Airbräu opened in 1999, and it still holds the title of the first and only airport brewery in the world. We got to experience a behind the scenes tour of the brewery and tasted some of their delicious Kumulus beer in the outdoor garden area of this restaurant/brewery.
Airbräu offers three beers year round and has five seasonal beers that it features during different months throughout the year. Brews offered regularly in the restaurant are: FliegerQuell, a semi-dry ale; Kumulus, a weißbier; and Jetstream, a pilsner. Their five seasonal beers range in both flavor and style, from light summery beers to heavy, dark winter beers. Whenever Airbräu creates a new beer, it offers plenty of free samples to people passing by in the airport.
We sat down with Airbräu employee and brew master student, Yovcho Byalkov, to learn more about the brewing process and the beer industry in Germany.
How do the German Purity Laws affect the brewing process of craft breweries like Airbräu? Every beer can be brewed according to the Purity Laws and still be innovative. Some breweries have stopped obeying the Purity Laws for various reasons, not just because these laws are preventing them from brewing something good.
What makes a beer a craft beer? It depends on the way you ferment and filter the beer. Craft beers tend to use more malt, so they have a maltier flavor.
Is craft brewing a new trend here in Germany? Craft brews started becoming popular in Germany about three to five years ago. Three years ago was the first craft beer exposition of mid-sized breweries in Munich. IPAs and imperial stouts are also becoming more popular. It’s uncommon to have craft beers for sale in stores since most supermarkets only sell beers from the larger German breweries. There are a few small stores that sell American craft beers but not many.
Has the American craft-brewing scene influenced the Germany beer industry? Yes, there has been a big American influence on the German craft beer trend. IPAs and pale ales are originally British styles, but Americans turned them into their own style and these have influenced the German craft beer industry. American beers tend to be hoppier than German beers, but there are so many different types of beer in Germany that you can really get any type of beer you want here.
Home brewing is becoming a very popular hobby in the U.S. Do you find this is the case in Germany? Germany has so many good beers and they are usually pretty cheap, so most people don’t feel the need to start home brewing here. It’s not as big here in Germany. It’s also very difficult to create a new beer or start a brewery in Germany since the industry is already established and very competitive.
Do you think Germany makes the best beer? Yes, and most will Europeans agree. Germany is well known for its beer all over the world. We tasted the Kumulus beer during our visit to Airbräu. This wheat beer has a 5.6% alcohol content, a fruity, refreshing flavor and the taste of a top-fermented beer with reduced carbonation. While this restaurant and bar is a great place to stop by on your way to and from Munich, you don’t need a plane ticket to enjoy the beers here. Anyone can enter this portion of the airport, so you can stop by Airbräu at anytime during your stay in Munich.
Address: Munich Airport Center, Forum Level 3, Terminaistraße 85356, Flughafen Munich (Located between terminals 1 & 2)