München (Munich), Bayern (Bavaria):
Flughafen (Airport): Airbräu
Wednesday 29th July 2015
This is the only airport brewery in Europe. It used to bill itself as the only one in the world but that has changed, although it definitely was the first. There were plans to establish one in Sun Port Airport at Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA; maybe that has now opened.
As mentioned above it has been at the airport since 1999; the airport itself was opened in 1992 and later extended.
Airbräu also seems to have been extended since I was last here. The original bar room that contains the brewery was visited as in the past but looking out the window I swear the biergarten has been extended. There is another Airbräu location at right-angles to the bar, also overlooking the biergarten, called Tenne. This was open and I looked in quickly and noticed it was more formal with tables made up with cloths.
Tenne is used for functions, meetings and has live entertainment on some evenings which is usually free of charge and can accommodate 250 diners and drinkers. The biergarten has a pond and also some horse chestnut trees for shade. This also has its own beer-serving position and bar. It is quite a revelation and is probably unique inasmuch as it is undercover, sort of.
You won’t get wet if it rains as there is an enormous glass roof that is even higher than the buildings surrounding it and they are seven stories high!
It is open at one end so the wind still blows in during winter. The one disadvantage of it is that it is classified as being outside so smoking is permitted. It is banned indoors throughout Bavaria unless it is a separated sealed room. It seats a remarkable 600 customers.
Let’s return to the original room, known as the Brewery Tavern. Once through the main entrance I observed a large area of seating and tables to my left with the gleaming copper brewery in the centre of them.
Immediately to my right I saw the serving area and beyond that a further area of seating to towards which I headed.
The general appearance of the décor is modern yet made of traditional wood.
There are many photographs on the walls depicting the old airport and its aircraft. The total seating of this, the original pub, is 350 guests. Other than the main area there are a number of side rooms. One is the Zirbelstube which holds 35. It is decorated with material dating from 1897 including the wooden panelling and a Tirolean Kachelofen (tiled stove).
There are three regular beers: Flieger Quell (5.2%), a light coloured beer in the Hell style; Jet Stream (5.0%), a Pilsener and Kumulus (5.4%) a top-fermented wheat beer, there’s a joke in the name, do you get it? There are five seasonal beers and Aviator (7.7%!) is one of them. It’s a double Bockbier that is on sale from Ash Wednesday to Good Friday, a modern-day Lent beer.
Also available at various times of year are: Mayday (5.6%) which, not unnaturally, is available from May 1st onwards. It is a dark malty Dunkel (dark) weissbier (wheat beer).
Airten (abv; see comments) which is a light wheat beer. When first brewed it was 4.2% but now seems to be quoted as 2.5% which is extraordinarily weak for a German beer. In the Autumn comes Festbier (5.8%) that is brewed in the Märzen / Festbier style. Finally comes Krampus (5.3%), a dark winter beer in the Dunkel Export mode.
I think any beer-loving traveller using the airport should make an effort to visit Airbräu. The food is traditional Bavarian along with other options. Also traditional are the uniforms of the waiting staff. As mentioned earlier this is a unique experience in Europe and my hope is that there are more on the way, but don’t hold your breath. An interesting new development is Airbräu Next to Heaven. It’s a subsidiary bar that is air-side (after security) in Terminal 2 near gate H19. The subject of this article is land-side, so accessible to all.
It is the norm for airports to charge up to 50% more than city pubs, here it is the reverse. I don’t normally mention prices as they will probably be higher when you visit. However the normal price in central Munich at the time of this visit averaged around €3.80. Here a beer costs just €2.75, a veritable bargain and it has always been cheaper that anywhere else in town. Yet another good reason to call in!
Airbräu, Terminalstrasse Mitte 18, 85856, München. Tel: 089 9759 3111
Open: Monday-Sunday 08.00-01.00
It is located between Terminals 1 and 2 and there are many orientation maps dotted around the airport. Needless to say, as the second largest airport in Germany, it has direct connections around the world.
On a more local basis, I think the best way to get to the airport is on the S-Bahn Suburban Railway. Line S1 and S8 take 42-48 minutes from the city centre stations. S8 is the quickest (slightly).
There is a local bus to the nearby city of Freising (home of the famous Wehenstephan Brewery). Lufthansa also operate a bus from München Hauptbahnhof (Main Station) that starts just after 05.00 but finishes before 20.00. It takes 40 minutes and runs at a 20 minute frequency.