scenic Ayinger Bräustüberl in Aying
The Ayinger Brewery suffers from a bit of a dual identity. Outside of the Munich area, it’s a renowned producer of medal award winning beers but as a relative suburb of Munich, it is generally maligned by the Augustiner loving locals who only seem to allow Tegernsee beers to enter the hollowed grounds of their former Monk brewing banquet. No worries, within a 40 minute S-Bahn trip from the city center lies beer nirvana. While the very traditional brewery has thus far eschewed the craft beer phenomenon finally besieging Germany, it not only produces a fine line of regular beers that dutifully fill the requisite characteristics thereof, but also brew an exceptional handful of highly respected seasonal beers which if in the area should certainly be sought out.
Aying’s typical Bavarian church & ivy-glad walls
Aying is a cute little village 30 km southeast of Munich, easily reached with the S-7 on Munich’s remarkable public transportation system. It’s a ten minute walk from the station to the ivy-glad white Bräustüberl in the shadow of a typical Bavarian church. The actual brewery is three or four minutes walk from there but its high end hotel is more scenic and can be seen from the restaurant’s well-treed Biergarten.
Ayinger’s Hotel across from the Bräustüberl
I was there today and it was one of the first somewhat warm days of spring so the Biergarten was unsurprisingly full. My group gladly took a spot inside, which was only very slightly less busy. We ordered a round of the magical Celebrator, their famed Dopplebock. It was delivered a sight to behold, dark brown with garnet highlights and a dense tan head. It smelled or roast and the palate was a mixture of that intermingled with dried fruit. Bitterness seemed to spring mostly from the roasted malt but though not overly hoppy, their presence was assured by the beer’s clean dryish finish.
Ayinger Celebrator & a half roasted duck with a potato dumpling
At 6.8% alcohol, it’s a relatively weak Dopplebock, but food is nonetheless essential if you’re planning on having more than one. Since the beer is limited to early February to late March, I was planning on doing just that so ordered an absolutely gorgeous half a duck. My wife had an equally picturesque and tasty Bierbrattl, thick slices of pork with a crispy skin atop. Karin opted for pork medallions which I neglected to get a shot of but was evidently great from the look on her face after the first morsel. We finished things off with some incredible Apfelkücherl (fried apple rings). The combination of great food and amazing beer more than made the trip out to Aying worthwhile.
Bierbrattl & Apfelkücherl at Ayinger
I must admit to only having been there a couple times prior to 2017 but after missing the Celebrator last year, I decided to make an effort to go more often and in particular when their seasonal beers were available. So, I headed out in May for the Maibock. Though not as famous as Dopplebock, the much lighter colored “bocks of May” are generally more approachable as they look more like what people expect of beer and at slightly weaker strengths, are easier to drink. I lucked out with a gorgeous day and was able to sit in their idyllic Biergarten. The Maibock arrived at my table, a deep golden with a creamy white head. It had a big malty palate but with plenty of hops in the mix, making for a long, dry bittersweet finish. I only had a small pretzel that day but it was still a lovely combination.
After a summer away from Ayinger, I ventured back out in late September for their Kirtabier, a noted Märzen. I again lucked out with a lovely afternoon with the Biergarten calling my name as I walked up. The lightly filtered amber beauty sat prettily in the sun, a few fallen leaves of autumn surrounding it. It was rich and malty with the unmistakable spiciness a Märzen should have. Sadly, most beers in this style have become increasingly simplistic. This one was anything but and also featured a firm hoppy finish and was all too drinkable for 5.8%.
I wisely had a great meal of Fleischpfanzerl (a veal/pork hamburger of sorts) in a lovely brown sauce with Bavarian potato/cucumber salad. It was at this point I decided to come to Aying for all of their seasonal beers.
Fleischpfanzerl in the empty autumn Biergarten at Ayinger
So, in December, I ventured out with my wife and a good friend to sample their Winterbock. Though very similar to their more famous Celebrator, this dark bock’s bitterness comes more from hops so isn’t as roasty and hence, the dried fruit element comes to the forefront. This was the first time we had their duck and the reason my wife agreed to going back for the Celebrator this past weekend.
Ayinger Winterbock ends the seasonal beers
We’ve both come to the conclusion the food is uniformly great and the beer special so well worth the journey there. In fact, we’re already looking forward to May!