2023 German Beer Trip – Day 4: Rosenheim and Salzburg (2024)

Day 4 of our trip had us checking out of our Bamberg Hotel and heading back to the train station to catch the ICE 1701 train to Munich, where we would transfer to a regional train to take us to Rosenheim, which would be our base of operations for the next three days. We chose Rosenheim because it is approximately midway between Munich and Salzburg, permitting a relatively short train ride to each city (about 40 minutes to Munich and about one hour to Salzburg). Along this regional train route between Munich and Salzburg are several other small cities and towns that have local breweries should we opt to visit. Staying in Rosenheim also permitted us to keep Aying and a visit to the Ayinger Brewery on our possible itinerary, though Aying is located along a different regional train route.

Another reason we chose Rosenheim in addition to the ease of access was that we knew there were several regional breweries located there, as well as a brewpub/restaurant that we could visit in the town. But more on that later.

We also knew, with Oktoberfest in full swing in Munich, that it would be difficult to find lodging there and whatever we could find would be very expensive. As it turned out, we were able to book a Holiday Inn Express in Rosenheim for about $150 a night each (including taxes).

To prepare for the roughly two hour train ride between Bamberg and Munich, we got something to eat at the train station and perused their selection of beers for sale.

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Local beer selection at the Bamberg train station.

Since I had the three Fässla offerings the night before and since Klosterbräu Bamberg was closed the previous day, preventing us from visiting it, I opted to pick up one of their beers. I wanted to avoid their Rauchbier as I knew that was going to be in my 2023 Kalea Beer Advent Calendar and I wasn’t feeling like a Braunbier, so I picked up their Schwärzla Schwarzbier. This is described on Untappd (translated from German by Google) as:

Deep black with ruby red reflections and a creamy and fine-pored foam head. Our popular Bamberger Schwärzla follows the over 480-year-old brewing tradition of the Prince-Bishop’s Braunbierhaus. The mild taste ensures a malty, velvety-soft mouthfeel. The strong roasted aromas form an excellent harmony of subtle dark chocolate, a touch of coffee nuances and clear caramel notes. A light and balanced bitter note from aromatic hops rounds off the taste profile and skillfully prepares the next sip.

The back of the label read as follows (also translated by Google):

Our popular Bamberger Schwärzla follows the over 480-year-old brewing tradition of the Prince-Bishop’s Braunbierhaus. The malt-flowery black beer has a smooth, slim and attractively mild effect on the beer lover’s palate.

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Klosterbräu Bamberg Schwärzla

Without a beer glass to drink from, I had to drink the beer straight from the bottle – and I realized when I was drinking it that I couldn’t remember the last time I drank a beer from either a bottle or a can without first pouring it into a glass. And since I didn’t pour the beer in a glass, I couldn’t confirm the claims about the color and the head when poured. But from the taste, I could definitely tell it was a Schwarzbier!

We made our way to the train platform to await the train to notice that another place I will want to visit on a future trip to Bamberg was visible not too far away to the north.

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Weyermann Specialty Malt Factory

Weyermann malts are my preferred homebrewing malts. I particularly favor their Barke Pilsner and Barke Munich Malts for use in my German-style beers that I brew. While I haven’t written about my more recent batches of beer yet (I have brewed four batches since the last batch I wrote about) including a Hefeweizen and Helles using Barke Pilsner malts as the base malt and a Dunkel and (as of the day before this writing) a Vienna Lager using Barke Munich Malt as the base malt. Weyermann also makes a variety of specialty malts that I use in my homebrewing as well. And while I was recently on the fence about continuing to brew, Northern Brewer recently had a sale where a 55 pound sack of Barke Pilsner malt was 40 percent off. With my wife’s encouragement, I bought a sack of Pilsner malt along with enough Barke Munich malt to repeat my Dunkel recipe. So I have a lot of homebrewing to do in the near future!

There were a number of cities and towns we passed on the way to Munich – some of which I’d like to get off the train and visit some day as there are many smaller breweries in these towns whose beers I would likely never get to try otherwise. Some examples are:

This doesn’t even get us to Nürnberg, let alone Munich – but I think you get the idea. There are lots of picturesque little towns with attractions that are off the beaten path and would probably welcome having some visitors who support their local businesses.

We got to Rosenheim just after noon, walked to our hotel and dropped off our bags. We then had to choose amongst our many options. One was going to Munich to spend time at Oktoberfest that afternoon but we figured it would be close to 2 PM before we got back there and we would be running into the evening crowds, which we were trying to avoid. Another idea was to travel to Aying and visit the Ayinger Bräustüberl but that was quickly discarded since we would have had to travel through Munich on the way to and from Aying, which would cut into the time we had that afternoon as we were determined to have dinner that evening in Rosenheim. Another option was to get of the regional train at some of the eight smaller towns between Rosenheim and Salzburg.

