...though not nearly as great as the Ayinger Altbairisch Dunkel. More malts, more toffee, more raisins, more syrup and more cola. Absolutely beautiful, and one of my beery highlights of the entire trip.
Augustiner am Platzl is another nice place to sit for some time, even if their Helles does play like a Spaten - nice and drinkable but pretty much forgettable. Much nicer is their Dunkel, which is also effortlessly drinkable, and though it occupies the same dark fruit and toffee spectrum as the Ayinger version, it's nowhere near as richly flavoured. Pick of the Augustiner bunch was their Weissbier, which was thick and fluffy with loads of citrus, banana, clove and pepper, and was excellent drinking on such a hot day.
We couldn't stay away from the Weisses Bräuhaus for long, and when I went back I tried something unusual. As the beer drinker and driver of the couple, I'm always on the lookout for a good non-alcoholic beer. The last time I was in the Franciscan Well I remember them listing this one amongst their bottles, so I said I'd try it here, to give myself a break. Schneider's Tap 3 Mein Alkoholfreies is a pretty good beer for what it is - better than the Paulaner and Erdinger versions so common back home, anyway.
And now, the dregs of the notebook. The Ratskeller is in the courtyard of the Rathaus, and as such should be avoided by seekers of good value and service, but for the tourist it's a pleasant place to sit and look around. Unfortunately, the Löwenbräu Helles they served was one of the least memorable beers of the trip. Back at the hotel, I discovered a vending machine selling bottles of Franziskaner and Augustiner Edelstoff, and I had to try the latter. It's very refreshing and oh-so-easy to drink, and tastes pretty good too. On our last day in Munich, I finally got to have weisswurst for breakfast, and accompanied it with Tap 7 - Unser Original. It was, of course, perfect.
Munich is great, and the beer is great. You don't need me to tell you that. I have to say though, one great disappointment was the service and reception. Twice, in the Hofbräuhaus and Weisses Bräuhaus respectively, we had orders confused and ended up paying for things we didn't want. The only explanation or excuse we were offered on either occasion was a shrug of the shoulders. I mean really. The most shocking moment of all was when the HB server from one of the above incidents went away pulling a face and shaking her head dramatically when she saw no tip. Insulting is the word for that, I think. Other than that, service was mixed, with Ayinger people being disinterested one day and enthusiastic and helpful the next, and HB and Schneider servers only sweetening up when they've seen a tip. The hotel service was excellent and incredibly friendly, and I recommend LetoMotel in Moosach to any Munich bound travellers out there. Either way, I was both sad and glad to leave the place - sad because I expected much more warmth from the people of Munich, a place I was so prepared to fall in love with, yet glad because the overnight train would have me waking up in (well, near) the much friendlier Amsterdam, by now my home away from home.