When I found out I had an 8 hour layover in Munich, I knew it wasn't enough time to see the Bavarian capitol. I don't even know how, but I stumbled upon a town called Freising, home to the oldest running brewery in the world and I was sold. Freising town is just north of the Munich airport represented by two hills. On one sits the Freising Cathedral (or Saint Mary and Corbinian Cathedral) dating back to 1159. This romanesque basilica proves that Freising was one of the oldest Bavarian settlements and a major religious center in the Middle Ages. The other hills hosts the before mentioned Weihenstephan Brewery (Weihenstephan Brauerei).
The easiest way to get to Freising from the airport is by bus, although there is a train running as well. Exit the airport and go to platform 15 at the bus station. Look for bus 635 and it will have "Freising" written on it's display screen. It takes 21 minutes to get there and costs 2.80 euros in one direction. It's good to have cash on hand as you will be purchasing the ticket from the bus driver.
Once I arrived in town, I didn't bother asking for directions and rather strolled down the streets and made my way to the central square - Marienplatz. I admired the quaintness and peacefulness of the town. Most of the stores were closed, although not all, and the bakeries and cafes were open until about 6 pm on that Saturday. Birds chirping, locals enjoying their Saturday afternoon on bikes or with chat over coffee.
I stopped at a local bakery and bought a pretzel for the road. One of the locals directed me in the way of the brewery. It was a 30 minute walk which took me through the residential area and toward the outskirts of town. A short climb up the hill and I was there.
Unfortunately, the brewery doesn't have organized tours on the weekends so I was left to admire the building complex and enjoy a beer in the Beer Garden. If you plan on visiting, check out the operating hours here: www.weihenstephaner.de/en/our-brewery/brewery-tour/ It was a great way to take a rest after a 30 minute walk from the town center. Fifteen types of beer are made in this brewery and it wasn't easy to decide which one to order. I opted for a Vitus - a lovely fruity wheat beer with a hint of dried apricots, citrus smell, cloves and hints of banana - bartender's recommendation. There were many locals that came with their picnic baskets to savor a luncheon in the spring sun.
I ordered a bratwurst and started my walk back to the bus station feeling satisfied with my day. It was definitely the right choice to leave the airport and explore Freising. Even though I didn't do the tour, it was worth the visit. If I were to have another long layover in Munich someday, next time I would go to Erding town, home to the Erdinger Brewery. I'm guessing it has the same small town charm, just different beer. Just another tip if you're a fan of wheat beer ;)