Author Archives: woodmead

2018 – Augustiner Keller Munich

Was in Munich again this year for the Oktoberfest but arrived earlier than my friend coming on the bus from Switzerland.  So having dropped my luggage at the hotel I headed off to the central bus station (right by Hackerbruke S-Bahn station).  We had decided to meet in the Augustiner Keller gardens which is a great place to meet or just to go.  Although this is just about 1Km from the fest it was completely deserted Sunday lunchtime.

Significantly the price of a beer is much less than at the fest but of course there is no atmosphere.  Also they sell halves which might be important if you are “recovering”.  This was my first beer of the day and I have to say was delicious.  We later found that it tastes even better from the earthen ware jugs.  I made sure that I sat under an umbrella here as the conkers are a problem (and painful).  Returned here on our last day for lunch before boarding the bus, the front entrance with waitress service is recommended for eating.

There is a separate part of the fest called the Oide Wiesn which you pay to enter, but here there is a separate, calmer, world with two or three tents, old fashioned rides and crucially beer in earthen ware steins.  One of these tents is an Augustiner tent if it’s your favourite like mine.  Music is also tradition and we saw a remarkable demonstration of musical whip cracking – see this old youtube clip.

Just 10 more years to the 700th anniversary of this brewer – Be there!

Oktoberfest report 2017

Arrived in Munich airport stupid early having got up at 4am UK time.  Not scheduled to meet my friend until close to midday, so took the leisurely bus into the Hauptbahnhof (€10.60 – remember this figure more later).  Wandered around the shops under the station looking for bottles of water, all the main shops closed because it’s Sunday so only expensive convenience stores.  Walked up to the bus station to meet him, thought I’d get a beer.  Now the bus station is super busy but again the shops are shut (there is a Lidl there but not going – people don’t need supplies before getting on a bus for a few hours).  So got a beer from the cafe and sat outside waiting.

Once we met up we went to the Augustiner beer garden opposite the bus station for a quick couple of halves.  Then walked on to the Lowenbrau garden for lunch.  Good to see that you can now order half a schweinhaxen ‘cos a full one is a Sunday roast for six!  Always order bratkartoffeln because generally everything comes with potato slop.

Sunday evening at the fest but sadly raining for the early part, so in walking there ended up at a small microbrewery which served several beer types made on the premises.  Not my favourite but welcome relief from the rain.  Entrance to the fest area is well controlled by the police: bag checks etc.  We spent most of the evening at the Old Oktoberfest (Oide Wiesn).  You pay €3 to get in but the big plus is that it is quieter, so can get a seat inside easily which is important if it’s raining and plus the beer is served in earthen ware mugs which for some reason tastes better and keeps cool longer.   Bad news is the music is a bit “traditional” too.   Back to local pub at chucking out time.

Monday went to a long walk by the river and finally crossing over at the Stauwehr Weir into the Englisher Garten where we stumbled across the Mini Hofbrauhaus.  Nice lunch sitting in the sunshine place is very popular with dog walkers but all very well behaved dogs.

Back to the fest and first a visit to Marstalls (used to be Hippodrome), nice Spartenbrau and great heaters in the garden.  After a couple we go off for our traditional fish supper, a great, and expensive treat, we share barbecued sea trout.

All the fish is cooked on metal sticks over the coals or on a gas BBQ.  The taste is fantastic cooking in its own oils quite slowly.


More beer at Paulaner before ending up at the Lowebrau tent.  Now this is the place for atmosphere and music.   See a rather drunken video below.

Couple of shots on the way back to the pub then off to the hotel.

Tuesday is all about going home, couple of beers at the Augustiner garden, which is massive and empty with good beer, have to dodge the falling conkers though!  I took the bus to Stuttgart airport  because the flight back was cheaper, this bus was €9.60; compare this to the bus from Munich airport at the start of this blog.  It’s five or six times the distance!  It seems long distance buses are reasonable in mainland Europe.

Needless to say the plane is delayed over an hour and the restaurant closes at something like 8pm, did manage to get a Dinkelacker, a beer with a personal history involving Liverpool football match in the early 80’s!  No I won’t tell.

