Brewhouses in Munich

We all make mistakes, right? Well, after visiting eight museums in Berlin, we were a little museumed out.

However, Munich is home to the Pinakothek der Moderne, one of the world’s largest museums for modern and contemporary art. And since Chandler loves modern art – and we rarely get a chance to see any – it seemed like something we should do.

Also, in Munich, most museums only cost one euro on Sundays and we just happened to be arriving on a Sunday.

The problem is, instead of heading over to the Pinakothek der Moderne, we accidentally made our way to the Neue Pinakothek. We paid our two euros, put our jackets in a cubby, and walked right on up to one of Monet’s Water Lilies.

It didn’t take us much longer to realize we had ended up in the wrong museum. You see, Neue Pinakothek doesn’t house any modern art. Instead, it is one of the most important museums of nineteenth century art in the world.

And did you know that Munich is home to a third Pinakothek? The Alte Pinakothek, one of the oldest galleries in the world, it houses one of the most famous collections of Old Master paintings. Confusing, I know.

Chandler was a good sport about it and while we didn’t spend more than half-an-hour at the museum, we did get to see another of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers.

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Turns out he painted a total of seven vases with sunflowers. One was destroyed by a fire during WWII, leaving six. It didn’t take long to calculate the fact that I’ve already seen three of them.

One at the National Gallery in London, one at the Van Gogh Museum in Amsterdam, and now one at the Neue Pinakothek in Munich. The fourth is owned by a private collector, meaning there are only two left in the world that I haven’t seen. One at the Philadelphia Museum of Art and the other at the Sompo Japan Museum of Art.

So our mistake of going to the Neue Pinakothek turned into a new life goal: See all of Van Gogh’s Sunflowers in person!

This all happened within the first two hours of being in Munich, so we decided to do one thing we couldn’t possibly mess up before going to dinner that night.

We read Atlas Obscura’s “18 Cool and Unusual Things to Do in Munich,” and we found ourselves at Umschreibung: The Stairway to Nowhere.

Created in 2004, Danish artist Olafur Eliasson’s sculpture is oddly enough located in the courtyard of an office building:

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Metro stops away from anything else worth doing, it was a surprisingly fun thing to do.

The next day we set off to finish our Munich bucket list: Asam Church (another hit from Atlas Obscura), Neues Rathaus (town hall), Marienplatz (central square), St. Peter’s Church (great views), Viktualienmarkt (permanent food market), and Hofbräuhaus (beer hall).

And…we were done by noon.

Asam Church really was crazy. Apparently, its real name is St. Johann Nepomuk and it was built by the Asam brothers as their private church sometime between 1733 and 1746. The interior is Baroque and it is insane how much there is to look at in there:

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Our other church of the day, St. Peter’s, was also memorable. After climbing up 299 stairs, we really did get breathtaking views of the city. Including, of course, Marienplatz and Neues Rathaus:

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We had sandwiches at Viktualienmarkt and I got to try my first fresh ruß’n at Hofbräuhaus. A mixture of wheat beer and sparkling lemonade, it was surprisingly good! I’ve found new summer drinks these last two years: First, Pimms, and now, the ruß’n.

We actually had so much fun at Hofbräuhaus that we made a new goal for Munich (Munich was all about goal setting for us!) – we decided to visit all of their Big Six Breweries.

Paulaner Bräuhaus was quickly crossed off the list for being farther out of the city than we had time to go, so that night we made sure to eat at a restaurant that served Paulaner on tap. Unlikely that we’ll go back to Munich, but if it ever happens, we should head there to round out the list.

Our third and final day in Munich left us with the other four brewhouses. We started at Löwenbräu and immediately fell in love with the vibe. The fact that they were showing the Columbia-Japan World Cup game on a big screen only helped the matter in Chandler’s eyes. I would have been happy relaxing there all day – but we had three more brewhouses to get to. Reluctantly, we left after just one beer.

Our next stop was at Spaten. Or, our next stop was supposed to be Spaten. After walking around for a good 20 minutes looking for it, we finally came to the conclusion that it was just a brewery – not a place to drink beer.

Spaten is known as the underdog of the Big Six and I think this speaks volumes to the reason why. We saw that they offered brew tours and were briefly bummed that we hadn’t known to sign up, but I recently read this blog and am now so happy that our Spaten experience turned out exactly the way it did – with nothing happening.

With just two to go, we made our way to Augustiner-Bräu. Recommended by a friend of ours, I can see what she loved about it. It’s huge. It’s in a wooded setting. There’s a playground for children. I finally got to eat apple streusel – another German goal.

But…they didn’t serve ruß’n on tap, only by a one litre bottle. And I didn’t need a one litre bottle. I settled for a fresh radler – regular beer mixed with sparkling lemonade. It pretty much tasted like beer. Not for me.

Also, luckily, we went during the daytime. Because at night, they only serve drinks by the litre. Maybe that just seems excessive to me, but I’m not a big fan of beer…especially not warm beer.

That just left us with Hacker-Pschorr. No one had told us about this brewhouse and we soon found out why. It’s tiny. I mean, really tiny. It was open and the only people there were the workers. We backed away slowly. Luckily, Chandler had already tried Hacker-Pschorr on tap in Berlin.

And that was that, we finished what, only the day before, we had set out to do. We didn’t actually see the Paulaner Bräuhaus. Also, we never found Spaten – I looked in grocery stores and at the train station, it was a no.

But we walked away with a rather surprising opinion. We both liked Hofbräuhaus the best. Super touristy, in the middle of town, it had the drinks we both preferred. My ruß’n and Chandler’s summer wheat beer.

Löwenbräu won best ambience and I would highly recommend it to anyone traveling to Munich. Augustiner-Bräu, most people’s number one choice in Munich, hit our list at number three.

And just like that, we were finished with Munich. A city that everyone said I would love, but really, I just found myself missing Berlin.

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It’s ok, Munich. We’ll always have that ruß’n.

And this accordion-playing unicorn with a dancing, headless man. Let me tell you, they rocked some Despacito.

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