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Bavarian History

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Weihenstephan

1040

The city of Freising, just north of Munich, issued a brewery license to the Benedictine Abbey located on a hill named for Holy Saint Stephen. Weihenstephan thus lays claim as the oldest brewery in the world.

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Weltenburg

1050

The Benedectine Abbey at Weltenburg began brewing beer at their seventh century monastery on the banks of the Danube River near Regensburg, which was then the capital of Bavaria.

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Founding of Munich

1158

Munich was founded near the site of an old Benedictine Abbey on the Isar River. The town’s name München, means “by the monks.”

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Free Beer

13th C.

Brewing was a religious affair throughout Bavaria. On Roman Catholic holy days of obligation, monks would give away free beer, which improved both church attendance and collections.

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Augustiner

1328

Munich’s oldest brewery was founded by an order of Augustinian monks. Augustiner Bräu supplied the royal court its beer until 1589 when Bavaria’s rulers started their own brewery.

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Löwenbräu

1383

Löwenbräu begins brewing beer in Munich. Many locals consider the Löwenbräu Keller and Biergarten to be Munich’s best beer hall.

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Spaten

1397

Spaten started its brewery. Along with its weizen-producing partner, Franziskaner, Spaten is now the second largest brewery in Munich.

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Hacker-Pschorr

1417

The Hacker brewery began. More than 400 years later, Joseph Pschorr (pronounced “shore”) bought Hacker from his father-in-law and began to brew another label under his own name. Since 1975 they have produced under one label: Hacker-Pschorr.

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Kloster Andechs

1455

Benedictine monks started to brew beer for the pilgrims who traveled to their Abbey located on a hilltop 30 miles west of Munich. Today Kloster Andechs still draws thirsty pilgrims from around the world.

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Lager beer

1553

Because of frequent fires, Duke of Bavaria Albert V made it illegal to brew beer inside the city limits of Munich between the feasts of St. George (April 23) and St. Michael (September 29). That meant the city’s brewers would have to store enormous quantities of their March beer (Märzen). This gave birth to the style of beer known as lager, meaning “to store” in German.

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Hofbräu München

1589

The Wittelsbach family, Munich’s ruling dynasty, began their own brewery. Hofbräu München, literally, the royal court brewery, originally was available only to royalty and their guests.

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Weizen Beer

1602

Bavarian Duke Maximilian I finds the dark beer too rough for his tastes and he grants permission to a single brewery (his own) to make a lighter beer from wheat rather than from barley. This is the first weizen beer.

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Beer as ransom

1632

Unable to find good beer in Sweden, King Gustavus Adolphus sacked Munich during the Thirty Years War and released it unharmed in exchange for a ransom of strong, dark Maibock beer.

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Paulaner

1634

An order of monks named their brewery for their founder, Francis of Paola. Although it is the youngest, Paulaner today is the largest of Munich’s six breweries, producing almost a quarter-billion liters of beer annually.

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Birth of the Biergarten

1810

On January 4th, King Maximilian decreed that brewers could sell beer from the tree-covered groves that shaded their underground caverns that kept those enormous quantities of beer cool from the summer sun. Thus, was born the biergarten, a Munich original that has since gone global.

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Creation of Oktoberfeset

1812

The King of Bavaria welcomed Munich’s citizens to celebrate the marriage of Crown Prince Ludwig to Princess Therese. The wedding celebration became an annual event. The 2017 Oktoberfest will occur from September 16th through October 3rd.

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Hofbräuhaus opens to the public

1828

Facing depleted coffers, King Ludwig I opened the royal Hofbräuhaus to commoners. Ever since, the famous bierhall has drawn customers from around the world.

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Pretzels

1839

On February 11 Munich baker Anton Nepomuk Pfannenbrenner accidentally dipped his pretzels into the wash bucket instead of the glaze. He baked them anyway and found that the lye solution gave his pretzels a shiny dark brown crust that his customers loved.

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G Schneider und Sohn

1872

George Schneider buys from King Ludwig the rights to brew the only weizen beer in Bavaria and he opens his brewery, G. Schneider und Sohn, just two blocks from Munich’s old city hall. They brewed there until their facility was destroyed during World War II.

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Ayinger

1877

One of the newest German breweries is one of the best. Ayinger started its brewery just ten miles southeast of Munich in the little hamlet of Aying.

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Erdinger

1886

Another late entrant to the German brewery market was Erdinger. Today, the brewery thirty miles northeast of Munich is the largest producer of Bavarian style wheat beers in the world.

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Americans enjoy Bavaria

1945

Following the end of the Second World War, Bavaria falls within the American sector. For the next 44 years of the Cold War and beyond, millions of American service men and women would come to know and love Bavaria, its culture, its cuisine, and its beer.

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Bavarian Bierhaus

2017

In April, a new chapter of the history of Bavarian beer begins when the Bavarian Bierhaus comes to Opry Mills and brings all of these beers to Nashville, Tennessee.