This Maxlrain beer loop travels to a tiny hamlet in the Mangfall River Valley of Oberbayern (Upper Bavaria). Maxlrain is home to Schlossbrauerei Maxlrain (Maxlrain Castle Brewery), a brewery that is owned and operated by one of the remnant families of nobility that are sprinkled across modern Germany.
I had arrived from overseas the day before and was spending time overcoming the inevitable jet lag in the town of Rosenheim, just east of Maxlrain. The regional railway known as the “BOB” (Bayerische Oberlandbahn) operates one of its routes between Rosenheim and Holzkirchen and provides many options for hike start and end points – I chose the sleepy stop at Heufeld for the start and planned a route that would bring me back to a stop at Bad Aibling where I caught a train back to Rosenheim.
The valley is broad and fairly flat in this stretch and there are open views to the Alps to the south. There is a slight ascent as you make your way to Maxlrain and part of the route follows Jakobsweg, a spur of the old pilgrimage route known in Spain as the Camino Santiago. One of the first prominent sights along the way is the Wallfahrts zur Heiligen Dreifaltigkeit (pilgrimage church of the Holy Trinity) built in 1653 near a healing spring. This is primarily farming land checkered with rich green pasture, corn fields, and small stands of forest.
After cresting a hilltop, the route enters Maxlrain at the Bräustüberl Maxlrain, the beer garden and beer hall adjacent to Schlossbrauerei Maxlrain. The beer garden is a classic outdoor space and the Bräustüberl is a beautiful old space built into a huge barn. This is a terrific place for rest and refreshment in the middle of a summer hike – cool and green. There is a second venue in Maxlrain just a few doors away called Schlosswirtschaft Maxlrain that appeared to me to be a more upscale restaurant and terrace. The brewery sits between the two.
Schlossbrauerei Maxlrain traces its beginning to 1636 when it started as a “brown beer” maker. There are quite a few “castle breweries” spotted around the country but many if not most are no longer affiliated with the nobility. This one though is owned by the prince and princess von Lobkowicz who live at the adjacent chateau. Prinz Eric von Lobkowicz is the CEO so I guess this can be clearly called noble or “edle” beer. I didn’t even realize there was still a nobility in Germany. Rule by the royalty was abolished in 1919 with the last kaiser. However, today there are still an estimated 70,000 Germans with noble titles.
Maxlrainer produces 15 types of beers and their distribution seems to have a pretty broad regional reach. I encountered pubs serving Maxlrainer throughout the Oberbayern. Both the helles and dunkles that I tried were very solid renditions of the styles. The food at the bräustüberl paired nicely and I couldn’t resist trying the beer batter streusel.
The hike back to Bad Aibling following lunch passes by the grounds of Schloss Maxlrain where the von Lobkowicz family lives before winding through more farming areas and into the small town. I did notice a small bike rental stand near the train stop that would provide the option of biking the same or similar route.
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Rosenheim (home of the roses) provided a pleasant and interesting base for explorations in southeastern Germany, about thirty miles from Munich. It is a city of about 60,000 with twice that number living in its metropolitan area, The rivers Inn and Mangfall meet at the city. Train lines connecting Munich to Salzburg, Munich to Innsbruck, and Rosenheim to Holzkirchen intersect there.
One hundred years ago, Rosenheim still had nine breweries but that has dwindled to three today. Flötzinger Bräu and Auerbräu are sizable breweries while Tante Paula (Aunt Paula’s) is a brew pub. Cafe life is alive and well here.
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