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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
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
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES
Independent Dating
and  

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

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Personal Trainer / PT - OTE £32,000 Uncapped

    £22000 - £32000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness cha...

    Recruitment Genius: Membership Sales Advisor - OTE £10,000 Uncapped - Part Time

    £7500 - £10000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The fastest growing fitness chai...

    Guru Careers: Marketing Executive / Digital Marketing Executive

    COMPETITIVE: Guru Careers: A Marketing / Digital Marketing Executive (CRM, Eve...

    Recruitment Genius: Receptionist / Sales / Customer Service Assistant

    £8 per hour: Recruitment Genius: The role is likely to be 4on 4 off, days and ...

    Day In a Page

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea