Munich. Munich is one attraction richer since wednesday. A tour with the London double-decker bus shows tourists - as well as locals - breweries and beer gardens. The Munich newspaper Merkur went for a test ride.
The beer tour started at the central train station, as a welcoming drink, a 0.25 litre glass of Spaten beer was served. "After, you'll walk better", explained Rosmarie Iffelsberger, 52, the tourist guide in a green Dirndl. While stationary in a traffic jam she played a film as an introduction into Bavarian character in the upper part of the bus. A cartoon called "Munich in heaven" was played.
"A lot of tourits only visit the Isar because of the beer", says Bernhard Obst, a travel journalist who organzises the tour. "This is not the first beer tour, there are tourist guides on foot" he says, "but this is the first tour that travels all the way to the Theresienwiese and up to the Nockherberg, which you'd never find as a tourist."
Rosmarie Iffelsberger teaches an interesting lesson on Munich history as the bus passes historical places, like the Königsplatz, she tells the story of the foundation of the town in a nutshell: year 1158, Heinrich the lion, burning bridge, monk colony at the Petersbergl" Two brief sentences about the NSDAP and the next brewery already awaits. In front of the house of the brewer union, at Oskar-von-Miller-Ring, on the 23rd of April each year, 1000 litres of free beer spring from the tap, celebrating the bavarian purity requirements, which the dukes Wilhelm IV and Ludwig the X released in Ingoldstadt 1516. "The first consumer protection law in the world", she says.
The bus, year of construction 1962, rattles up the Nockherberg. It can manage 35 km/h, but uphill only 15. "The tour is about cosiness", says the organiser Obst. "You could pick flowers during the tour." Iffelsberger explains in the meantime how beer gardens were created: to cool the beer as long as possible in vaults (6 to 10 metres below ground), chestnuts - shallow root trees - were planted to contribute additional shade. The citizens liked the atmosphere and the brewer didn't have far to transport the beer.
The last stop is the Spaten brewery, which is a fixed part of the beer tour. Iffelsberger shows another film about the history of beer. Now Obsts daughter comes to make a statement: "We are not offering a pub crawl. The people shouldn't get drunk and become loud."
The beer tour runs from the 11th of August, Wednesday to Satuday, departure times: 9:30 (4 hours, 34 Euro including catering at the Spaten-brewery) or 2 o'clock (3 hours, 29 euro, no catering). Tickets can be purchased at www.biertour-muenchen.de or via phone 089/55 07 90 00