If you’ve never been you should….

Ch’ti Blonde

A friend brought round this beer a couple of weeks ago and it’s been sitting in the fridge.  I’d never heard of this French brewery but it’s really excellent.  Even though it’s 6.4% its quite drinkable and the taste is not badly affected.  Lovely clean and refreshing when served cold.

I’ve done a little online research and I think it’s going to be best to make a trip to buy this as it’s about 2 euros more buying in the UK.  Anyway there are also several other beers from this brewery to try and so a full car is probably order of the day.  Visit the brewery website for the full range. I can’t wait to try some more.

Excellent! Five stars.

Banks’s Amber Bitter

Tried this Amber beer mainly because it was the cheapest on offer at Morrisons.  It’s not strong at 3.8% and initially I thought this is very pleasant and might be something that could accompany a lazy afternoon and BBQ but by the time I had got to the bottom of the glass I was detecting a slight aftertaste that I found unpleasant.  I had decided against it.  I do have a second bottle and I will try it again because it could be a fault.  This comes from the Marston family of breweries and they are normally super reliable with their draught beers – of course anyone who tried to make sense of who’s bought who in brewing will have a hard time (see Wikipedia if you don’t believe me).

Badger – Poacher’s Choice

This is quite a strong flavoured ale (they call it a ruby beer).  It’s also quite strong at 5.7%.   The neck label says Fruity Plumage and it says it all.  I found this too sweet and too fruity, in fact I really didn’t like it and it’s the first beer in a long time that I haven’t been able to finish.  Maybe it suits you, but too far away from my taste for me to buy again.

Whitstable Bay Pale Ale

Last night I sampled the Faversham Brewery’s Whitstable Bay Pale Ale.  This is a light and easy to drink ale and full of aromatic hop flavours.  When I bought it I assumed it came from Whitstable and I was drawn to it because of two memorable incidents: my first Cub Scout camp was just outside Whitstable and we sampled winkles from a stall on the sea front – weird! And secondly my wife and I stayed in a small cottage just behind the high street in Whitstable that had a round jacuzzi bath in the kitchen where we enjoyed gin and tonics before heading off the jazz bars – more weird!  Anyway it turns out this is brewed by Shepherd Neame in Faversham and very good it is too.  Sensible 4% and, I know this is really irrelevant, but I like the clear bottle – allows you to see the colour of the beer.

Wadworth IPA

 I saw this bottle in Sainsbury on the reduced shelf by the checkout (always check these for beer bargains because quite often one bottle falls out of a pack of four or six and they sell the remainder off with gaffer tape round them).  I have always associated Wadworth with 6x and the town of Devizes, the brewery being bang in the middle of the town.  Obviously they brew other beers and here is one a new experience for me.  It is not strong (3.6%) and is refreshingly easy to drink, and, as they say on the back of the bottle “a local session ale”.  I really liked this and although slightly malty its a nice change from the heavily flavoured craft ales.  I will seek out more of this, especially if it’s on draft or on the reduced shelf!  [Sadly Wadworth have no pubs in Surrey – we have beer drinkers here too]

13 guns

This one is a bit special!  13 guns apparently is a salute to the original 13 states of America, can you name them?  Hint: they are on the eastern seaboard.  Answer here.  It claims to the an American IPA which is a an interesting concept!  The first thing you notice is the almost overpowering hop flavours and slightly fruity finish.  I really like this beer but I think it’s one for small quantities as I think the hops would eventually be too much.  The label is full of technical data but really who cares because it’s all about the taste.  5.5% ABV.




Flack Catcher

This the second of the beers my son gave me at Christmas also from the three pack from the Flack Brewery (I’m working up from weakest to strongest although they are all much of muchness).  Not sure if I would chase it down but it’s perfectly fine drinking.  It says on the label that it is “smoothly spiced with a crisp bitter finish leading to an old fashioned zesty linger”.  Not sure what all that means but this is a pleasant golden ale more ale than golden though.    4.4% ABV.