April 12, 2023
The More You Know
Written by Rachel Gyarmati
Being a History Nerd has undoubtedly added a bit of fun to my job as a blogger here at Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh. In my research for our monthly blog, I’ve gathered a lot of random information about the Hofbräuhaus in Munich and beyond.
This month, we will dive into the fascinating, funny, and impressive facts about our favorite German restaurant. You will learn the answers to burning questions, like
- What does the Free State of Bavaria have to do with Hofbräuhaus?
- Can you get an item on the Hofbräuhaus Munich menu without money?
- How was Hofbräuhaus a victim of the Prohibition Law in the 1920s?
Feel free to memorize any of these facts for your next trivia night. We won’t even ask for credit when you win.
Behind the Velvet Rope
Though we fancy ourselves as a gathering place for all, it hasn’t always been that way.
Back in 1589, the biers of Northern Germany were all the rage. Most of the royal court, including Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria, preferred them to the Bier of their area. It was such a trend that the state budget had a place for importing Bier to Munich.
To bring their favorite Bier to them without the cost to the state, Duke Wilhelm V helped Bavaria by commissioning the construction of the Hofbräuhaus. The only patrons in this early era were the Duke and his court. Their exclusive patronage of this home brewery lasted until we opened our doors to the public in 1828.
That opening in 1828 opened Hofbräuhaus to the public and signaled our first move. Though this move was just down the street, it was still notable.
Opening the brewery to the public created a cultural epicenter where patrons could sit at a large table with Mozart, a royal court member, or a farmer. It was a fantastic time to be in Munich.
The Hofbräuhaus brand itself is state property. It is a symbol of heritage and culture and a window into the authentic culture of Germany and Bavaria. This fact makes it even more remarkable that the brand has been brought across the Atlantic.
This dual identity means that although it has a great responsibility to maintain the integrity and authenticity of German/Bavarian culture well operating within the business laws of the location. No pressure, right?
Something we haven’t covered in our blog is the stunning locations of Hofbräuhaus franchises. One can easily see that our ideal of all being welcomed is reflected in some of our international sites.
What’s more, the reviews of each locale are pretty high, coming from both tourists and locals alike. The high standards speak volumes about the quality of our food and the experience offered.
Dubai, United Arab Emirates
You are reading this correctly. Nestled in the JW Marriot, this location gives anyone a break from the unreal architecture, the beaches, and of course, the tech. The reviews on various sites are high, typically from German ex-pats and those looking for a great authentic Bier.
Seoul, South Korea
The capital city of South Korea was the first Hofbräuhaus to open in Asia. Something interesting about Seoul is that they boast over 20 German restaurants. That’s more than in some cities in the United States!
We love this location because, like Dubai, it’s inside a hotel, and like Seoul, it’s in the capital city, Manila. Talk about fusion!
Yes, we’re being a little sarcastic with this one. A little-known historical fact was that in 1903 Hofbräuhaus opened a site on Broadway in New York City. Although successful, it was put out of business once Prohibition was enforced nationwide in the United States.
Ladies and Gentlemen, we have reached my favorite and most whimsical piece of Hofbräuhaus trivia. Friends, I give you Beer tokens (spelled with the double e). These delightfully intricate coins are used in Hofbräuhaus Munich and are real.
They are so real that you can buy them online.
How it works: Patrons can go to Hofbräuhaus Munich and invest in the tokens. They do not depreciate or inflate in value. No matter what, they can be turned in for one Mass, or Liter, of Bier. So, if the price of Bier goes up, you still get what you paid for. If it goes down, then you still get a Liter of Bier!
Please note: Hofbräuhaus Pittsburgh does not take Beer Tokens, although it would be cool.
Where Else but Hofbräuhaus?
What other restaurant has such a history as Hofbräuhaus? Hofbräuhaus’s legacy, menu, and experience have expanded into multiple centuries, countries, and markets. With a history that involves famous historical figures, royalty, and the intrigue of Prohibition, what’s not to love?
I’ll leave you with just one more piece of trivia for the road. When reading about our Biers, you may notice the abbreviation IBU. This abbreviation stands for: International Bitterness Units and is a system put in place to measure the bitterness of Bier.
The measurement of the ABV, or percentage of Alcohol By Volume, accompanies the IBU to tell you what to expect when you are drinking so that you drink responsibly.
For example, our Seasonal Bier for April, the Hopfzen Spezial, has a reading of 5.8% ABV and an IBU of 40. You should also know that this Bier is Spring in a stein. Before you take a sip, you instantly smell citrus and hops. Upon your first sip, you are taken on a journey of hops and malt with a hint of citrus.
We suggest having one in the Biergarten the first chance you get.