It had somehow managed to survive around 10 major raids before its luck finally ran out. The company then, as now, owned a brewery in Kelheim in the countryside and all operations were moved there. The pub was rebuilt after the war, but the brewery never was. Now Schneider is a major player in the wheat beer game and the Kelheim brewery is extensive and modern. The beer range has been modernised too and now that the smoking ban is firmly in place, the doors have been flung open and a bright but traditional interior revealed.
We went mob handed on a very wet Saturday, though I had sneaked a couple of beers outside earlier in the week in warm sunshine and I was astonished at the improvement in both beer and pub. I reckon they must have a new brewer along with the new range. Original is firmly auburn in colour with orange highlights. Full bodied, slightly bitter, not too heavily carbonated, with heady banana and clove esters and is very moreish. It may well be brewed to the original 1872 recipe, but I reckon someone has tidied up the processes. There is a pale version too and a green one, as in organic. Aventinus, a weizenbock, still sets the mark for beers of this style. 8.2%, complex and dangerously drinkable, this is one not to miss. Nor should you miss Hopfenweisse with its distinct American hop nose and IPA like drinking, but with obvious wheat undertones. It is a stunning beer and markedly different to anything you'll encounter in Bavaria, but again at 8.2%, not for the unwary. It is temptingly only 30c or so more than the Original, which may or may not encourage recklessness.
Food here is superb, the dirndled waitresses a mix of matronly and young, the customers the same and the place is jumping at all times with a great atmosphere. Don't miss it if you go.
The photo shows various stammtisch or locals table "markers". When the group come on, say, a Tuesday night, out comes their particular sign to reserve it.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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