The Staatliches Hofbräuhaus in München (public Royal Brewery in Munich, also Hofbräu München) is a brewery in Munich, Germany, owned by the Bavarian state government. The Hof (court) comes from the brewery's history as a royal brewery in the Kingdom of Bavaria. The brewery owns the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, the Hofbräukeller and one of the largest tents at the Oktoberfest (Hofbräu-Festzelt).
There are many types of beer brewed using original recipes handed down by Wilhelm V, the Duke of Bavaria. The current beers produced range from wheat ales to lagers with names such as Maibock, Dunkel, and Oktoberfest.
The Hofbräuhaus in Munich inspired the song "oans, zwoa, g'suffa" (The Bavarian dialect for: "one, two, down the hatch").
The Hofbräuhaus am Platzl, Munich's famous “hofbrauhaus” was founded in 1589 by the Duke of Bavaria, Wilhelm V. It is one of Munich's oldest beer halls. It was originally founded as the brewery to the old Royal Residence, which at that time was situated just around the corner from where the beer hall stands today. The beer quickly became quite popular thanks to the first brewer, Heimeran Pongratz, and the famous "Bavarian Beer Purity Law" of 1516 that stated that only natural ingredients could be used in the brewing process. Maximilian I, Wilhelm’s son and heir, did not care much for the popular Braunbier, which was the dark and heavy brown beer. So, in the beginning of the 17th century Maximilian I turned the brewery’s focus onto wheat beers and forbade all other private breweries to brew wheat beer thus creating a monopoly. In 1612, Heimeran Pongraz’ successor, Elias Pichler was under pressure to brew a stronger beer hence the Maibock. In fact, the Maibock beer became so famous that it once saved the city from annihilation. When King Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden invaded Bavaria during the Thirty Years' War in 1632, he threatened to sack and burn the entire city of Munich. He agreed to leave the city in peace if the citizens surrendered some hostages, and 600,000 barrels of Hofbräuhaus beer.
Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart lived around the block from the beer hall in the late eighteenth century. In a poem he wrote, Mozart claimed to have written the opera Idomeneo after several visits to the Hofbräuhaus fortified him for the task. In the nineteenth century, most of the breweries in Munich, including the Hofbräuhaus, were converted into large beer halls, restaurants, and entertainment centers with large, cavernous meeting rooms for weddings, concerts, and plays. In the period after World War One, the beer halls of Munich became swept up in the chaotic politics of the period. In the period just before World War One, Vladimir Lenin lived in Munich and reportedly visited the Hofbräuhaus on a regular basis. In 1919, the Munich Communist government set up headquarters in the beer hall, and in 1920 Adolf Hitler and the National Socialists held their first meeting in the Festsaal, the Festival Room, on the third floor.
The Hofbräuhaus in Munich was one of the beer halls used by the Nazi Party to declare policies and hold functions. On February 24, 1920, Adolf Hitler proclaimed the 25-point program of the National Socialist program in front of around 2000 people at the Hofbräuhaus, which reconstituted the German Workers' Party as the National Socialist German Workers' Party, known as the Nazi Party. Hundreds of tourists visit these sites, including the Hofbräuhaus in Munich every year. One author claims that some of the first violent attacks on Jews took place at the Hofbräuhaus. While it is true that some of Hitler's earliest oratorical attacks on Jews took place from the rostrum of the beer hall, there is no evidence that direct physical attacks on Jews took place in the Hofbräuhaus.
Hitler's experiences with the Hofbräuhaus were limited to political events and the commemorations; the infamous "Beer Hall Putsch" of 1923 took place in the Bürgerbräukeller beer hall, which used to stand on the east side of the city. Since Hitler did not drink alcohol, eat red meat, or smoke, the beer hall was not his scene. His favorite restaurant in Munich was an Italian restaurant, Osteria Bavaria (now Osteria Italiana), near Munich's famed Ludwig-Maximillians University. Before he drove the Nazi party's fascist and genocidal politics, one of Hitler's watercolors was of the Hofbräuhaus. Since it is over 400 years old, the Hofbräuhaus was also visited several times by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, John F. Kennedy, and the American author Thomas Wolfe, but these well-known visitors, or the vast 400 plus years of Hofbräuhaus history, are rarely mentioned by the tour guides.
Hofbräuhaus outside Munich
The demand for Hofbräuhäuser in other parts of the world began almost immediately after World War II. After World War II, the Hofbräuhaus quickly became Munich's number one tourist attraction. First, hundreds of American soldiers stationed in Munich began to bring home the clay mugs with the "HB" logo. Celebrities such as Louis Armstrong, Mikhail Gorbachev, NASA astronauts, even future presidents such as George H. W. Bush visited the Hofbräuhaus while in Munich. After Munich's world famous Oktoberfest (where the Hofbräu has one of the largest beer tents), the Hofbräuhaus am Platzl is Munich's most outstanding tourist attraction and historical monument. The first Hofbräuhaus in Europe outside Germany was opened in Genoa, Italy, see Hofbräuhaus Genova. There is also a Hofbräuhaus in Stockholm, Sweden.
