Bavaria – The Beer State

Kempten is the largest city in Allgäu, a region in the south-west of Bavaria, Germany only 26 miles away from Austria. It was also my recent business trip destination, a short 500 mile drive from Wrocław. Short, if you consider the 140-150 mile per hour speed on the autobahn we were traveling to get there.

But first things first; beer. Bavarian beer is the tastiest beer I’ve ever had. All kinds too; from Hefeweizen to Pilsener to the darkest Schwarzbier, they’re all simply delicious! And after our business end of the trip was concluded we were invited to a traditional Bavarian beer garden. Every Thursday the beer garden pictured below serves up an insane amount of food and beer while entertaining you with a different folk group every week. The beer garden season is short, from May to September at the latest, and that is why each folk group only has one chance a season to perform, there simply isn’t enough time. Performers are paid with food and beer for their work, but it is the the way in which beer is delivered to the crew that is engineering at its best.

Meet the beer lift. This suspended system is first lowered inside the beer house and filled with four, one liter, beer steins. The stein bucket if you will, is then sent on its way toward the band where it is promptly lowered, unloaded and refilled with empty steins. Awesome!

The beer kept flowing and the band kept playing until we were eventually chased away by a lightning storm. After  4 pints of beer it was time to go home anyway. We did find out that you’re allowed about a stein of beer and drive home in Bavaria. I haven’t fact checked this yet, but it was explained to us that Bavaria’s culture of beer wouldn’t allow for a zero tolerance law to go in effect. We were driven back to our hotel, and it was the fastest ride of my life.

240kmh translates into 150 miles per hour. I’m sure some will tell me they’ve gone faster on their way to Vegas once, or that 150mph is nothing compared to their buddies’ drag speed record. That’s all kosher, but in most cases it’s also not legal. Going 150mph on Bavarian autobahn however is just fine. I’ve personally never gone this fast (ever!) much less for a reasonably long period of time simply traveling from A to B. The speedo on the Mercedes-Benz we were riding only went up to 260kmh, so we were dangerously close to the limit of where even German engineers said “ok, that’s enough”. Oddly enough the driver, our German tour guide for the trip, didn’t even seem to notice the fact that cars we were passing seemed to be at a stand still in comparison. Driving to and from Germany was also fast which made for a shorter travel time that we promptly evened out with slow moving vehicles every time we stopped for gas; because 140mph equals some 6,000 rpms and a fuel level drop you actually see on the gauge in real time on a 1.4 liter Volkswagen engine. Fun.

104 thoughts on “Bavaria – The Beer State

    • Thank you. I didn’t know I was “Freshly Pressed”, nor did I really know what that meant, until I received 2,000 visitors in a single day. It’s a very nice feeling to have so many visitors stopping by. Thank you all.

  1. Now I want some beer! That sounds like a fun trip, personally, American beer just doesn’t cut it, Budweiser and Coors……yuck!!!!

  2. Hope you enjoyed the trip. (:
    And for people having their driving license for a couple of years it’s legal to drive with less than 0,5 per mill.
    The beer lift looks great, but even though I’m from Bavaria I don’t like beer and would prefer other beverages. *smile*

  3. I had a German uncle (from Düsseldorf, rather than Bavaria). He came to the UK as a PoW in 1944 after having a bridge blown up underneath him by his own side and stayed (“I thought these people were supposed to be my enemies?”). When he went back for the first time in twenty years, his main comment on getting back was “They do nothing there but eat.”

  4. This trip sounds a hell of a lot of fun. I have always wanted to travel on the audobon at some point and go that fast! although I would think that I would need to trust whomever was driving immensely before I let them do it. Also, the beer lift thing is very cool!

  5. A Beer garden? Why does this not exist in the USA, at least as far as I know. Beer is like an angel I come home to at night after work and/or school. I love trying new beers. I envy your trip. Although I’m not sure I would trust going that fast with someone else driving… I might try it myself though. Thanks for sharing, it’s made my bucket list!

  6. I don’t drink beer (or any alcohol…weak stomach) but if I were there I’d be all over the Bravarian Ham hock (Schweinshaxe) and the pretzel. I really miss that when I lived in Germany!

    • The cost is unknown to me since we were treated by the company rep. I forgot to mention this major plus of our trip, it was all paid for. I should create a policy to do business only with Bavarian companies 🙂

  7. Love, love, LOVE this! I’m currently living in Greece, and while I’m reveling in the chance to enjoy all the Greek wine and ouzo I can, I’m most definitely a beer girl at heart. Greece doesn’t really do beer (in fact, in the city I live in, the one place specializing in beer is called “The Beer Store”). There are a few great microbreweries around the country, including one making awesome organic brews out of Rethymno, Crete. But I miss “beer culture,” as described in this post. The beer lift in particular is just hysterical! Cheers!

