The Experts' Guide To The World: Bavaria

The Bavarians have ways and means of working up a powerful thirst before they let themselves loose on the exquisite beers that have been brewed within the confines of the Kloster Reutberg monastery since 1677. In winter, they clip on cross-country skis and glide across the snowy expanse of heather-covered heath surrounding the baroque monastery, which has had a pub, restaurant and beer garden attached to it since the mid-19th century. If it's cold without snow, they bind on skates and spend an hour or so flitting up and down the length of the frozen Kirchsee lake that lies little more than a stone's throw away. In summer, the lake, with its peaty, amber-coloured water, transforms into a magnificent place to swim, sunbathe or simply walk around. In the distance is a near-ever-present, panoramic view of the Bavarian Alps, a gigantic snow-capped wall of grey rock that rises above forests of fir, beech and oak, just a few kilometres away to the south.

Walking into the beer garden is a bit like straying into the "Tomorrow belongs to me" sequence of Cabaret, minus the Nazism: sun-lit Alps beckon in the distance, while at an array of wooden outdoor tables, drinkers in leather trousers and Loden jackets quaff beer from large porcelain jugs under a panoply of verdant chestnut trees; the waitresses are clad in tight-waisted Dirndl dresses, the waiters in waistcoats and Lederhosen It may look a caricature of a German beer garden, but nobody bats an eyelid, as their get-up is nothing remarkable and definitely not put on for the tourists. It's a reminder that in strongly traditional Bavaria, people still wear the dress of their region with self-assuredness, if not pride.

Close to the Alps south of Munich, Kloster Reutberg is one of the few truly independent breweries left in the state. Its beers may only be obtainable at the monastery pub and supermarkets within a 20-mile radius, but what beers they are! There are no fewer than 10 of them and several pack a punch big enough to floor the average Real Ale aficionado. Josefi-Bock, a seasonal, malt-based strong ale, weighs in at 6.9 per cent alcohol. The so-called Weihnachts-Bock, or Christmas, ale is 6.7 per cent. One personal favourite is Kloster Reutberg's Dunkel Export, an aromatic, chestnut-coloured beer brewed entirely from malt. Another is the brewery's Sankt Aegdius (St Giles) beer. The latter is unfiltered and brewed according to procedures that were common a century ago, but which have long since been forgotten.

Kloster Reutberg changed hands two years ago and, under its current management, not only has the quality of the beer improved, its culinary performance has also taken a leap forward. But being a traditional Bavarian institution, nobody should expect a Cordon Bleu, vegetarian or even vaguely experimental menu. Roast pork with crackling, red cabbage and hand-made potato dumplings or spit-roast duck with home-made sauerkraut may not be that innovative, but they are outstanding when made from the right quality and often organic ingredients and properly cooked. So is home-made Apfelstrudel, rounded off with coffee and Obstler, a south German clear schnapps distilled from apples and pears and matured in oak barrels.

Reutberg beer may not be readily available worldwide, but Bavaria's provincial government has now started offering it to visitors at its state reception in the German capital. It's not hard to understand why.

Tony Paterson is Berlin correspondent of The Independent

The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations

Sport
The giant banner displayed by Legia Warsaw supporters last night
football
News
news
Voices
The Ukip leader has consistently refused to be drawn on where he would mount an attempt to secure a parliamentary seat
voicesNigel Farage: Those who predicted we would lose momentum heading into the 2015 election are going to have to think again
News
Angelina Jolie with her father Jon Voight
people
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Cara Delevingne made her acting debut in Anna Karenina in 2012
film Cara Delevingne 'in talks' to star in Zoolander sequel
News
i100
News
Melissa and Joan Rivers together at an NBC event in May 2014
peopleDaughter Melissa thanks fans for 'outpouring of support'
Life and Style
life
Life and Style
tech
Life and Style
One in six drivers cannot identify a single one of the main components found under the bonnet of an average car
motoringOne in six drivers can't carry out basic under-bonnet checks
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
News
i100
Voices
Pupils educated at schools like Eton (pictured) are far more likely to succeed in politics and the judiciary, the report found
voices
Arts and Entertainment
Simon Cowell is less than impressed with the Strictly/X Factor scheduling clash
tvSimon Cowell blasts BBC for breaking 'gentlemen's agreement' in scheduling war
News
peopleWrestling veteran drifting in and out of consciousness
Arts and Entertainment
Shady character: Jon Hamm as sports agent JB Bernstein in Million Dollar Arm
filmReview: Jon Hamm finally finds the right role on the big screen in Million Dollar Arm
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Business Development Manager / Sales Pro

