"Handcrafted beer" is the speciality of brewer Markus Hoppe. The unusual craft beers such as "Fuchsteufelswuid" or "Bierle in da Sun" can be tasted in his "Zapferei" pub in Waakirchen
Brewmaster Markus Hoppe
A company founded in a garage is often a good thing, not only in Silicon Valley, but also in the small town of Waakirchen between Bad Tölz and Lake Tegern. Markus Hoppe was only in his fourth month of apprenticeship as a brewer and maltster when he founded a brewery in his parents' garage – with a home brewing kit.
"I was already enrolled in a business degree, but then I was more interested in craft," he explains and has to smile when he thinks about the arduous start. "I sold the beer at the sports club and garden parties and made a huge effort. Then the second brew was disastrous, but that didn't deter me."
Mountain view or beer view
Markus has reason to smile, because since 2018 he has been running his own fast-growing company, Hoppebräu. Next to the brand-new production building clad in larch shingles are the large beer garden and the "Zapferei" pub. Guests can choose between a mountain view and a beer view. Through a large window in the taproom you can see into the hall with the gleaming stainless steel tanks.
Wild and hand crafted beer
Not only classic varieties such as Helles or Weissbier are produced there, but also unusual microbeer creations. "Wuida Hund was the first beer, then came Vogelwuid, Wuide Hehna and Fuchsteufelswuid," Markus tells us.
"I combine Bavarian tradition with modernity from all over the world"
"They are more unusual than other beers and they polarise. And when brewing, you can smell and taste every raw material, it makes your heart beat faster!"
Markus' secret? Hop tamping
In the hop tamping process, you only add the hops to the tank after the beer wort has boiled. "This way, the oils and aromatic substances don't evaporate, but pass into the beer," the brewer explains. "It tastes like going to a field, breaking open a fresh hop blossom and smelling it in."
In addition to the wild series, he has come up with other recipes, such as a lactic ferment aged on 600 kilograms of sour cherries. Or an Imperial Stout, which he fills into mini champagne bottles and closes with real corks. In collaboration with the musician Oimara from Tegernsee, he created the "Bierle in da Sun", named after a song.
Inspiration on Mauritius
Cooperation and fusion are the guiding ideas of Markus' work. "At Hoppebräu, I try to combine two things: Bavarian tradition and modernity from all over the world," says the craftsman, who first moved to the island of Mauritius after his apprenticeship: "I always wanted to go abroad. If you're open as a Bavarian brewer, you can find a good job all over the world."
On the holiday island, he started up a brewery, wrote recipes, brewed himself and got to know the diversity of beers: "My boss there has a restaurant where he serves more than a hundred beers from all over the world. Belgian Wit and Sauerbier, American West Coast IPAs and more. It's incredible how many flavours you can create."
Beer needs a home
After the fourteen months in Mauritius, he could have stayed on the island. But Markus was drawn back home, a mountain panorama instead of a beach, Tegernsee instead of the Indian Ocean! "Beer needs a home and my home is Waakirchen, so I knew that if I opened a brewery, it would be here," explains the graduate brewmaster.
And last but not least, he was also homesick. "My dad Dirk, my brother, my grandparents and friends, they all sat at our house in the early days and labelled the first beers by hand," he recalls.
Today, his wife Christina takes care of staff and marketing, and mother Susi manages the "tapping room". "It's an absolute we, we couldn't have done it alone," says Markus.
"In the beginning you are in love and at some point it becomes love"
Brewer with passion
If the entrepreneur describes the feeling of happiness after a fulfilling week at work as "butterflies in the stomach", his wife would have to feel jealous. "I would actually compare it to a long relationship," he explains, "in the beginning you are in love and at some point it becomes love ... and that sometimes hurts. Being a brewer and running a business is exactly the same."
In the meantime, success has overtaken him, as demand is growing faster than expected and Markus has to cut back as a brewer so that he can take care of the direction of the business: "That does hurt a bit, but as long as I can wash the tanks, weigh hops and brew once a month in rubber boots, I'm happy."
More about Markus‘ Hoppebräu: hoppebraeu.de
... from Markus
We like to go to the Reutberg Monastery in Sachsenkam. The monastery brewery is known for its strong character and very intense beers. The beer garden is a great place to sit and enjoy a hearty, classic Bavarian meal with a mountain view and a beer.
klosterbrauerei-reutberg.de (only in German)
On Sundays we often go on a mountain tour, for example to the Holzeralm or the Riederstein. If you like hiking, you can also climb the Neureuth, the Wallberg or the Hirschberg.
In winter we go skiing at Brauneck or Spitzingsee. I like it best when there is no snow grooming and deep snow. Then gliding through the powder is simply a dream.
lenggries.de | alpenbahnen-spitzingsee.de