We started, as you do in these parts, with a breakfast beer. Well, breakfast Stein more like. That’s a massive, heavy, handled glass containing damn nearly two pints of beer. In my case, and to general macho mockery (even from the Brunhildegards), I chose a Dunkel Radler. That is a dark beer with lemonade – but pre-mixed in the brewery and sold on tap. It was delicious.
And the sheer joy of the menu. Eight mains, all pork or porcine. We didn’t eat but the kitchen (itself the size of Le Café Anglais with a wash-up area the size of Draft House Tower Bridge) was spotless and the food looked immaculately executed.
The Munich Hofbrauhaus is a game-changer and must-visit for any human.
An hour or so and a Dunkel Radler, a Weisse Helles, a Dunkelbier and a Dunkel Weiss later we headed off for the Oktoberfest.
We were fortunate enough to be in the Augustiner tent, one of the great family-owned breweries of Munich.
I confess to having found it all a tad over-whelming and after two hours and an Easter Island full of mysterious, once full but now empty Steins, we decamped for Munich Old Town and a small pub, Augustiner am Platz, also owned by Augustiner. Here the world was set to rights and – due to studiously avoiding any Schnapps – I found myself in bed at 22-hundred hours.
Here's a video of the barman tapping a 32L cask of Oktoberfestbier (the equivalent 200L casks were being tapped every few minutes or so at the Augustiner tent a few km away). Thanks to John McElhinney of Windmill Taverns for lending me the footage.
The next day, back to England, full of inspiration - and beer.
Many thanks to Brian, Mark and Earl from Thwaite's for their generosity in accommodating me on this extraordinary trip. I love Nutty Black more than ever, chaps.