My neighbor finally said he wanted to go to Salzburg because he had never been there before (he had been many places in Germany, including Aying, on past business trips). So Salzburg it was!

This would be my third visit to Salzburg, having first spent a couple days there with my family in 2007 and taking a day trip when my wife and I went to Oktoberfest in 2010.

Our twin rail pass also included travel to a couple of cities just outside of Germany – specifically Basel, Switzerland and Salzburg. So we were good to go to Salzburg without having to buy a separate rail ticket for this trip.

We arrived at the Salzburg train station and I was amazed at how nice it was after the remodeling that took place following my 2010 visit. We decided it was time to eat a late lunch, so we stopped at the nearby Stiegl Corner am Bahnhof where I had a Stiegl Goldbräu and a Stiegl-Weisse Naturtrüb to go along with my goulash.

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Stiegl Goldbräu at Stiegl Corner am Bahnhof

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Stiegl-Weisse Naturtrüb at Stiegl Corner am Bahnhof

My wife insisted that, in addition to Schweinhaxe, that I have some goulash somewhere and tell me how it compares to how she makes it.

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My goulash at Stiegl Corner am Bahnhof

While it was good and met the immediate needs I had to eat something to carry me through the rest of the afternoon, my wife’s goulash is better. Way, way better! It was no contest!

Our lunch being complete, we headed off to see the sights in Salzburg and to try some beers. We were tempted to visit the Kalea headquarters, but with our limited time we decided to skip that stop as it would have required a bus, taxi or Uber to get there.

We were again fortunate that the weather was beautiful – it was in the low 70s and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. I walked us through the Mirabellgarten.

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Mirabellgarten and the fortress

We crossed the Salzach River via the Makartsteg, with the intention of taking my neighbor, who was marveling at how beautiful Salzburg is, on a walk past the Mozart birthplace and see that area of old Salzburg that surrounds it. From the end of the Makartsteg, we would turn left to cut through the Hagenauerplatz. As we started to move in that direction, my neighbor noted that he needed a restroom soon and since I didn’t know of a public restroom in that area, I suggested we head to Sternbräu, which was about 100 yards from where we were standing and also served beer!

We took a table outside and ordered beer and he set off for the facilities. I had a Sternbier, which is an unfiltered Kellerbier and is, in fact, the only beer Sternbräu Salzburg serves (the beer itself – according to the restaurant website – is produced by Hofbräu Kaltenhausen).

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Sternbräu Sternbier

My neighbor returned and it was my turn to use the restroom. It was here I was found that reaching the bathroom nearly required the skills of scaling the nearby Alps.

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Sternbräu Stairway to Heaven (when you really have to go, making it to the top is a heavenly feeling!)

This would not be the last time on the trip that I would encounter a lengthy staircase to climb to reach the WC!!

Relieved and refreshed, we decided it was time to take the trek up the hillside to visit Augustiner Bräustübl Mülln.

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Augustiner Bräustübl Mülln

This was my second visit here, having visited with my family on our first visit to Salzburg in 2007. However, at the time I couldn’t figure out the way to buy a beer and even having reviewed several videos I was still a bit confused by something that should have been (and is!!) simple. So my family and I just got something to eat (after walking up the same hillside in the pouring rain).

This time I was determined to have a beer – that was why we were there! We grabbed our mugs, rinsed them, paid for our beer tickets and took the mugs over to the stand where they were filled out of wooden barrels. Filled mugs in hand, we made our way to the outdoor courtyard to drink with literally hundreds of other people.

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Bräustübl Bier at the Augustiner Bräu Kloster Mülln

At first we sat with an older couple from Greece who didn’t speak much English and were planning to leave shortly. We then noticed a nearby table with several people speaking English so we went to join them. We passed a good 90 plus minutes with a three women from Toronto and a couple from Texas. The three women (a young woman in her early twenties and her mother and aunt) were there to celebrate their daughter’s/niece’s graduation from university. The middle-aged Texan couple were celebrating their first wedding anniversary – the wife had remarried a chef after having been widowed when her first husband had passed away several years before. They had tickets and were planning on attending Oktoberfest the next evening with a group of friends, and we discussed how crazy it can get during the even mid-week evenings at Oktoberfest, while the husband and I also tried to convince his wife of the need for her to purchase a dirndl to wear as she certainly had the pulchritude and impressive physical endowments to wear it well!

The hour was approaching 6:00 PM and we had decided that since the regional train back to Rosenheim left the Salzburg train station at each hour at a quarter past the hour, we needed to be well on our way to make the 6:15 train to make it back to Rosenheim by 7:30 and then head out to dinner.

