A Bavarian Experience At The Hofbrauhaus

Richard’s recent post about his stay in Munich reminded me of my visit to that city, and to its legendary Hofbrauhaus, in the summer of 1980.

I was traveling around Europe on a shoestring after my college graduation and, like Richard, was conserving money by staying in hostels and not eating out.  However, I had heard about the Hofbrauhaus and decided I just had to drink a beer there.  So I scrimped even more on the days leading up to the Munich leg of my journey to make that dream a reality (and a windfall due to a surprise invitation to stay, for free, at an Odense commune sure helped).

After I arrived in Munich and found a hostel I went right to the Hofbrauhaus.  It was mid-afternoon and the place already was jammed.  Patrons sat at long common tables, and burly waitresses carrying fistfuls of beer steins and platters of food weaved through the mob.  I found an open spot, ordered a huge tankard of beer, and was promptly engaged in conversation by young women also seated at the table.  They said they were members of a local bowling team celebrating the end of their season.  They were happy, loud and red-faced, inhaling snuff and guzzling beer, and eager to practice their English with an American.

I don’t remember what we talked about — I doubt if they would, either — but they insisted I try some snuff, and after a few more gulps of beer I agreed.  They demonstrated that you tapped out the snuff onto a spot on your hand at the base of your thumb and snorted it up.  It was the only time I’ve ever tried snuff.  It was disgusting, but I appreciated their company and their generosity.  I felt welcome at that loud, bustling place, and the beer was good, too.

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