Bavaria, and Munich in particular, is perhaps most famous for beer. The Oktoberfest, the biggest party in the world, has been held here every year since 1833, but the brewing goes back much further than that. Most breweries were founded by monks or royalty as a way to find a replacement for food during Lent, to make money or to kill time. There are over 700 breweries in Bavaria, making up 30 percent of breweries worldwide and they produce around 40 different kinds of beer. Another interesting statistic: Bavaria serves about 2.7 billion litres of beer annually, 500 million of which are consumed in the two-week long Oktoberfest. Find an overview of Munich brew houses in our restaurant section. One... two.. three... down the hatch!
The Reinheitsgebot purity law, decreed by Duke Wilhelm IV in 1516, states that only four ingredients are allowed in the beer brewing process: water, hops, yeast and barley (malt). German beers brewed abroad, like Löwenbräu, have added preservatives, which double the hangover effect.
All of Bavaria’s 40 types of beer belong to two main types of beer; lager and ale.
Ale is the oldest type of beer and involves the top fermentation process where yeast floats in the brew and is used to transform sugars into alcohol. It contains barley, hops, and water. This method was popular in the early days due to the fact that it isn’t temperature sensitive, and therefore can be brewed at any time of year. In Germany it is known as Altbier (old beer), although it is virtually non-existent in Bavaria. Most English beers and American micro brews belong to this type.
Lager beer was invented in the 19th century in Plzen, Czech Republic, hence the name Pilsener. It involves a different method of fermentation where yeast settles at bottom.