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During the middle ages in Germany, there was no Germany, rather just towns, bishoprics and other areas were a prince or duke or king ruled. IAC, during this time, many of these places establish Brauordnungen (or brewing rules). Many of these rules involved the ingredients of beer, ie, what was allowed and what was not. But there were exceptions.
For example, on 21 June 1156 the town of Augberg passed a rule that anyone serving beer that is bad or less than the required Maß could be punished by the town. Punishing during the middle ages, could be pretty cruel, so this was not likely a small fine.
My personal favourite (sorry its in one of the books I've downloaded and can't locate at the moment) is that dancing is forbidden in a brewery. The rule does say that women are allowed in a brewery, but don't dance with them.
When I find the book again, I'll try to post more.
Does anyone know companies that make Holzdeckel for German breweries? I have searched with Google, but have not found much. I am interested in getting some made for a US brewery.
I would imagine you would be better contacting one of the breweries, I would suggest Hummel or Hoelzlein, both because they have their own deckend printed and because they are likely to respond.
Thanks, Jason. I will see if I can contact a brewery.
Have you tried these guys?
Thanks! Those are great links!
I'll be in Bamberg for a short stay in June and I'm planning a (full) day side trip down to Brauerei Neder in Forcheim and then up to Brauerei Witzgall in Hallerndorf with a stop in Buttenheim to check out St. Georgenbraeu and Loewenbraeu (either the Braeustueberln or the Kellers depending on weather) before returning to Bamberg. Based on my research, getting from Witzgall to Buttenheim requires some time - about an hour either by foot or by public transporation. Has anybody walked from Witzgall to the Buttenheim locations? Is this doable or would you recommend taking the bus?
FYI, I am planning this trip on a Sunday. Furthermore, I understand that this will be a full day trip and the Buttenheim portion may require a second day trip.
I appreciate the suggestions and enjoy reading the posts on this board. Good source of information! Prost.
Does the 265 from Forchheim to Kreuzberg kellers go by Witzgall? Runs every 2(?) hours on a Sunday. Buttenheim station to the kellers is 20-30 minutes each way depending on walking speed. Dont think theres a bus. Eggolsheim is the nearest station to Witzgall, maybe 30 mins walk. Hourly trains in each direction.
I've walked from Buttenheim to Witzgall (on a hot day when DB let us down - they were doing the traack for the ICVE and it was chaos!). The walk to Eggolsheim is ok but not so good up to Altendorf, which is where the station for Buttenheim is located. It's a busy main road, with no footpatch or cycle track. John's suggestion is the best.
Barry, do you know if the 265 goes past Witzgall?
Close enough, John, within a couple of hundred yards.
Sorted then. Train to Forchheim, quick one in Neder, back to station, catch 265 to Witzgall, walk to Eggolsheim, train to Buttenheim, walk to kellers, back to station, train to Bamberg. Could even stop at Hirschaid on the way back depending on your stamina. Enjoy!
Appreciate the input. I checked the timing and this tour can be done in a day. Looking forward to it!
You can make it easier on yourself and have a couple in the great Neder because you don't have to walk back to the station! The 265 wanders through the town and stops at Apothekenstr which is only a couple of streets from Neder, opposite the old Forchheimer Brewery. Saves you probably 15 minures - time for a Schwarze Anna!
Another idea; depending on the times of the train and the weather, it's probably better to get the 265 back to Forchheim, then train to Buttenheim. Don't bother with St Georgen (it was absolutely terrible last time I was in!), visit Loewenbrau Keller, then train to Hirschaid and walk to Hirschaada Keller (opposite side of track to Kraus) and have either Kraus or Huebner in a nice Keller!
Just ideas for you to consider!
Concur with Barry's comments re Georgenbrau and Haschaada
I have been walking Witzgall -> Eggolsheim train station a week ago. It takes about 30 minutes of a faster walk. (BTW we have started in Forcheim, then 265 to Roppelt, and then through Hallerndorf and Witzgall back to train station)
in past years, we have been walking also Witzgall -> Butenheim. You definitively shoult NOT walk from Eggolsheim to Altendorf; there are two much better ways
1) Witzgall -> Traildorf -> Seussling -> Altendorf -> Buttenheim (nearly not traffic till Altendorf, then footpath)
2) Witzgall -> Eggolsheimer train stop -> Buttenheim's kellers as here: https://goo.gl/maps/bSWbxji9xrT2
Both look really good ideas for a walk, no hills, flat all the way.
All good advice as would be expected on this forum. Except,I think it would be a trifle odd not to visit the st Georgen Keller which is the nicer of the two just for the sake of not wanting to drink one so so beer.
Thanks again for the excellent recommendations. I plan to take the Witzgall > Eggolsheim transit stop and then the tram to Buttenheim. Time permitting, I'll stop by Hirschaider Keller before heading back to Bamberg. Good info here.
The brewer/owner at Orca Brau, Nuremberg is interviewed for a blog on the Bierfreiheit website:
>>>For me, Franconia is one of the most interesting beer regions to watch for the next five years or so. It could go this way or that way but we’ll see more diversity. We’ll see more breweries doing more interesting things but also a lot of closings as well. Not necessarily because the beers are not selling but because of lack of investment. And there are also some cases of the health department going to breweries and saying, “This looks horrible. You have to close down.”.
