Cheers to liquid gold

Kasturi Gadge | Updated on November 30, 2018

Fairy tale: A landscape from Nuremberg, known for its 16th century Christmas market

When in Bavaria, drink up

Bavaria in the South of Germany is a history lover’s delight. As you travel through the towns, you realise that each of them has preserved its heritage in a way that it transports you back in time. From freshly brewed beer at inns by the hills to towns that have houses with frescoed walls — Bavaria offers a real taste of German heritage. While most travellers visit the region for its Oktoberfest, the Christmas celebrations in Bavarian Germany are in fact just the way they are described in fairy tales. The old town of Nuremberg has been celebrating Christkindlesmarkt since the 16th century and is famous for its magnificence. The medieval town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber marks Christmas all through the year with its Rothenburg’s Reiterlesmarkt (Christmas market of Rothenburg), so one can imagine how seriously they dress up their town for the occasion. Needless to say, Bavarian Christmas sees a celebration like no other — with happy music, an unending supply of beers and great food.

So if you are a beer enthusiast visiting the land of liquid gold this holiday season (or any other time of the year), here are a few experiences that you must try out.

Kloster Ettal aka Ettal Abbey

Tell a beer purist about Abbey beers, and you will see their faces glow. Abbey beers are usually brewed by monks from various monasteries all over the world. While a few make beers only for their private consumption, some also sell them for the upkeep of an abbey. As you drive from Munich towards the Austrian border for the Bavarian Alps, you will cross a small town called Ettal.

The brewing life: Ettal Abbey is home country for a true blue beer lover


The principal attraction there is the Benedictine Abbey, which looks like a medieval castle. You can find beautiful baroque-style gold embossed paintings on the walls inside. The monastery runs a distillery, brewery and cheese factory along with a bookstore on the premises, and also hosts various art projects. You can buy their products at the bookstore or the restaurants at the monastery hotel called Ludwig der Bayer. Make sure that your visit coincides with the brewery tour days at the Kloster, for that will help you get a closer look at the life of the Abbey monks. If you are looking to bring a six-pack back home, Ettaler Kloster Dunkel is a good option.

Kaiser-Ludwig-Platz 1, 82488 Ettal. For more information, visit

Erdinger In Erding

Just a few kilometres from the Munich International airport is the small town of Erding — home of Erdinger beers.

The golden brew: The Erdinger brewery is the world’s largest brewery producing a diverse selection of the tipple


Said to be the world’s largest wheat beer brewery, it produces a wide selection of beers — such as the original Weissbier (a kind of wheat beer) that follows the Bavarian Purity Law, Urweisse that uses a 125-year-old recipe, good old Dunkel and a winter special Schneeweiße, a full-bodied amber-coloured beer with a higher alcohol content.


If you are in Munich, then a trip to nearby town Erding is a must, as the namesake brand also opens its doors to tourists who would like to watch the factory setup and working of the brewery. The guided tour will tell you more about the history of Erding, the local brewing process and conclude at a beer garden on the property where you get to sample all their beers with pretzels and sausages.

Sip while you sup: You can have your beer paired with dishes at Erdinger.


You could also visit the Erdinger Weissbrau, the brewery, to enjoy a lazy afternoon over a few pints. The décor of the Weissbrau adds to the charm with its vintage, cellar-style look, transporting you back to the ’80s. If you plan on spending a day at Erding, head over to Therme Erding — the world’s largest spa — for an experience of a lifetime.

Franz-Brombach-Str. 1-2085435 Erding, Germany. For more information, visit

A bike for good beer

Nuremberg, known for its old town architecture, is a city that attracts a lot of tourists and if you do make it there, there are a few things you must do — go on a city walk, taste the Franconian sausages and undertake a 20-km beer hike between Gräfenberg and Weißenohe, visiting private breweries.


North of Nuremberg is dotted with small-scale breweries that make some of the best beers in the region. You could explore Fünf-Seidla-Steig (a Franconian beer-hiking trail that connects five breweries) to get a real taste of Bavaria, in terms of nature, culture, architecture and food. The path for the trail has been laid out to cover five breweries in the region — monastery brewery Weißenohe that has been functional since 1827, Friedmann that is known for its panoramic view of Kalkach Valley since 1875, Lindenbräu Gräfenberg, Brewery Hofmann (running since 1897) and newest of the lot Thuisbrunner Elchbrau that reopened in 2007. The 20-km hike is marked out and since it is a circular one, you return to the same spot from where you began. There are options for staying as well but the rooms need to be booked in advance. You can even download a certificate and have it stamped at each brewery you visit to attest that you have been there, done that.

For more information, visit

Kasturi Gadge is a Mumbai-based journalist

Published on November 29, 2018

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