Sunday, 15 July 2012


It's boiling hot again. And Salzburg station is still a mess. Taking the rickety staircase over the tracks again, I spot something on top of the old glass canopy: a two-headed Austro-Hungarian eagle. You don't see those every day.

As I said before, I'm sure the station will be very nice when it's finished. One bit that is ready is a big Spar supermarket. Now that's handy. And it's open on Sunday, which is what today is. Best stock up for the journey. The beer selection isn't great, Eggenberg Urbock excepted.. But there is a good choice of 20 cl bottles of impulse schnaps. I'm soon sorted. Shit. What about food?

Not to worry. I'm bound to find something in Munich.

The air conditioning isn't working in the first carriage I sit in. Yet there's a girl with a blanket over her legs. And she's  sitting on the sunny side. Must be some sort of reptile.

The next carriage is much cooler. And has vacant seats. Just in front are two thirtyish heavy metal couples. One of the blokes is wearing headphones but I can hear the beat: chucka-chucka-chuck-chuck-chucka-chucka-chung-chucka-chucka-chuck-chuck. Sounds like a real toe-tapping tune.

Just over the German border the view is spectacular. The railway line hugs the edge of the Alps. Big, bulky rocky masses, like a row of crumbling office towers. This is fun. Especially as I've opened my schnaps. The spirity goodness is running through my veins and doing my spirit good. I'm not even sweating.

The countryside gets flatter and the mountains recede to the horizon as the train approaches Munich. I know exactly what I want to do once I hit town. Go to several pubs, drink lots of beer and eat loads of sausages. It's a simple plan. And one with a good chance of success. Pubs, beer and sausages aren't exactly rare in Munich.

My hotel not being far from Weisses Brauhaus, that seems the obvious place to start. It's busy, but not full. What beer do I want? I'm tempted to get an Eisbock. That's what I normally get. And an Aventinus schnaps to keep it company. Feeling adventurous, I choose a Hopfen Weisse instead. It's good. Shockingly good, with a mix of citrussy hops and wheat beer spiciness that I would never have expected to work.

Remember the sausage part of my plan? Weisses Brauhaus is the perfect place to implement it. They a have a sausage plate that's, er, a plate full of sausages. Exactly what I need.

I love Weisses Brauhaus. The feel, the look, the smell, the dirndls. I'll always pick a place with didndled waitresses above one where they wear normal clothes. Usually in Weisses Brauhaus you get waitresses the wrong side of fifty. Motherly women, who may frown when you order that fifth schnaps in half an hour. This time it's a young black woman who brings my food and beer. Very different.

There's an oompah band playing in the corner. Never seen that here before. All the musicians are drinking beer like sensible people. Being on the next table, they're difficult to ignore.

Next stop is a recent addition to my Munich circuit: Der Pschorr. It's a massive, modern, slightly trendy boozer in the Viktualienmarkt. It looks like it used to be a covered market. Yes, it's that big. Modern, trendy - doesn't sound like my sort of place, does it? There's one feature I haven't mentioned yet that makes it very definitely my sort of place: Bayerischer Anstich. There, sitting on the bar is a pot-bellied barrel from which Hacker-Pschorr Helles flows.

It's the afternoon lull between eating shifts. I take up a place inside close to the lovely barrel. All the other customers are ouside. Here it's just me and the staff. It being quiet, they're in a relaxed mood and having fun. As they evening shift arrives, they banter with the staff already on duty.

"We've 300 reservations for tonight, haven't we?"

"No. Only 284."

A third waiter says "All upstairs." He must be the downstairs waiter.

The barrel is smaller than when I've been here in the evening. Then it looks hogshead-sized, something like 200 litres. This one looks more like a firkin. The beer is soft, süffig and beautifully carbonated. It looks great in the glass. The way it tumbles and swirls from the tap reminds me of Ally Pally. And how Dunkirk Pale Ale looked as it was served by gravity. How can you get such a good head on beer served such a simple way.

While I'm hoovering up my beer the barrel finishses and a new one is rolled in. The theatre is another great thing about Bayerischer Anstich. The cermonial bringing in and lifting of the barrel. Then the ring of the tap as it's hammered home. It brings a tear to my eye and a lump to my wallet. Throat. That's what I mean. I'm always confusing wallet and throat. Or is it trousers?

I keep singing "Kinder an der Macht" to myself. They played it in Kachelofen in Pottenstein the other night. It literally brought tears to my eye. "Die Welt gehört in Kinderhände." Can't argue with that. Just let me dry my eyes a bit. Must have got some dust in them.

Next I head over towards the Hofbräuhaus. I'm not going in the Hofbräuhaus. I'd rather stick needles in my eyes. Or pull off my fingernails with pliers. I'm going somewhere much nicer. Where I'll get the only view of the Hofbräuhaus I like: from the outside. The terrace of Ayingers Speis und Trank is the perfect spot for that.

I order, just for a change, a Dunkles. It smells very milky. Like baby sick, but without the acidity. It doesn't taste like they sell very much. It's OK, apart from a slight acidity.

A large family of Spanish speakers are sitting opposite. I'd take a photo, but the father looks like a Columbian drugs baron. He might not take too kindly to being snapped. I quite like my lungs where they are inside my ribcage. Cute teenage daughter, too. Which is why I'm looking anywhere but her direction. I'd like to keep my dangly bits attached to my body.

My afternoon crawl ends in Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl. Tongue-twister of a name, but a lovely little pub. I had to come back. Twelve months ago I drank one of the year's most satisfying and enjoyable beers here. An unpretentious Augustiner Helles that hit the spot so hard it spent three months recovering in hospital. Mmm . . . Bayerischer Anstich. Not quite as orgasmic as last year. Still a lovely drop. Subtle without being bland. Best have a second to make sure it wasn't a one-off.

Time now for a quick lie down to recharge my batteries for the evening session. And to think about exactly which pubs I feel like hitting.

Weisses Bräuhaus
Tal 7,
80331 München.
Tel. 089 - 299 875
Fax: 089 - 290 13815

Der Pschorr
Viktualienmarkt 15,
80331 München.
Tel. +49 (0)89 / 5 18 18 500
Fax: +49 (0)89 / 5 18 18 545

Ayingers Speis und Trank
Am Platzl 1A,
80331 München.
Tel. 089 - 23 703 666
Fax: 089 - 23 703 800

Nürnberger Bratwurstglöckl
Frauenplatz 9,
80331 München (Munich).
Tel. 089 - 220385
Fax: 089 - 2904736

1 comment:

Unknown said...

der pschorr......nice helles from wood!