There are five breweries in Passau.
Based on the number of times we saw their logo (including on a hot air balloon over the old town) Hacklberg seem to be the biggest. Their beers were also the first we tried, on a lovely terrace overlooking the Danube (at Am Paulusbogen).
Short review: these are average, Munich-style Bavarian beers — pale, clean and somewhat fizzy.
The helles went down very well after several hours on a hot train, but we’d struggle to describe it in a meaningful, beer-writery way. It tasted a bit of malt, a bit of hops, and mostly like, well, any other decent lager. The pils was similar but a little paler and with perhaps a hint of sulphur. The hefe-weizen was absolutely by the book and would have been hard to distinguish from Erdinger or Weihenstephan in a taste test, we suspect.
The darker beers were more interesting. The dunkles-weizen had more character than the light version — about as much as colour and flavour as Schneider Weisse, in fact. The non-wheaty dunkel had some roastiness and we disagreed over whether it was actually any good or not: Boak thought it tasted sugary, plasticky and rough-edged (in a bad way), whereas Bailey found it just on the right side of characterful, and found a few spicy flavours (caraway?).
Nächste halt: Löwenbrau Passau.