I'd had a good long sleep, but I still felt a bit weird. The day after the Oktoberfest. I'd stopped boozing at around 5 pm, too. I blame lack of food.
Breakfast didn't attract me a great deal. Despite my low food intake the day before. What was it I was feeling? Knackered? Hungover? Ill? Something somewhere inbetween all three.
When the eating was done, the other three all buggered off. Leaving me alone with my luggage and my strange feeling. But I wasn't lost. I had a plan for the day. And yes, it did include beer. Not that I felt much like one (I didn't look much like one, either). Grabbing some photos and dropping by a few pubs I'd not been in before. Basically to harvest material for my Munich Pub Guide.
I'd sort of worked out an itinerary. Wander down this way, then along here, down here and finally back to the hotel to pick up my bag. Simple. The exercise would soon liven me up, I was sure.
First on my list was Hackerhaus. Mostly because I'd never been there and it sounded like a cosy, old place. And it's pretty central. It wasn't hard to find. But I walked right on past. Why? I had lost one thing at the Oktoberfest. My pen. I needed a new one and fast. Now I was on my own there would be plenty of time for note-taking.
I found a pen. Something else, too. A book. I was just walking past a book shop and, as you do, dived in to check the beer section. Wonder of wonders - they had something I didn't already own. A book about brewing in Munich. With a proper bibliography and references. Brillafrickingriffic. I needed a good historical book about Munich. The day had begun well.
Hackerhaus is on the site of the original Hacker brewery. Not that's it's been there for a long while. It's a handsome 19th-century building with a good corner location. Except . . . the bit on the corner is now occupied by shops. The pub part is now an uneasy L-shape with little more than an entrance on the street.
Inside. How would I describe inside? Cosy? Old-fashioned? Stuffed full of old kack? Take your pick. It's all and more. It was all a bit much for me. Imagine having to dust all that stuff. It must be a nightmare. I decided to sit at one of the kerbside tables.
Despite being well before noon, there were already a few tables of drinkers outside. Don't you just love Bavaria? A dirndl-clad waitress soon trolled up. What would I loke to drink? Now there's a question. A Mild, that's what I'd like to drink. Luckily they did stock a Mild. Lager Mild, as I like to call it. Dunkles to everyone else. "A small Dunkles, please." "You do realise it's only 30 cl." the waitress warned me. I did realise, but it was nice of her to tell me.
Yes, I know I said I took notes. Do you really want to know what I thought of the Dunkles? Really? Brown colour, malty, nutty, sweetish tiny bit roasty. That do you?
As I sipped my Dunkles (yes, I really did sip it - you can tell I wasn't 100%) I browsed through my new book ["München und das Bier" by Astrid Assél and Christian Huber, Volk Verlag München, 2009]. It was good quality in every sense. Good quality paper, good quality illustrations, good quality research. Not only about brewers, either. There was stuff on pubs as well. One in particular caught my attention. A place that wasn't in my guide. What made me stop and consider was a photo of its bar. With a wooden barrel sitting atop it. Oh, oh. Things like this get me all excited. I'm just a kid at heart.
A quick check of the map revealed that Spockmeier (for that was the name of the pub) was right on my planned route. That was destination number two settled.
Zum Spöckmeier is an historic pub with a long history. Which stretched right up until the RAF urban-planned it to pieces one night. The ruins were replaced by a new pub around 1950. That didn't last long. In 1969 came the current shiny, but rather dull, building. The interior was totally renovated in 2009. Or re-oldated. Because it's been tarted up in a traditional* way.
If you've been to Germany, and especially Bavaria, you'll know the score. Red flagged floors, pine tables, waitresses in dirndls. They haven't done a bad job (especially with the waitresses). It's a bit like one of those oxymoronic 1960's chocolate adverts, where they claimed the product was both new and traditional and unchanged. The clean, almost Spartan, design make it obviously modern. I've seen much worse.
This wouldn't be Munich if Spöckmeier didn't stretch over a couple of storeys and several rooms. The beer garden in front of the pub has another 150 seats.
Unfortunately the spot where the barrel goes was empty. Maybe they just have gravity-served beer in the evenings. Quite a few other pubs do that. I hope so. I was just about to order a Dunkles when I noticed a sign: "Paulaner Oktoberfest". And they did quarter litres, too. Perfect.
I was a bit surpised when the beer turned up. It was the wrong colour: amber rather than golden. These stupid Germans. Can't they even get the colour of Oktoberfest right? Only having tried the Hacker version, I didn't have much to compare it with. Sweet and a bit milky. Like my Mum drank her tea. Not quite how I like my beer, though.
* "traditional" in this sense means "1850 to 1943".
Sendlinger Str. 14,
80331 München (Munich).
Tel. 089 - 2605026
Fax 089 - 2605027
Tel.: 089 - 268088
Fax: 089 - 2605509
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