Augsburg, Bayern (Bavaria): Bräustüberl zum Thorbräu
21st February 2015
This was a successful visit in as much that I had attempted it twice before without a result. Once I found it closed for staff holidays, the second quest ended in failure because the pub was being redecorated. So, there was some relief as I pushed the door open and entered the room. I found a convenient shelf along the wall in front of the bar counter. It was before 12.00 and I was the only customer, and that’s the way it stayed till I left.
Thorbräu is one of just three of the city’s historic breweries that still remain with us. The other two are Riegele and Hasen (Hare), both have been previous subjects of BeerVisits articles.
Luckily the other three that closed have their beers brewed by other breweries. They are Bürgerbräu (closed 1997, now brewed by Hasen, Augsburg); Goldene Gans (closed 1998, now brewed by Hasen, Augsburg) and Augusta (closed 2010, now brewed by Schlossbrauerei Unterbar). This summary does not include modern brew-pubs.
Thorbräu was established in 1582 and gets its name from the Wertachbrucher Tor, an ancient tower opposite the brewery that’s still standing. Tor seems to have been corrupted into Thor, or maybe that is the old spelling. The brewery came under the control of the Kuhnle family in 1875 and now their fourth generation of the founders are in charge.
For almost forty years this small brewery was overshadowed by one much larger, Kronebräu. This opened in 1885 but closed in 1921 when taken over by Hasen-Bräu. It is believed that Thorbräu acquired some of their property including the 164m deep well that is still used today.
Nowadays Thorbräu produces around 25.000hl of beer per annum. They also produce a similar quantity of non-alcoholic beverages including beer and soft drinks.
The Kuhnle founded the brewery’s biergarten a year after purchasing it. This is open Sunday-Thursday from 17.00 to 24.00 and Friday to Saturday from 17.00 to 01.00 and is to be found nearby at Heilig-Kreuz-Strasse 20. In the Theatre Quarter. It includes an undercover area and so is open year round in all weathers.
Once inside I found myself in the main room. This is very traditional and has varnished wooden tables and seats. The panelling goes to the top of most of the walls.
There is a magnificent wooden cabinet with glass sides that contains some very old branded glassware and ceramic krugs.
The bar counter itself is a superb construction of dark polished wood. It has a row of stools in front.
Beyond the bar room there is another with white walls with a number of old paintings. This leads to another more modern area with big glass windows that offer views of the yard with the brewery on the far side. The facilities are reached by steps from this room.
In all there are four rooms in the pub and these progressively open as required. However the main bar room is always open.
Three draught beers are offered plus a lot more in bottles. On tap were Maximilians Kellerbier (5.0%), a cloudy Zwickelbier; Schwarzbier (5.5%), a black beer and Augsburger Weisse (5.0%), a wheat beer.
Some of the bottled beers were just plain silly: MacMallow (5.4%), a lemon beer and Rattlesnake, a red apple beer brewed for the “Rattlesnake Saloon” in Munich.
Others were more serious: Celtic (5.0%), a Helles bier; Thorbräu Pis (4.8%), South German Pils style, and Augsburger Gold (4.8%), a Bavarian Hell style beer. I was surprised that the latter was not on draught at the brewery tap.
There is a full menu offered for all of the opening hours. This pub is easy to reach should you be in Augsburg.
Should you ever get bored with the hustle of Munich it is worth remembering that this ancient city is less than 25 minutes away on a fast train.
Bräustüberl zum Thorbräu, Wertachbrucker-Tor-Strasse 9, 86152 Augsburg. Tel: 0821 36562
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-23.00. Kitchen: 11.00-22.00
The pub is easily reached by the trams of route 2. The tram interchange point in the city is Königsplatz. The number 2 calls here on its way to Augsburg West Park & Ride (P&R).
Go to the Senkelbach stop and walk back and you will see Wertachbrucker-Tor-Strasse on the opposite side of the road. Walk up here across the open space and you will soon see the brewery.
Should you be in any doubt look for the tower of Wertachbrucker-Tor. Once there, you will see the pub.