  8. I am from Franconia in Bavaria and would be very pleased if the speed limit was reduced for environmental and safety reasons to 130 kpm. It is also very irresponsible for someone to drive so fast if he has drunk any alcohol. If he causes an accident, he will be made responsible and might have diffculty with his car insurance claim.
    By the way the best German beer comes from Franconia in Northern Bavaria!
    The Fraenkische Schweiz has the highest number of beweries per square metre in the world.

  9. Great write up! I lol-ed quite a few times. Thanks! And yes, Bavarian beer rocks. Had my first experience at Oktoberfest last year. However, I did not experience the beer lift. Fantastic. Cheers!

  10. Totally agree with you that Bavaria’s got the tastiest beer ever. I was in Germany in March of this year and visited Nuremberg, Munich and Wurzburg, to name a few. Drank beer everyday but never got a hangover, thanks to their Bavarian Purity Law. Now that I’m back home, I’ll only drink Franziskaner, Tucher or Paulaner to name a few…

  11. This is great! My favorite Bavarian beer has to be Paulaner! I am a student at the University of Oklahoma and will be studying in Munich for the next school year, this post is making me wish it would get here earlier!

    douglasmcknight.wordpress.com

  12. When I lived in Australia, many of my friends or their Dad’s brewed their own beer at home (beer prices are much higher in OZ), So they always had a cold one ready to offer and they could proudly say they made it themselves. It become their hobby. Many people wonder how to homebrew and a lot of people either think that if they home brew their own beer, it will either be expensive, taste Disgusting or, be Really Difficult to Do. And to be honest, that’s what we thought many moons ago before we started to homebrew our own beer. http://bars-and-bartending.com/how-to-homebrew.html has all the directions, ingredients and supplies.

    • I’m thinking of brewing my own beer as well. I will give it a try in a couple of weeks. I’ve tried my buddies home brewed goodness and it was delicious enough to make me get out of being the designated driver that night.

  13. That sounds completely amazing, although I think I probably would have been terrified out of my mind going that fast after 4 pints of beer. Glad you survived that trip!

  14. Sounds like a trip! 150 Mphs is really fast. I would love to visit the autobahn someday. The beer lift was what had me, I have never seen anything like it! That is one amazing piece of work!

    • Thank you. I really wish I had more to say or write but it was a quick day and a half business trip and it was over before I knew it. I do however believe a long weekend road trip is in order.

  15. I am from Scotland but just so happen to live in the South of Germany now. I whole – heartedly agree with the beer being awesome! I can’t get enough of it.

  16. Nothing is better then beer and a pretzel! I am lucky enough to live near Leavenworth, Washington – a Bavarian themed town that takes me back to those beer gardens in Bavaria in like… 1 second. Great post.

    • Thanks, more and more places in Poland are trying to copy that Bavarian style beer culture here as well so hopefully soon I won’t have to drive 8 hours to get a good stein of beer.

      • In February, I was taken to a place on the outskirts of Gniezno that felt more like a Bavarian bar – or even a British pub – than anything else I’d come across up to then in Poland.

  17. Germans love beer and fast cars. In one of my trips, I had occasion to have Fritz as my driver. He was taking me to a town 45 km away. He entered the autobahn from a clover leaf at a speed that pushed me into the door. When the curve straightened he put his foot into it. We came upon a slower car. I was pushing my foot onto the floor for braking; Fritz accelerated. I suddenly realized why the Germans invented disc brakes. When they finally do use a brake, they want instant stop because crash is imminent.
    He informed me that there were no injuries in autobahn crashes, only fatalities.

  18. German beer is the real thing. All other beer is just full of chemicals. The cloudier the better I always say…..
    Great post and thanks for sharing.

    • Not certain I agree with you 100%, but I know what you mean. I could show you a few places in the UK that would make you put a few more points on the good beer spectrum..

  19. Enjoye reading the blog, gives a vivid picture of the place!! Thanks for taking me there though vicariously!! Good Blog makes nice reading!!

  20. Thanks for a great BLOG chapter! I live not far from Kempten, on the Austrian side of the border, and can concur that our German neighbors can and do indeed have a splendid time (they along with their French allies did invade us a couple of hundred years ago…but that’s all forgiven…I think!). As here in the Tirol, we find any excuse for a fest, and where there is a fest, there is superb beer, pretzels (Brezen), sausages and great music. I would recommend trying some of our Austrian beers (Gosser, Puntigam, etc.) as I believe you will find them to be in close competition with (if not superior to…) those delicious brews you sampled just over the border in Bavaria. Prost!

    • I second Andy’s views on Gosser beer in particular, and Austrian beers in general. Mixtape’s views on the food are also relevant – always excellent food in Germany and Austria (though vegetarians will find the cuisine rather carnivorous). I once described Austrian cooking to an Austrian friend of mine in my native English dialect as “stick-to-yer-ribs”; he thought for a minute and I could see him parsing that phrase in his head before saying “Yes! That’s right!”

  21. Pingback: Beer Beer Everywhere INCLUDING Harlem’s Bier International | HarlemCondoLife

  22. I want to go there, just for the beer. I love German Beer! There’s a German Bar near me called the Red Lion that has several German beers on tap and plenty of great sausage.

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