1516 Duke William IV issues the Purity Law
Enacted in April 1516, and still the basis of the art of brewing in Germany today: The historic “Reinheitsgebot”, which translates to Beer Purity Law, was proclaimed to improve the quality of the beer and protect consumers. In the provision, from the pen of William IV, Duke of Bavaria, it decrees: “that… no other ingredient shall be added to beer, only barley, hops and water shall be used”.
1589 Duke Wilhelm V founds the Hofbräuhaus
At this point in time the locals are dissatisfied with the beer brewed in Munich, therefore beer had to be imported from the town of Einbeck in Lower Saxony. The import is expensive, beer is a luxury item. Thus, Duke Wilhelm V of Bavaria and his advisers agree on September 27, 1589, to build their own ‘brewhouse’. As planner, builder and first master brewer of the future Hofbräuhaus, they send for Heimeran Pongratz from the Benedictine monastery Geisenfeld to come to Munich. The “ducal brewery” was founded.
1602 Hofbräuhaus brews Weissbier
Duke Maximilian I, son and successor of William V, liked a wheat beer better than the common brown beer. Not only did he have a fine palate, but also a keen sense of finance and marketing. In 1602 he forbids all other private breweries to brew “Weissbier” and secures the wheat beer monopoly. In the following years there is a veritable boom in wheat beer.
1607 Change of Address
The demand is so great that, in 1607, Maximilian outsources the wheat beer brewery to its own brewing site: To the Platzl, located in the heart of Munich, which is still the location of the famous Hofbräuhaus today.
1610 Hofbräu Beer is served to the Public
Maximilian turns the thirst of his people into cash: From 1610, he officially allows the Munich innkeepers to purchase beer from the Ducal Hofbräuhaus and serve it publicly. At first, it is primarily officials and servants of the Court that refresh themselves with the Hofbräu “barley juice”, later the common folk as well – with growing enthusiasm!.
1614 The first Maibock
“There has to be a stronger beer!” The new Hofbräuhaus brew master is Elias Pichler. He has been specially enticed from Einbeck, where the good old strong beer was imported from, and he had the task to brew one like this for the Hofbräuhaus in addition to the Braunbier and Weissbier to satisfy the ducal desire. He created the Hofbräu Maibock, using the “Ainpöckisch” (Einbeck) brewing method, which he was familiar with. You see, “Munich’s oldest bock beer” stands in tradition of the Einbecker strong beer.
1632 The Maibock saves Munich
Beer as protection money! The Swedish Army occupies Munich during the Thirty Years’ War and threatens to plunder and burn down the city. They refrained when Munich payed them 344 pails of Hofbräu Maibock. Thus, the city was spared.