Starkbier and the Andechs Abbey

At the beginning of March, Daniel and I took a trip to the Andechs Abbey, a Bavarian monastery about an hour from Munich.  This was my first time outside the city since moving and it was really nice to see some of the countryside.  One of the things that was most striking is how flat the landscape is from Munich, right up until we arrived to the monastery, which is located at the top of a sizable hill.

The church was built in 1712 and was a pilgrimage site. Now, I believe that it mainly attracts beer enthusiasts since the brewery is well-known for its delicious beers.  We visited during Lent, while the monks are fasting.  This also corresponds to the Starkbierfest or Strong Beer Festival, when the monks are brewing beer with a very high content of dissolved solids, including sugar and protein.  The alcohol contents are significantly higher, generally about 7% compared to the usual 5%.

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As an aside, all of Munich’s breweries offer their own Starkbier and these are available at all the restaurants in town. The chaos found at the breweries themselves is compared to that of Oktoberfest: there are live bands, drinking contests (if you lose, people throw their pretzels at you), and lots of singing and fighting. However, there is also a €12 cover charge, so I didn’t see any of this firsthand.

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This church is among the more ornate I’ve seen, meaning that there was so much detail that it was hard to get a decent picture of anything. However, the sky did open up long enough to get a few pretty pictures outside.

Oddly enough, the abbey was having a used book sale in one of the smaller buildings. This was nice because the inside of the building was my favorite thing from the day. It had only three rooms, but there was so much care put into the decor.

Like in any respectable Bavarian establishment, there was a nice biergarten, where we stopped for lunch. Unfortunately, there was no chicken option, and since I’ve decided that I don’t like pork, I got to prime my stomach for a half liter of 7% ABV beer with a pretzel (the size of my head) and (an embarrassingly large mound of) cheese — the other Bavarian delicacies.

Photo by Daniel

Daniel’s Lunch: Schweineshaxe, Kartoffelnsalat, ein Breze, und ein Maß!


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