Hofbrau History – Some historical facts about your favorite German brewery

The original Hofbrau Brewery was founded in 1589 by Whilelm V, the Duke of Bavaria, as the official royal brewery of the country.  It was to be exclusively for the use of the royal family. 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.

Wilhelm had a son, Maximilian I, who did not care much for the popular Braunbier, which was a dark and heavy brown beer.  So in the 17th century, Maximilian I turned the brewery’s focus onto lighter wheat beers and forbid all other private breweries to brew wheat beer, thus creating a monopoly. Eventually, under a new brewer, Elias Pichler, (who succeeded Heimeran Pongratz ) a stronger beer recipe emerged and Miabock beer was invented.

This beer quickly became famous around Europe, as people raved about its purity and incredible taste. In fact, it became so famous that it is rumored to have saved the city from invasion!  King Gustavius from Sweden agreed to not invade Munich in exchange for some hostages and 600,000 barrels of the fine brew during the Thirty Years War!  Now that’s some good beer!

The demand for Hofbräuhäuser in other parts of the world quickly followed and after the second World War, thanks to American soldiers stationed in Munich bringing home beer mugs, the demand spread to the United States.

Today there are still many types of beer brewed using the original recipes handed down by the Duke of Bavaria.  These beers include Weißbier and Helles, Maibock, Dunkel and Oktoberfest lagers.  So the next time you are sipping one of your favorite Hofbrau brews, think of the rich history behind each delicious sip!