Ayinger Exports Its Kirtabier To The United States – A Look At This Legendary Brewery

Welcome to Ayinger Privatbrauerei in Aying, Germany.
Welcome to Ayinger Privatbrauerei in Aying, Germany.

We here in Beervana think that beer is ingrained into our culture but when traveling abroad to Germany this self-proclamation may not hold up to those from Deutschland. Beer truly is the culture there, especially in the country’s southern federal state of Bavaria.

One such brewery that lives up to producing some of the finest beers is Ayinger Privatbrauerei. Located about 15 miles southeast of Munich in the small rural town of Aying, the brewery is an integral part of the local community of fewer than 5,000 residents.

Since being founded 1877 by Johann Liebhard, Ayinger has been brewing under family ownership and continues to keep true to its local roots to this day. At that time there was said to be around 6,000 breweries in all of Bavaria. Today only around 650 are operating. Through the years Ayinger expanded as demand dictated.

A liter of Ayinger Kellerbier inside the Tasting Room!
A liter of Ayinger Kellerbier inside the Tasting Room!

In 1999, Ayinger built a modern state of the art brewery where it calls home today, across the street from farm fields and a short walk from the S-Bahn Aying stop. Ayinger brews about 120,000 barrels of beer per year and is basically at capacity. About 90% of what is brewed stays inside Germany. Of this other 10% that gets exported, a tiny percentage ends up here in the United States via its importer, Merchant du Vin.

The latest beer to hit the U.S. from Ayinger is its Kirtabier, a maltier, unfiltered Märzen-style lager. This beer has been brewed in Aying for many years but is finally making its journey here to the U.S. available only on draft. After drinking it while in Aying, please do yourself a favor and seek this out as this beer is now being tapped around the Pacific Northwest as you will not be disappointed!

Bottles of Ayinger Kirtabier ready to ship.
Bottles of Ayinger Kirtabier ready to ship, unfortunately bottles of Kirtabier will not be making it to the United States at this time.

Here is the description of Kirtabier provided by Ayinger.

With the development of the production process, the master brewer has always consulted the reliable old recipes. The “Kirtabier” is the only type of beer that can be classified between “March” beer and dark export beer. It is brewed for one of the most important festival days in Bavaria, the “Kirchweih” church fest. The intensive double decoction mashing with the mixture of three malts gives the beer a warm, brown color and a well-balanced, full-bodied, solid aromatic malty quality. The salubrious character of Kirtabier is distinguished by a high degree of fermentation, a pleasant sparkle and a distinctly perceptible bitter quality. The Kirtabier comes “premium cloudy” to the bar, which means unfiltered with that full cellar taste.

Alcohol content: 5.8% – Original wort: 13.8°

Enjoying an Ayinger Kirtabier at Ayinger Braustuberll.
Enjoying an Ayinger Kirtabier at Ayinger Braustuberll.

While traveling in Bavaria during September I was fortunate enough to sit down and have lunch with Franz Inslekammer III at Ayinger Bräustüberl, the brewery’s restaurant and beer garden that’s located across from the family owned Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying in the heart of Aying. Franz III is taking over the reigns from his father Franz Inselkammer II as the brewery’s 6th family brewer.

Franz III is well diversed in the world’s beer scene. He’s been here to Portland and is quite aware of our local craft brewing scene and understands the ups and down that industry has and is facing. One thing that he is truly proud of is the reputation that his family’s brewery has established. “We fortunately have the demand from the beer geeks from all around the world,” states Franz III.

Having lunch with Franz Inselkammer III at Ayinger Braustuberl.
Having lunch with Franz Inselkammer III at Ayinger Braustuberl on a beautiful September day in Bavaria.

When our conversation continued on about quality and demand issues, Franz III is very well aware of what can come from poor decision making. “We don’t’ want to reduce one day of lagering just to get more beer out.”

Ayinger has close ties to the Pacific Northwest as its importer, Merchant du Vin, is based in Seattle. Franz III was last here in Portland about three years ago and is planning another trip to our region in Spring 2017. This year was not doable as he and his wife of one year was welcoming their first child in September.

This relationship with Merchant du Vin is a strong one. “Charles Finkel (founder of MdV) is a friend of my parents and he is a reason why we started exporting. He came to Aying I think about 35 years ago looking to import wine. But he then realized that there are many good ones already in the U.S. so he decided to go with beer. He persuaded my father, well actually it was my mother that did so. She was afraid that he would never leave Bavaria otherwise, so it worked!”

Below are various photos from a brewery tour that was led by Ralf Wappler. Though the tour was in German, Wappler did a great job at engaging the others on the tour. He also spoke about the influence that American craft beer has had on German breweries. The funny thing was that every time he mentioned American craft beer he turned and looked at me. The one thing I did recognize quite clearly is when Wappler poured a beer from the zwickel! Here’s a video of this taking place about halfway through the brewery tour.

Hope you enjoy the photos below that I took during my visit. Prost!

