Richelbräu: Munich’s basement microbrewery

Richelbräu Munich

One of the first things you learn living in Munich is that the city has six big important breweries (Hofbräu, Augustiner, Paulaner, Hacker-Pschorr, Löwenbräu, and Spaten). These breweries own most of the beer gardens and beer halls, their beer is served in most local restaurants, and they are the only breweries allowed to sell beer at Oktoberfest. All this local beer pride seems a little silly once you realize Continue reading

Oktoberfest tips for introverts and agoraphobes

Oktoberfest tips

Heading into our fifth (and final) Oktoberfest as locals, I’m starting to feel like quite the reluctant expert. Although I’ve had tons of fun at the festival each year, I’ve also had a couple of panic attacks (and more than a couple near-panic-attacks) at the wiesn. I absolutely hate crowds. With more than 7 million people attending Oktoberfest each year, it can be kind of tricky to avoid them. Over time I’ve learned how avoid the parts I hate, and enjoy the parts I like.  Continue reading

Urban surfers and other notes from a Munich summer

Biergarten staples

Before I go back to chronicling our Italian road trip, I thought I’d remind our readers that we do, indeed, still live in Munich, despite the fact that we haven’t blogged about it in months. We’re half-way into our fifth year in the Bavarian capital. Spargelzeit had just come to an end, and biergarten season is in full swing. Every single public place has at least one TV in it, lest a moment of Euro Cup soccer go unwatched.  Continue reading

The most wunderbar time of the year

Christmas in Munich

It’s time for my annual I-love-Christmas-in-Germany post. The Christmas markets opened last week, looking much as they do every year. I’ve noticed a couple new stands here and there, but for the most part everything is in its place. Now if we could just have some snow to make them even cuter, I’d be in heaven.

Gluehwein at Der Pschorr

I’ve written several posts about the markets over the years, such as this one about the best Munich Christmas markets for pretty much everything (or you could just view all my posts about Christmas markets). One stop I haven’t talked about yet (but is worth a mention) is the Alpen Wahn, a cozy little stand outside Der Pschorr serving red and white glühwein until 11pm each night (which is later than most of the other markets are open). Look for it at the north end of the Schrannenhalle, just off the Viktualienmarkt.  Continue reading

Oktoberfest: getting your weißbier on

drinking weissbier at Oktoberfest

You may have heard that you need to be sitting inside (or on the terrace of) a tent to be served beer at Oktoberfest. This is mostly true. Indeed, it is the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on a big old maß (liter) of special Oktoberfest brew. But if you don’t mind drinking weißbier (wheat beer) in small vessels (only half liter), head for one of the many outdoor stands that serve it up. You’ll need to drink your weißbier in the general vicinity of where you bought it, but these little areas are often quite pleasant places to hang out. I tend to prefer them to the hot, loud, sweaty insides of a tent, especially on a beautiful sunny day. Continue reading

Oktoberfest 2011: same procedure as every year

upstairs at the Ochsenbraterei

This is our fourth Oktoberfest as locals. Since leaving my parents’ house at 18, I’ve never lived anywhere else for more than three years, so this is kind of weird for me. I’m not used to doing things for a fourth time.

But here I am, getting out the dirndl (paired with sensible shoes for dancing on wooden benches) for Oktoberfest number four. Conversations with friends all include an exchange of details about which tents we will be in on which nights. The guest room is booked for almost a month straight with various configurations of friends and family. Continue reading

The real dance moves you need for Oktoberfest

No matter what lazy travel writers want you to believe, there’s no Chicken Dance at Oktoberfest in Munich. If anyone tries to tell you otherwise, stop taking their travel advice immediately, lest you start looking like an arm-flapping fool everywhere you go. Instead, spend your Oktoberfest prep time (only a week to go!) learning these dances, which are sure to come in handy in each and every tent. Continue reading

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