The whole point of writing about German towns and cities is to give you the highlights that each place offers. So, as I get to know each and every one, I usually look for its Sehenswürdigkeiten, the German word for “attractions”.
Not in the case of the Upper Bavarian town of Au in der Hallertau.
Let me explain why, OK? As its name implies, you can see Au lies within the Hallertau region — a specific area in Germany known for its hops. Might not sound like much, but the teeny-tiny hop is partially responsible for why German beer tastes so damn good. In fact, hops were only one of the few ingredients allowed after the German Purity Law, known as Reinheitsgebot, was enacted in 1516.
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No, this isn’t a lesson in beer making — but at least you’ll understand a little more when you’re buying libations made from the Castle Brewery. Yup, Schloss Au is responsible for making some of the best stuff on earth.
Even if there’s no Queen being crowned during your visit, at least you can take consolation in visiting the “hunting trophies” found in the Hall of said Schlossbrauerei.
Forget hunting, there are other real treasures found within its walls — like the Schlosskapelle (Castle Chapel), beer, its intricate architecture, and more beer.
Hard as it is to pull yourself away, there is other stuff to do in Au. Like party, for starters. No one can say they don’t know how to party the day away here. Come see for yourself at the Village Festival (June), Summer Festival (August), or even the Autumn Market in October.
One of the best of Au’s festivals is the 5-day Hops Fest at the end of July — with any luck you’ll see the Hops Queen crowned.
Please let me be the Hops King then… ;-)
I kid, of course, I don’t have time to serve as Hops King — there’s still too much to see and do. But, if I was crowned and needed a break from my official duties, I’d bike or hike around the Bockerlradweg. I’d also stroll through town visiting the many chapels and old churches — like St. Stephan’s, a Gothic church from the 15th century, and the Pilgrimage Church in the village of Osterwaal.
Oh, who am I kidding — if I was Hops King, I’d be at my castle drinking that great beer made with Au’s hops. ;-)