Ayinger Brewery in the distance from the train arriving into Aying, Germany.
Ayinger Brewery in the distance from the train arriving into Aying, Germany. The train ride is about 40 minutes from Munich.
Aying S-Bahn stop.
Aying S-Bahn stop just southeast of Munich.
Easy to read directions once outside the quaint train platform in Aying.
Easy to read directions once outside the quaint train platform in the small town of Aying.
Ayinger Brewery from the street.
Ayinger Brewery from the street that sits across from farm fields in Aying, Germany.
Inside counter at the Ayinger gift shop.
Inside counter at the Ayinger gift shop.
Many beer choices inside the Ayinger gift shop.
Many beer choices inside the Ayinger gift shop.
Ayinger Kirtabier on display in gift shop.
Ayinger Kirtabier on display in gift shop. A few of these bottles made their way back to the States!
A stairway of Ayinger brewing awards.
A stairway of Ayinger brewing awards as it is one of the world’s most respected breweries.
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler giving us information on the brewing process....in German.
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler giving us information on the brewing process….in German. Ayinger does offer tours in English but one must plan well in advance.
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler talking about the brewery's water source.
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler talking about the brewery’s water source, one of the reasons that makes Ayinger so darn good!
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler describing the German hops.
Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler describing the German hops used in its beers.
The bottom of tanks during the Ayinger Brewery tour.
The bottom of tanks during the Ayinger Brewery tour.
Lots of pipes inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Lots of pipes inside the Ayinger Brewery.
An Ayinger brewer in his "work greens" inside the brewery.
An Ayinger brewer in his “work greens” inside the brewery.
Ayinger brewers continually evaluate the automated brewery.
Ayinger brewers continually evaluate the automated brewery.
The bottling line at Ayinger Brewery.
The bottling line at Ayinger Brewery.

Bottling line inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Fresh bottles of Ayinger on the bottling line inside the Ayinger Brewery.

Our most excellent tour guide, Ralf Wappler, pouring from the zwickel at Ayinger Brewery.
Our most excellent tour guide, Ralf Wappler, pouring from the zwickel at Ayinger Brewery. Make sure the watch the video of Ralf pouring earlier in this article.
The mash filter inside the Ayinger Brewery.
The mash filter inside the Ayinger Brewery.
The warehouse area inside the Ayinger Brewery.
The warehouse area inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Keg filling inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Keg filling inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Festive beer trailer inside the Ayinger Brewery.
Festive replica beer trailer inside the Ayinger Brewery.
A long hallway inside the Ayinger Brewery.
A long hallway inside the Ayinger Brewery. To the right is the way to the upper level tasting room.
Open fermentation for its weizens at Ayinger.
Such a beautiful sight, open fermentation for its weizens at Ayinger Brewery.
The upper level tasting room at Ayinger Brewery.
The upper level tasting room at Ayinger Brewery.
Nothing like a refreshing Ayinger Kellerbier.
Nothing like a refreshing Ayinger Kellerbier.
An offering of 6 Ayinger beers at its Tasting Room.
An offering of six Ayinger beers greets brewery tours guests at its Tasting Room.
Brewpublic's D.J. Paul and Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler.
Brewpublic’s D.J. Paul and Ayinger tour guide Ralf Wappler.
Aying, Germany is a rural town surrounded by many farms.
Aying, Germany is a rural town surrounded by many farms. During my day in Aying I saw many tractors on the roadway in front of the brewery.
A view of the massive beer garden seating at Ayinger Braustuberl.
A view of the massive beer garden seating at Ayinger Braustuberl.
Ayinger Braustuberl hosts an expansive beer garden.
Ayinger Braustuberl hosts an expansive beer garden.
The beautiful setting at Ayinger Braustuberl.
The beautiful setting at Ayinger Braustuberl.
The table I sat at was made from the former maypole in front of Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying while at Ayinger Braustuberl.
The table I sat at was made from a former maypole in front of Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying while at Ayinger Braustuberl.
An enjoyable afternoon at Ayinger Braustuberl.
An enjoyable afternoon at Ayinger Braustuberl.
Franz Inselkammer III outside at Ayinger Braustuberl.
Franz Inselkammer III, the 6th family brewer, outside at Ayinger Braustuberl. He was a pleasure to share a conversation with.
The beer garden at Ayinger Braustuberl.
The beer garden at Ayinger Braustuberl.
A look inside Ayinger Braustuberl.
A look inside Ayinger Braustuberl.
A stein locker inside Ayinger Braustuberl.
A beer stein locker inside Ayinger Braustuberl.
Less than a block away from Ayinger Braustuberl is Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying.
Less than a block away from Ayinger Braustuberl is Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying.
A maypole in front of Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying.
A maypole in front of Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying.
Pfarrkirche Sankt Andreas is a nearby walk from Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying in Aying, Germany.
Well known Pfarrkirche Sankt Andreas church is a nearby walk from Brauereigasthof Hotel Aying in Aying, Germany.

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