    £30 - 35k + Uncapped Comission (£70k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Business Develop...

    Graduate Sales Executive / Junior Sales Exec

    £18k + Uncapped Commission (£60k Y1 OTE): Guru Careers: A Graduate Sales Exe...

    Web Developer / Software Developer

    £25 - 60k (DOE): Guru Careers: A Web Developer / Software Developer is needed ...

    Oracle 11g SQL 2008 DBA (Unix, Oracle RAC, Mirroring, Replicati

    £6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...

    Day In a Page

    Ukraine crisis: The phoney war is over as Russian troops and armour pour across the border

    The phoney war is over

    Russian troops and armour pour into Ukraine
    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    Potatoes could be off the menu as crop pests threaten UK

    The world’s entire food system is under attack - and Britain is most at risk, according to a new study
    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Gangnam smile: why the Chinese are flocking to South Korea to buy a new face

    Seoul's plastic surgery industry is booming thanks to the popularity of the K-Pop look
    From Mozart to Orson Welles: Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    Creative geniuses who peaked too soon

    After the death of Sandy Wilson, 90, who wrote his only hit musical in his twenties, John Walsh wonders what it's like to peak too soon and go on to live a life more ordinary
    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Caught in the crossfire of a cyber Cold War

    Fears are mounting that Vladimir Putin has instructed hackers to target banks like JP Morgan
    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years

    Salomé: A head for seduction

    Salomé's feminine wiles have inspired writers, painters and musicians for 2,000 years. Now audiences can meet the Biblical femme fatale in two new stage and screen projects
    From Bram Stoker to Stanley Kubrick, the British Library's latest exhibition celebrates all things Gothic

    British Library celebrates all things Gothic

    Forthcoming exhibition Terror and Wonder: The Gothic Imagination will be the UK's largest ever celebration of Gothic literature
    The Hard Rock Café's owners are embroiled in a bitter legal dispute - but is the restaurant chain worth fighting for?

    Is the Hard Rock Café worth fighting for?

    The restaurant chain's owners are currently embroiled in a bitter legal dispute
    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival

    In search of Caribbean soul food

    Caribbean cuisine is becoming increasingly popular in the UK ... and there's more to it than jerk chicken at carnival
    11 best face powders

    11 best face powders

    Sweep away shiny skin with our pick of the best pressed and loose powder bases
    England vs Norway: Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Roy Hodgson's hands tied by exploding top flight

    Lack of Englishmen at leading Premier League clubs leaves manager hamstrung
    Angel Di Maria and Cristiano Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    Di Maria and Ronaldo: A tale of two Manchester United No 7s

    They both inherited the iconic shirt at Old Trafford, but the £59.7m new boy is joining a club in a very different state
    Israel-Gaza conflict: No victory for Israel despite weeks of death and devastation

    Robert Fisk: No victory for Israel despite weeks of devastation

    Palestinians have won: they are still in Gaza, and Hamas is still there
    Mary Beard writes character reference for Twitter troll who called her a 'slut'

    Unlikely friends: Mary Beard and the troll who called her a ‘filthy old slut’

    The Cambridge University classicist even wrote the student a character reference
    America’s new apartheid: Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone

    America’s new apartheid

    Prosperous white districts are choosing to break away from black cities and go it alone