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Dr. Günther Heinzel has contributed many comments on both this site and the still under construction sister site, www.GermanBeerGuide.com. So I asked him to contribute is personal "Top Ten". Says Dr. Heinzel...
I'd like to introduce myself in the beginning: I'm living in the former "industrial heart" of Germany, in the Ruhr-area and I'm working here as a dentist. Sometimes I like to organize beer-travels for some friends: to Cologne or Düsseldorf; to Franconia and other parts of Bavaria of course and last,but not least to Bohemia, the country of well balanced Lagers.....!
So without further ado, the list:
1. Witzgall Schlammersdorf. Copper coloured "Vollbier", beautiful balance between a rich, full
body, a good bitterness and a dry finish; it's understood, that the one perfect brew doesn't exist, but this one comes very close to it.....The
Witzgall may remind you a bit of the best bohemian Lagers: full-bodied
with a fine hoppiness !
2. Hebendanz Forchheim. There is no real bad Brauerei among the four breweries of Forchheim,
but the Hebendanz seems to be the best one: the "Hell-Export" is a pale,
full bodied brew, in the beginning a bit sweetish, with a strong fruity
finish - easy to drink, hard to stop ...
3. Knoblach Schammelsdorf. One of the driest and hoppiest beers you can get in Franconia - but
it's understood, that we are not talking about that "empty" hoppyness of
dull north-german Pilseners; this one is a real appetizer, You can't
stop enjoying it ! Even after hours you'll remember the dominant,
4. Geisfeld. A pleasant two-brewery village; fortunately multiplicity rules here:
The "Krug", located in a beautifully timbered house, will serve you a
dark brown Vollbier; full-bodied, but not so malty or even sweet,
surprisingly bitter, but not unpleasant at all, for a beer of this colour. In
the old, small Gaststube the main attraction is the wooden cask.....,
on summer evenings you can enjoy your Vollbier on the veranda.
5. Schlüsselfeld. Far away from Bamberg - by bikers standards - a bit off the beaten
tracks, is situated the little two brewery town of Schlüsselfeld: on the
market-place in the center of town the Adler-Bräu offers a "Helles" on
draught; it's not a real "light" beer, You'll get there an amber
coloured, sdpicy beer: full of different, hearty hop aromas; not extremely
bitter, but very aromatic! Friendly, middle-sized "wooden" pub.
6. Buttenheim. Two brewing neighbours - giants by franconian standards - dominate this larger village, birthplace of a certain Levi Strauss. The smaller Löwenbräu offers an excellent Kellerbier called Lager: copper coloured, filtered, enormous burst of hops and fruitiness, ending very dry; the best place to enjoy it is the friendly, plain taproom, meeting-point of the locals.
The bigger neighbour St.Georgen brews a little bit different, but also excellent kind of Kellerbier: light-brown, only slightly filtered brew, massive hop-aroma, extremely dry finish.
7. Drei Kronen Scheßlitz. The Vollbier, a well-rounded, amber-coloured pale Lager is a very complex, full-bodied brew; though it's "only" a Vollbier, it reminds you sometimes of stronger brews. Cozy atmosphere can be found in the old Gaststätte, where films about the 19th century could be easily shot.......
8. Hümmer Breitengüßbach. The Lager, a Kellerbier, is the kind of beer You can't get enough of; served in almost "elegant" slim beer-stein, You get an "universal" brew: a well balanced, hoppy, full-bodied and very velvet Lager: worth a detour......
9. Keesmann Bamberg. In opposite to most of the small franconian breweries, the most attractive beer is here the "Herren-Pils": a well hopped and fruity beer, light in colour, which comes far closer to the Bohemian original than the thin bodied, simply bitter and "scratchy" "TV-beers" from Northern Germany. A beer-garden can be found in the brewery-yard,next door to the larger "light" pub of long wooden tables.
10. Kalt-Loch Bräu Miltenberg. A bit "extraterrestial", because not situated in the heart of Franconia Franconia, this brewery is nevertheless in my opinion very interesting. The brewery-tap belongs to the small number of pubs which offer nearly throughout the year a Doppelbock on draught: The "Kolomator-Doppelbock" is, compared to the better known Doppelbocks of southern Bavaria, very soft for a beer of this strength; a well-balanced, comfortable drink! The outstanding "Export" seems to show in fact hints of smoked malt in the aftertaste..... The cozy, old fashioned brewery-tap is located on the edge of the picturesque center of town and worth a journey.
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