Munich Lager & Pilsner

In my previous article I reviewed some of Munich's Wheat Beer. This time around it is all about the Pilsner and Helle Beer.  Helles in German means a "light Beer", however unlike North American Lager the definition only refers to color not the beer's strength or calorie content. Many of the German Helle's are strong in content typically between 4.7% and 5.5%.

Munich and Bavaria are renown for their straw blond lager. In this article I take a look at a selection of Pilsners and Helles from Munich.

1. Schlossbrauerei Auer Pilsner

Brewed by:Schlossbrauerei  Au, Au in der Hallertau

 Auer Pils

 A lot of beer lovers argue that Pilsners taste pretty much the same and fairly boring, in other words if tasted one Pils you’ve tasted them all. After drinking many different Pilsner's  recently I have to admit I was starting to think that they had a point.

Then I tried the Auer Pils and fell in love with the Pilsner again. It is easy to see why this Pilsner is so popular in Munich. The beer pours a very nice light straw color with a medium head. Unlike other Pilsner's, the Auer Pils was not at all watery or sweet and had the perfect balance of bitterness and crispness in the mouth. The Auer Pils is brewed at the Schlossbrauerei in Hallertau just outside of Munich. The only criticism I had with the Auer Pils is that it only came in a 0.3l glass, otherwise this was the perfect Pils.

Rating 9/10


2. Spaten Münchner Hell

 Brewed by Spaten Franziskaner Brau, Munich


Spaten Hell

I’ve never been entirely sure what the difference between a Hell and a Pilsner is. I did have somebody explain it to me one time but I can’t remember the answer....I was drinking at the time.  Anyway the Hell beer is German for a lager (specific to the Bavaria region) and it tastes a lot like Pilsner. Whatever the difference was, this beer was a good one. The beer poured a nice golden-yellow, well-balanced, with a slightly bitter finish. Overall a very drinkable and refreshing beer.

 Rating 8/10


3. Hacker-Pschorr Münchner Hell

Brewed by: Paulaner, Munich


hackerbaus Helle

This is a German lager brewed by the Hacker-Pschorr brewery. The Beer was served on tap at the Altes Hackerhaus, a traditional Munich Restaurant near the Marienplatz city centre. The beer pours very a clear, light golden color with a decent head. The taste was a malty with a little sweetness. The beer looked so good I was left a bit disappointed by the taste which was slightly thin.

 Rating 7/10


4. Pschoor Pils

Brewed by: Paulaner, Munich

Pschorr Pils

This was a very drinkable Pilsner and one of the better ones that I have tried so far. The Pschoor Pils pours a clear golden color with a light frothy head. Very crisp and well balanced with a slightly bitter aftertaste. Not quite as good as the Auer Pils (see number 1) but a very crisp and refreshing beer.

Rating 8/10


5. Hofbrau Pilsner

Brewed by: Hofbrau (HB), Munich

HB Pils

The Hofbrauhaus in Munich is one of the cities most famous breweries. It is owned by the Bavarian state government and was established in 1589 as the Royal Brewery of the kingdom of Bavaria.

Hofbrau is very popular in Munich and can be found at most drinking establishments. As for the Pilsner itself it has everything you could want in a Pilsner. Pours a beautiful clear straw color, taste is fresh and refreshing. That said there is nothing which particularly stands out about the Hofbrau Pilsner. The finish is a little bland and it lacks the hoppy dryness of some of the better Pilsners. A decent session Pilsner but pretty unmemorable.

Rating 6/10

6. Hofbrau Hell

 Brewed by Hofbrauhaus, Munich

Hofbrau original

Not much to say about this one. Beer pours a nice clear straw golden color. Taste is refreshing but fairly unmemorable.

Rating 6/10


7. Airbrau Jetstream Pilsner

Brewed by Airbrau, Munich Airport

Jetstream Pils

If you are ever passing through Munich Airport it is well worth stopping at the Airbrau microbrewery and restaurant. It is not very often you will find a microbrewery making beer at an airport but at that is exactly what Airbrau is doing at Munich Airport. To make things even more special the brewery names all its beers after aviation themes. So you have the Cumulus Weiss Beir, Aviator Bock, Mayday Dark Weiss and in this case the Jetstream Pilsner. Unlike most Pilsner's this one is unfiltered so the color is cloudy staw. Beer has a great aroma and medium head. Maybe it was the unexpected surprise of drinking at a microbrewery based at an airport but this Pilsner sure hit the spot, crisp, refreshing and with a nice hop kick to it. Also worth noting the prices here are pretty special as well €2.60 for a large beer!

Rating 9/10

8. Airbrau FliegerQuell

Brewed by Airbrau, Munich Airport

Airbrau Helle

After enjoying the Jetstream Pilsner so much I had to try the Helle while I was at Airbrau microbrewery. The beer is unfiltered so poured a hazy golden-yellow color. The taste is malty and a little dry and has a nice crispness to it. Mouthfeel is slightly tangy with a bitter aftertaste. Overall a very pleasant Helle

Rating 8/10


That concludes this review of some of Munich's best and most famous Pilsners and Helles. Thanks for reading.