Category Archives: Lager

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.


VedettWent to Southsea between Christmas and New Year to visit a friend and we had lunch at the excellent Southsea Beach Cafe fish and chips and a pint of beer.  Well the pint of beer was Vedett extra blond.  Never heard of it?  Well it comes from Belgium and from the brewers of Duval and is an excellent larger – keeps it’s sparkle to the end of the glass and is really refreshing.  So when I got home I went to their site – it’s worth a visit and they will even customise packs of beer for you.  Interesting and unusual.  Very impressed!

Alternative Efes

IMG_20140910_204732110So many of us have had Efes in Turkey and obviously Turkish restaurants, but I was surprised to find different versions on aIMG_20140914_221046405 recent trip to Istanbul.   For the first three nights we stayed in the outskirts of the New City in a very new Hilton.  Amazing views from the top floor Executive Lounge (the bonus of having loads of points); anyway endless drinks and messe one of which was Efes light (sorry about the photo).  Then one evening after a very nice meal in the Old City (the New City is for anything newer than the 15th century) we climbed up to a roof terrace overlooking the Hagia Sophia and had a lovely view and a couple of drinks.    Here I cam across Efes Dark which reminded me of a German Alt beer from Frankfurt the name of which I can’t remember (all I can think of is Henniger but according to their website there’s no Alt – so suggestions please).    If you go to Istanbul go to Topkapi but go early and go immediately to the jewels and work backwards that way you avoid the bus tours who do everything in strict order.


IMG_20140821_114353133We went to Split for the Bank Holiday weekend.  Prices are a refreshing change from the usual Euro nonsense.  I’m afraid the beer we sampled was all much of muchness and so we probably didn’t hit the right spots.  (Red wines were very good too).  The half litre sampled here was excellently cold and very refreshing and we spent a happy lunch hour drinking several only interrupted by a sudden downpour.  Would recommend Split but try for a quieter hotel away from the main tourist streets.

Curious Brew Larger

Curious BrewI was bought this for my birthday – what a find!  It really is something different: basically a larger but with a very clean, refreshing taste.   It’s brewed with two different hops but then there is a twist; according to the label it is re-pitched with Champagne yeast and finally given a “dosage” of rare and fragrant Nelson Sauvin hop.

Now I’m not completely sure what all this means or ho it works but the result is excellent.  It isn’t strong so doesn’t have the bad after taste that some beers do.  Well worth a try.  Brewed in Kent by Chapel Down Group who primarily make wines but check out all the Curious Brews.


Ah yes Duvel!  I first had Duvel when I started working in Brussels – we were frequent visitors to the James Tavern in Rue de Commerce in Brussels.  I had a few of these one night and didn’t know what had hit me!  This is a light beer easy to drink but strong at 8.5%.  Should be drunk in a globe type glass which is slightly flared at the top – I didn’t have one so had to use a chunky wine like glass, should have used a Palm glass (I’ll get round to Palm when I find some in the UK or get over to Belgium again) but I forgot I had them.  I love the taste which belies it’s strength, ideal first beer after work.

I’ve never seen this or tasted it but now you can get Duvel on draught, let me know where in London and I’ll give it a go.


This was the strongest of the three beers from La Brasseries Rouget de Lisle that we tried at a small restaurant in the Franche-Comte area of France (think Comte cheese).  The area is not well visited by the British but a holiday area for the Dutch and Germans.  The brewery is based at the foot of the Jura mountains and produces a range of beers reviewed here.

The Blonde was in my view the nicest of the ones we tried and was strong and well flavoured and a very acceptable alternative to the regular pression beers we get in France.  Of the three we tasted this afternoon this was the one that I would go back for.  Probably best served with a strong hard local cheese!

No special glass required but as can be seen from the pictures there is a brewery specific tumbler.