Since October 2005, there has been a Hofbräuhaus in Hamburg, Germany. In October 2008, a Hofbräuhaus in Bremen, Germany, was opened. There are also Hofbräuhäuser in Regensburg, Kaiserslautern, Berlin and Berchtesgaden. Hofbräuhaus has even been operating in Melbourne, Australia, since 1968.
Hofbräuhaus franchises have opened in several places around the United States of America. The other American restaurant’s locations include Las Vegas, Nevada; Chicago, Illinois; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and West Springfield, Massachusetts. There is also a chain of Hofbräu Beer Gardens in Miami and Panama City Beach, Florida; New York, New York; and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. The beer gardens are smaller concepts of the eateries and still provide the traditional food and beverages offered by the restaurant locations but none brew their own beer. These beer gardens can cost anywhere between $890,000 to $4.795 million due to varying factors such as location and detail. This is a much smaller cost compared to the restaurants, which cost around $3 million at the low end and $11 million on the high end. Unlike the larger versions of the Hofbräuhaus, which are designed to hold 750 to 1,000+ customers, these beer gardens are designed to accommodate 150 to 400 guests while still providing the atmosphere of a real Hofbräuhaus. As of July 2013, a new Cleveland, Ohio location is currently being planned to open in the city's Playhouse Square district.
The Marriott International in Dubai has licensed the brand and has opened a restaurant in their hotel. The Hofbräuhaus Seoul was the first Hofbräuhaus in Asia. There was also a franchise at the Don Mueang International Airport in Bangkok. The Hofbräuhaus Las Vegas is the first full-scale replica of the main beer hall anywhere in the world. Visitors familiar with the Hofbräuhaus in Munich will recognize the affinity immediately, right down to the picture of Duke Wilhelm V, the founder of the original Hofbräuhaus in 1589, prominently displayed in the main hall.
This 24,000-square-foot complex will serve the functions of brewery as well as a restaurant. Traditional Bavarian dishes will be served as will traditional Hofbrau beer brewed on site in the 2,000-square-foot brewery. A main beer hall is incorporated into the building plans that is 5,000 square feet and can sit 1,000 customers. In total, this project will cost $8.4 million and is planned to be open late 2014.
In May 2013, the company settled to pay $15.6 million dollars to the family of a seven-year-old girl who was killed as the result of a drunk driver. The restaurant served a customer too much and let him get behind the wheel causing the accident. The business has since then enforced numerous policy changes including offering free food and non-alcoholic drinks to designated drivers as well as calling a cab if necessary.
Hofbräuhaus West Springfield
Joe Stevens, who operates this particular Hofbräuhaus, decided to rebrand the location into a German steakhouse in July 2012. The restaurant features a new menu that focuses on steaks and chops, however schnitzel, bratwurst, and other traditional dishes still remain. The wine and beer selections were expanded as well, as were the music choices. The commonly used Oomph music is still being played, but modern German jazz has been added.
This location, being the first to open in America, has also set another first for the Hofbräuhaus brand. Instead of sticking to the classic German beer, the Newport location has recently brewed a new pale ale hopped with Amarillo. The new beer, named Hallodri, is the first of it’s kind in over 400 years of traditional German lagers and wheat beers. The Hallodri resembles an India Pale Lager and has a 6.7% ABV. The brewer, Evan Rouse, describes it as having a nice lingering bitterness with a citrus and tropical fruit flavoring and aroma. Rouse worked for years to influence his chain of command to allow him to create this more American styled beer.
- "Hofbrau America". Hofbrau America. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
- Otto D. Tolischus, 3 OF 25 NAZI THESES FULLY CARRIED OUT, The New York Times, March 3, 1935, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- February 24, 1920: Nazi Party Established, Yad Vashem: The Holocaust Martyrs' and Heroes' Remembrance Authority, 2004, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- Sue Kovach Shuman, On a Munich Tour, Confronting a Dark Past, Washington Post, September 24, 2006, Accessed October 13, 2008.
- See Jeffrey Gaab, Munich: Hofbräuhaus and History. (Peter Lang Publishers, NY, 2006).
- Alan Cowell, Rome Journal; Hitler's Watercolors Too Hot for Italy's Comfort
- "Hofbräuhaus, Munich". San Diego Reader. July 21, 2009. Retrieved 2013-05-29.
- McFee, Michelle J. "Hofbräuhaus Brewery, Restaurant Planned for PlayhouseSquare Land Wrapping the Hermit Club." Cleveland.com. The Plain Dealer, 24 July 2013. Web. 25 July 2013.
- Trattner, Douglas. "Scene and Heard: Scene's News Blog.". Cleveland Scene. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
- Perrine, Shannon. "Hofbrauhaus pays huge lawsuit settlement.". WTAE. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
- Robert, Hugh. "Hofbrauhaus to rebrand itself as a German steakhouse.". MassLive. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
- "BrewProf: Hofbrauhaus gets a little bit American with Hallodri.". WCPO. Retrieved 30 Mar 2014.
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