The Session is a monthly beer blog carnival, that is, a beer-themed blog-off. This month is hosted by Brian of Red, White, and Brew. The prompt is located here and the roundup is here. He asks that everyone honor “Global Craft Beer Forever” and describe “the farthest brewery (including brewpubs) you have visited and specifically the best beer you had there” and then have that (or a similar one).
I believe that by great circle distance Munich is farthest. So Andechs monastery brewpub it is. This monastery not only makes some of the best beers in the Munich area, they also make amazing artisanal cheese. Taking the train from Munich, you walk through the quaint village of Herrsching and up a footpath through wonderful foliage. After a little while you come to the back wall of the monastery on top of the mountain. Continuing along the wall, eventually you make it to the original chapel and courtyard, complete with maypole. If you are able to hold your thirst, you’ll stop in and see how beautiful it is. If not, you’ll keep going to the beer garden that features a breathtaking view of the city 35 km (about 20 miles) away. Fortunately, there is a shuttle back to the train station because you’re going to need it after all the cheese and masses (that is, liters of beer).
My best story about Andechs is of my first visit. I had heard that it was at the end of the S5, but didn’t realize it was near Herrsching not Holzkirche. All I had heard was that there is a sign for the footpath right by the station. So my Aussie friend and I set out for a day trip. We rode all the way out to Holzkirche and walked around looking for any sign, finding none. So we inquired of the nice English-speaking clerk in the station café where the brewery was. It was quite fortunate that she realized what we were talking about, and even more fortunate that my buddy wasn’t really angry at me. After walking around the village waiting for the next train, we rode for about an hour and a half back through downtown Munich and out the other side to Herrsching. But it was more than worth the wait. The footpath up Andechs mountain is remarkably pastoral and the beer and cheese and sauerkraut are unmatched.
Andechs makes every standard Bavarian style and one interesting beer: a weiss with apples that you can only get there. Note that this is acceptable because the Reinheitsgebot (the German beer purity law) does not apply to wheat beer. But my favorite was their Dunkles Weissbier. As far as I am aware you can’t find it outside Germany, so I’ll have a bottle of another Munich dark wheat beer, the masterful Schneider Aventinus made by G. Schneider & Sohn. In 1907, disturbed by what she saw as a troublesome proliferation of light beers in Munich, Mathilde Schneider created the first strong wheat beer, the dark wheat-doppelbock Aventinus.
The Aventinus is a lightly hazy bronze-caramel color with a thick, honey-colored head. The aroma is big with bananas, strong malty caramel, and some toast.
The flavor is also strong with caramel and banana. It is somewhat sweet, but sufficiently carbonated so it is far from cloying. Light and playful, the Aventinus is somehow sessionable, even at 8.2% alcohol. This is what caused me plenty of trouble over in Munich.
The photos at Andechs are courtesy of my beer school friend Matt. Thanks Matt!