We hauled ass and made even better time aided by the return trip to the train station being pretty much downhill for a good portion of the walk! I was still amazed by how beautiful the weather had been – when my wife and I took our day trip in mid-September 2010, it was dreary and cold – as was the following day when we attended the opening of Oktoberfest. The weather today was sublime! We took the Eisenbahnbrücke, which leads directly to the train station and made what Google Maps estimated was a 21 minute walk in about 15 minutes.

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View of Salzburg from the Eisenbahnbrücke

As we went to board the train, we were met by a female Deustche Bahn employee asking if we had our tickets and passports. We said we did, and started to pull them out to show her, but she waved us on to the train. I thought this was odd, but then shrugged it off.

We took our seats in the very small first class section of the regional train car, just to the left of the car’s toilet facilities. The first class seats are barely that, separated from the regular seats by a few stairs. I took particular notice of the train’s WC location since I assumed I was likely to have need of it on the roughly 70 minute long ride back to Rosenheim.

Sitting next to us was an American family: father and mother with teenaged son and daughter. They were talking some, but the mother was noticeably tired and not talking much. It probably didn’t help that the sun was coming through the window of the train car right into her face.

As we were waiting the few minutes for the train to leave, we noticed a young man come up to the closed train car doors, where he stopped and looked through the windows – obviously looking for somebody. Not seeing what (or who) he expected, he moved on. Anotehr thing I thought was odd – he could have boarded the train and walked through the car to find whoever he was seeking. But for the second time in a handful of minutes, I shrugged it off and waited for the train to depart.

Once underway, the train moved through the fringes of Salzburg on its way to the German border. As we drew closer to the border, there was an announcement made in both German and English saying that the train would be stopping at Freilassing, the first stop inside Germany, and that passengers should have their passports ready as they would be inspected by German customs police.

My neighbor and I both looked at each other. Between the woman DB employee asking us if we had our tickets and passports and this announcement, we knew something interesting was going to happen as these trains typically do not stop at the border of EU countries for this type of check. It also caught the attention of the familly sitting across the carriage from us.

As we got to Freilassing, the train stopped and we were boarded by German customs police. It interested me that they were speaking English to everyone (at least that I could hear) and one of them approached the short stairway that separated the few first class seats from the rest of the train seats. He asked me if I had my passport and I said yes, but he didn’t seem interested in looking at it and walked right past us, looking into the small glass-partitioned section of the first class section behind us at the end of the car before turning back around, descending the few stairs and meeting up with a couple other officers and the female DB employee who had asked us if we had our passports when we were approaching to board the train in Salzburg.

The officers’ and the DB employee’s attention turned to the car’s bathroom. The police started knocking on the door and demanding (in English) for the door to be unlocked and for whoever was inside to come out. My neighbor and I, as well as the family traveling in the seats next to us, were watching intently as the scene unfolded.

Somebody had retrieved a tool to open the locked door, which has a four-sided unthreaded bolt that requires a special wrench to open it. In short order, three young men, who from appearances looked to be of middle eastern origin, were pulled out of the WC. They were asked, in English, for their passports. They had none. They were asked, in English, for their identification. They had none. One of the officers, in what we would think was a stereotypic German movie accent, said “You vill come vit us” and hustled the three of them off the train.

With the free floor show over, I was grateful that the police caught the three who were trying to enter Germany illegally and wondered if they caught the fourth who, when looking through the door at the station, now appeared to have likely been part of the group. I was also grateful that we would not be locked out of the WC for the remainder of the trip, should we have had need of it!

The activity also roused the family sitting next to us. We found that they were from Texas and also were planning to go to Oktoberfest the next evening. We had a very pleasant remainder of the trip talking to them about a number of topics, including the problems they had with people illegally entering Texas and the damage they were receiving to their property near the border.

Once back in Rosenheim, we set our sights on our dinner. From our hotel, we set off to the Tante Paula im Mail-Keller, a small restaurant with a house brewery where they produce their own beer.

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Interior of Tante Paula – a charming little place with good food and beer!

Once we were seated, I ordered a their Onkel Josef, an unfiltered Munich Dunkel which I found to be very good!

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Onkel Josef Munich Dunkel at Tante Paula’s

Reviewing their menu, there were three other house beers they served: Tante Paula (an unfiltered Helles lager), Tante Liesl (a hefeweizen) and Xaver (which is described on the menu as a special beer that is ‘always different’; Untappd classifies it as an Export/Dortmunder). My recollection is that they didn’t have Xaver available, so I opted for a Tante Paula for my next beer.

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Tante Paula Helles at Tante Paula’s

My roast pork in dark beer sauce was also very delicious!

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Roast pork in dark beer sauce at Tante Paula’s

With that, Day 4 our our trip ended. We headed back to our hotel for a good night’s sleep and to prepare for a morning visit to Munich and to Oktoberfest!

2023 German Beer Trip – Day 4: Rosenheim and Salzburg (2024)

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