If you love beer culture, you have to go to Munich at least once in your lifetime. Simple as that. But after you’ve experienced the Hofbräuhaus, where do you go next? Larry Hawthorne, author of The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Munich, Fifth Edition, has the answer. He’s gone to hundreds of beer halls and beer gardens looking for the best ones. It’s a dark and dirty job, but someone has to do it.

The Beer Drinkers Guide has accompanied me on three trips to Munich, and it’s more than paid for itself in time not spent staring at maps, straining to read street signs, or wondering whether I’d gotten on the wrong train. It’s almost as indispensable as a good pair of walking shoes, a phrase book, and a wallet full of euros.

Hawthorne reviews more than 70 beer halls, beer gardens, and neighborhood pubs in greater Munich, and also throws in a few day-trip destinations for dedicated travelers. He rates them on a scale of zero to five beer mugs, and only those that earn a passing grade—two and a half mugs—earn a mention.

Most establishments reviewed by Hawthorne won’t be found in mainstream guidebooks. They include a brewpub in a suburban train station; Hofbräu Keller, which couldn’t be more different from its famous sister establishment downtown; and a beer garden smack in the middle of the city’s famous food market. He also provides the lowdown on festivals few tourists know about, such as Starkbierzeit, the annual Lenten strong beer celebration, and Münchner Volksfest, an all-ages mini-Oktoberfest held on the legendary festival grounds.

All the essential information is there: opening and closing times, what’s on tap, and detailed directions that even the cartographically challenged can follow easily. Every establishment seems to have a story to tell; and Hawthorne, who’s an engaging writer, weaves those stories, along with plenty of beer trivia, into his reviews.

The Beer Drinker’s Guide also shows you how to celebrate like a local. You’ll find out how to avoid social sins like forgetting to tip the washroom attendant or sitting at a table reserved for regulars; how to handle Munich’s formidable liter-sized beer glass; and when it’s okay to bring your food into a beer garden. It even has lyrics—in German, of course—to popular drinking songs.

The Beer Drinker’s Guide to Munich is available in bookstores and through the author’s website, www.beerdrinkersguide.com.