Buenos Aires, by Noelia Diaco. Photo is not visible, used only for sharing on social networks.

Europe 2015: Monastery brewery

September 11, 2015
When we started planning this trip, Ben requested that we visit a brewery where the monks make the beer. Many of the old beer-brewing monasteries were taken over by the state as part of secularization in the 1800s. A few still operate, however, including Kloster Andechs outside of Munich.

Kloster Andechs is situated on a hill known as the Holy Mountain, above the eastern bank of Ammer Lake. Run by Benedictine monks, it's the oldest pilgrimage church in Bavaria and has been brewing beer since 1455. Its large indoor beer hall incorporates lots of dark wood in typical Bavarian fashion and the big outdoor decks offers views of the Alps.

We tried two of their most famous beers, their Doppelbock Dunkel and Weissbier Hell. Their over-the-top descriptions are amusing, and I've included them below.
  • Doppelbock dunkel: "This world famous bock from Bavaria’s Holy Mountain is not meant to be rushed, but savored slowly. As solid as a rock, Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel presides over the evening meal with a color reminiscent of dark copper with nuances of fiery red. Its clear gleaming look harmonizes with its firm, fine pored head. Also the aroma delights the connoisseur: soft roasted accents and a nuance of dried fruit carrying a vein of caramel. This Doppelbock Dunkel from Bavaria’s Holy Mountain presents a pleasant effervescence. And then there’s the unmistakable flavor: mouthcoating and velvety, strong and yet pleasantly malty – a powerful, robust body. At the same time, it develops an easily recognizable sweetness, embraced in roasted cocoa and a light, bitter hoppiness. Concluding with a powerful punch, this Doppelbock departs with a lingering aftertaste of quality plain chocolate. A strong Doppelbock that embodies the centuries old Benedictine brewing tradition, sip by delicious sip."
  • Weissbier Hell: "Since Saint Joseph’s Day on 19 March 1993, Andechs Weissbier Hell has found many new friends. Untreated and bottled in its natural state of yeasty turbidity, this is a top fermented beer for the epicure. Its light honey color makes it an immediate eye-catcher. Then there’s the opalescence and fine structure of the yeast turbidity. At the same time, the creamy, fine pored head invites you to get to know this light Weissbier from the Holy Mountain. You’ll need two takes to enjoy the aromas to the full. First, distinctive fruity aromas like banana and honeydew melon come to the fore, followed by fine cloves. Andechser Weissbier Hell is a very tangy, refreshing treat with the conviction of a full, soft body. It concludes on a finely balanced interplay of light sweet honey and a delicate acidity with undertones of bitter hoppiness that quickly subside into a harmonious aftertaste. A Weissbier that embodies a slice of the Andechs lifestyle: finely yeasty, tangy, and sparkling, it refreshes and renews the thirst for more."
Their beer lineup also includes:
  • Export Dunkel: Mild, harmonious, malty. Soft aromas of dark malt, caramel and cocoa accents with a nuance of smokiness. Pleasantly tangy with a full, round, malty body. Concludes on a mild, harmonious note.
  • Bergbock Hel: Tangy, strong, malty. Strong malty nuances and floral hoppiness with accents of slight fruitiness. Powerful, but unobtrusive body. Concludes on a soft, harmonious aftertaste.
  • Spezial Hell: Fresh, pure, festive. A classical festival beer in the tradition of old Bavarian brewing. Fresh and pure aroma with malty nuances. Pleasantly tangy with a full, round malt body. Balance of sweet accents and bitter hoppiness. Concludes on equally soft malty nuances.
  • Vollbier Hell: Tangy, classical, Bavarian. Soft malty accents with floral hoppiness. Light and soft body leaves a pleasant, tangy taste. Mild sweetness marries well with the velvety bitterness of the hops. Concludes on a rounded, harmonious note.
  • Weissbier Dunkel: Delicate, tangy, refreshing. Hallertau aroma hops, Bavarian wheat and dark barley malts. Characteristic, distinctive maroon color. Harmonious interplay of fruity odors of ripe bananas and pineapple, with undertones of caramel and cocoa. Concludes on a soft and refreshing note.

To reach the monastery, we took the subway from Munich to the town of Herrsching. There was supposed to be a bus, but it wasn't coming for two hours, so we walked four kilometers through the forest. The trail was poorly marked in places, but some German tourists who were also headed to the monastery helped point us in the right direction. I had wanted to take a guided tour of the brewing operations, and learn about the monks, but the tours were fully booked months in advance. Instead, we enjoyed a snack of sausage, cheese, pretzel on the outdoor deck and explored the grounds on our own, before heading onward to the Alps.

Surprisingly, one of the beer gardens in San Francisco pours Andechser Dunkel beer and the beer garden right near our house serves steins with the Kloster Andechs logo. We won't have to go far to enjoy their beer again.

Next up: the Alps!

- Steph

No comments:

Post a Comment

All comments are moderated before publishing. Comments with links (unless directly relevant to the post) will not be approved. No spam, please.