Want a true taste of German culture? Take your taste buds for a tour at one of Germany’s many breweries and explore the rich history of centuries-old beer brewing in Germany.
According to the purity law of 1516, German beer is only made with four ingredients – water, hops, malt, and yeast – but that doesn’t mean that all German beer tastes the same. You can wet your whistle with 5,000 types of beers, crafted by over 1,200 German breweries. From thousand-year-old monasteries to state of the art facilities, discover the art of beer in some of Germany’s best breweries; all of them offering brewery tours and beer tastings.
1. Hofbrau Brewery Tour
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Germany’s most famous brewery opens its doors to the public each week to share (some) of the secrets of their world-famous brew. This national treasure is now owned by the Bavarian state government and attracts tourists, celebrities and regulars from Germany and abroad.
Devote between 60 and 90 minutes to learning every step of the brewing processes from the sticky smell of the hops to fermenting to conditioning to tasting. End your education by sampling the freshly tapped unfiltered beer with Bavarian snacks. If a taste is not enough, the pub at the end of the tour allows you to continue your “sampling.” If you want something more permanent than a headache to remember your visit, there is a souvenir shop full of beer paraphernalia.
2. Monastery Brewery Andechs in Bavaria
The Andechs Monastery, located on the Holy Mountain above Lake Ammersee in Bavaria, has been a site of pilgrimage and beer culture since the Middle Ages. The brewery tour tells you all about the rich history of the brewing process, while also giving you access to its state of the art facilities.
The monastery also has a church, brewpub, restaurant, butcher shop, distillery, and even an organic farm. Throughout the year, the brewery hosts a variety of pilgrimages, performances, and special events, and the church often hosts organ concert on Sunday afternoons in the summer.
3. Erdinger Brewery in Munich
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The world’s largest brewer of wheat beer is located in Munich and combines tradition with modern technology. The purest ingredients with age-old recipes make their way through a high-tech bottling plant, and the beer is matured in a computer-controlled warehouse.
More than one million bottles leave the brewery every day, but you can enjoy your fresh Hefeweizen in the brewery’s beer garden.
4. Weihenstephan Brewery
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The Weihenstephan brewery in Freising, close to Munich, prides itself in being the oldest working brewery in the world. Benedictine monks made beer here as early as 1040 A.D.
The brewery is most famous for its earthy Weizenbier wheat beer. Travel back in time and learn about the almost 1000-year-old brewing process of Weihenstephan.
5. Becks Brewery in Bremen
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World-famous Beck’s beer is brewed on the riverbanks in Bremen in the north of Germany. Slightly bitter and known around the world, Beck’s and its local version, Haake Beck’s, have been crafted here since 1879. Take a look behind the scenes of the brewery; you can explore the brewing rooms, malt silos, and fermentation tans, and educate yourself in the Beck’s beer museum. And – of course – the tour finishes with a tasting.
6. Smoked Beer Brewery in Bamberg
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The city of Bamberg in Bavaria boasts 10 breweries and is famous for its amber colored Rauchbier (smoked beer).
One of the most charming breweries is the Spezial Brewery dating back to 1536. Here you can watch the century-old process of drying malt over an open fire – the secret of the beer’s mild smoked flavor. Enjoy your Rauchbier right then and there: It is only sold within 9 miles of the brewery. There is also a cozy hotel and restaurant on site.
7. Rechenberg Brewery Museum in Saxony
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Located in the German Ore Mountains, the Rechenberg brewery is one of the oldest working breweries in eastern Germany. The preserved historical brewery, overlooked by a hilltop castle, features a brewing room from 1780 complete with original (and still functioning) brewery equipment. You can sample fine Pilsner beer in the underground cross-vaulted cellar of the Old Malthouse.