Ayinger was today's stop on the beer tour. Located about 45 minutes north of Munich, the town of Aying is centered around it's brewery. Kristine Deicke gave us a tour of the brewery and the town.
Ayinger is in the middle of constructing a new brew house that will be open this fall. Currently they brew their top fermented beers at one of their other breweries, but upon completion of the new brew house, all beers will be able to be brewed in one location. It is a beautiful new building which fits right into the Bavarian Country side.
Annual production at Ayinger is 100,000 Hectoliters. They fill 4 days per week (Monday thru Thursday), and can fill 23000 bottles and 110 barrels per hour. They do all this with around 100 employees.
10-12 beers are brewed here, depending on the season including Weihnachts bock, Heller Bock, Mai Bock, Altbairisch Dunckel, Jahrhundert, Kellerbrau, and Pils Brau Hell. They also mix some soft drink products and have recently started bottling mineral water from their 176 meter deep well.
The brewery is the center of many of the local festivals. "The day of the beer," was last held on April 23 1999 which also marks the day they started on their new brew house. They brew a special beer for this day - their Kirta-Halbe - sorry, we can't get it in the U.S. The Sunday after Oktoberfest, Ayinger has the Open Door day where people come from far and wide to tour the brewery and several local crafts people set up booths and a farmers market. This year they are expecting to have the new brew house up and functional for this event. Needless to say, we have several reasons to come back to Ayinger. Thanks to Kristine Deicke for all the interesting information about the brewery.
After our tour and a wonderful "second breakfast" consisting of the traditional Weisswurst (which Kristine was very kind to explain to us how to eat), we headed to the BMW Museum. Because of Doug's love for motorcycling and general love for automobiles, we had to pay homage to the great BMW. It was quite an interesting building, and very well set up for foreigners - all the videos were available to be heard in different languages. But alas, the videos were stuck in the 70's. We learned all about the wonderful new technologies of Anti-lock breaking and having your car give you directions on where to turn (GPS). It was really trying to be great, but it had an aura of lameness about it. Still, it was BMW, and that, in itself, is a good thing.
We are staying tonight in Aying, in the hotel owned by the brewery and we must say it is one of the nicest rooms we've stayed in tonight. Doug even took pictures of the bathroom. Kristine did inform us of many local historical facts, most involving the May pole which is right outside our window. It is the highest Mai Pole in Germany, measuring in at 48 meters. It is made of wood, all by hand without the aid of "electrical" tools, and a new one is constructed every 5 years. Every man in town helps carry the pole to the location where it will be put up and then they hoist it, again by hand, up into place. There usually are several people watching, so this is a very dangerous activity, but only if they drop it. One night, Kristine continued to tell us, the Mai Pole was hit by lightning and it fell into the hotel. No major damage was done, just some structural problems and the roof got a little singed.
Tonight we lay us down to sleep.
We pray for lightning not to streak.
If it does before we wake,
we pray the Mai Pole will not bake.
Another tradition revolving around the Mai Pole is the young people from other towns apparently try to sneak into a town and steal the Mai Pole. If they are successful at taking the pole, the town that the pole is taken from has to provide free beer and food as ransom to get their Mai Pole back. It is all in good fun and very festive. The pole in Aying has never been successfully taken (gee, I wonder why? Maybe the SIZE). Also to note, if any towns person places a hand on the Mai Pole and says "Halt" (even if the kids have gotten it taken down) before it gets out of town, then the taking is not legitimate and the ransom will not be paid. Doug and Mike are in the square right now trying to figure out how to get the Mai Pole into their carry on luggage. The idea of getting free food and drink for everyone in Iowa City was appealing to them, and if you know Doug, he never turns down a good challenge. I personally think we're going to have to locate a C5-A Galaxy transport plane to get the thing home because I am not going to lug that thing around for the rest of the trip. I'm also wondering where we would put it. It doesn't go with any of our décor.
Tonight we had a wonderful dinner at the hotel restaurant. It was the best that I (Sabrina) have had on this trip, and it reassured me that there are vegetables other than potato dumplings in Europe. The boys sampled many of the beers of the house and Doug attacked and killed many mosquitoes (the first we have seen the whole trip). He will be presented the Iron Fly-swatter of valor tomorrow morning in a ceremony by the Mai Pole - or not.
A couple of interesting notes to close out today's comments. We turned on a television for the first time. We saw the Simpson's, the Muppets and Hogans Heros. We were very disappointed because we heard Alf was big over here, and we didn't get to see him. And for all of you out there, we want to clarify that Mike Alberhasky is Doug's brother. NOT, and let me repeat this, NOT Doug and Sabrina's son.
Tomorrow, if we can get the young'n out of bed, we will be heading to Prien and Salsburg - and hopefully another good Internet connection.