>>>They say that in Franconia, the world is still normal because beer and food are still cheap, which is totally stupid. People in the beer scene in Nuremberg, almost everyone says that Franconian breweries need to charge more. In a beer garden you’ll pay sometimes only €1.80 or €2.20 for a half-litre.
>>>Some beer gardens are doing well but most of them in my opinion are not doing well financially or in terms of quality of the beer. But Franconians don’t really care about this-they still have this strong connection to the brewery. But we will see a change in the future for sure. More breweries will definitely be closing down, while some will do really well.
Nothing really earth shattering. I don't agree with his comment that so much will change in 5 years - it will change, but not in such a short time. He hit the nail on the head though when he said the beer is too cheap.
I find the interviewer somewhat arrogant suggesting that no Franconian brewers reach 'greatness'. Or that you have to brew something totally off the scale to be a 'great' brewery. I wonder if that person (the interviewer) has visited even 10% of the breweries in the region? Or knows that so many people visit Franconia from places with an abundance of these 'off the scale' beers because they want something different. As do the folks in Rome and Stockholm, so he/she is contradicting him/herself.
The Orca guy seems to know his stuff generally though, but I've never had a bottle of his beer, it just doesn't interest me that much. There's a lot more I could say about the article but that;ll do for now.
Off to Stockholm's Zum Franziskaner now for some good old Franconian beer at just 8 euro a Seidla. Same as modern hipster grapefruit beer in other establishments.
Today's keg line-up: Keesmann Herrenpils, Hartmann Erbschänk, Herrmanns Kellerbier, Gänstaller GänsWeiss, Spezial Märzen, Schlenkerla Eiche, Gänstaller Pilsner. Makes it quite bearable to be away from Franconia at times.
Today's keg line-up: Keesmann Herrenpils, Hartmann Erbschänk, Herrmanns Kellerbier, Gänstaller GänsWeiss, Spezial Märzen, Schlenkerla Eiche, Gänstaller Pilsner. Makes it quite bearable to be away from Franconia at times.
Talikng out of his a--e, I would say. I wonder how many Franconian breweries either of these people have visited?
I'm getting the feeling that I'm living in some sort of parallel universe. This chap is probbly in the same universe as the brewers of some of the beers that we sampled over the last few days in North Wales and the Black Country. In my universe, Batham's and Ma Pardoe's, to name but two, are great breweries with lovely pubs and who also manage to charge quite low prices for their excellent beer, in all these respects, they are like the breweries in Franken.
Now, I know that I'm a dinosaur (follows with the age, sadly) and I appreciate that people have to try new things (at one time or other, all the beers that I like were new) but many of the beers that I tried this weekend (during which I had a great time, from what I remember, apart from repeated playing of a certain team's matches - BTW 100 points, 19 ahead of anyone, etc., etc.), tasted to me like some rather mediocre experiments in homebrewing. But, then, I don't know anything about beer and brewing - just like all the happy punters in Brierley Hill and Netherton.
Just stuffing different hops into the brew does not make for a good beer - IMHO, of course.
I mean, to try to zoom out of personal taste a little, people have to remember that the modern 'craft beer' phonomenon is a reaction to decades of average beer. American and British brewing had been decimated at various points in history leaving the consumer with a fairly boring landscape of choice (notable exceptions aside). The same goes for most other modern markets. Therefore there was a vacuum which has been filled. This has happened in Berlin of course, where 10-15 years ago the beer landscape was very different. People's tastes have changed and now they want less quantity and more flavour and variety.
In Franconia this hasn't happened. So where is the need? Where are the protests in the villages and towns around Bamberg calling for more variety and styles? Why are the breweries and beer gardens packed with people?
Why does beer have to be the centre of the conversation? What's is wrong with it being traditional in style in a place where it belongs? And if you'd really earned your stripes in this region like a number of us on this forum you'd know that variety exists. And as for greatness, well i'm a firm believer that the greatest things are also the most simple.
It's not perfect in Franken. But unlike craft beer, a relative speck of dust on the history of this great beverage, Franconian breweries have been doing their thing for centuries. Yes they need to modernise and try to be a little bit innovative to keep up with demand, but bottom line is I'll wager they'll be around long after breweries like Orca have disappeared.
i think your characterization of these beers as mediocre homebrew experiments is a bit unfair and insulting. I think the beers at the Green Duck were well made but I do understand you don’t like them. But that’s just personal taste and should not be a condemnation of the brewery. We talked to the brewer a bit and he seemed like a very nice bloke and very passionate and serious about what he’s doing.
There’s more I’d like to say but hard to type on my iPhone and I’m on holiday and I’m enjoying a very well made, hoppy, cask pale ale from Manchester Brewing co right now.
At the end of the day, as we've said many times before, it's all a matter of personal opinion. Enjoy your holiday and forget the hurlers on the ditch.
The traditional franconian brewers are the genuine "Craft-Bier" brewers, 'cause they do their "Handwerk" (craft) already many centuries and are therefore well skilled. Who really needs very "interesting" and incredibly "creative" brews, that are hardly drinkable...
Beer should be a "social" drink, not a hobby for crazy hipsters.
Whether or not any given beer or beer style is drinkable or not is a matter of personal taste and opinion. For example, on our recent trip to Black Country some preferred the IPA’s brewed at Green Duck over the Bathams Bitter not because they’re hipsters. Just because that is what they preferred after drinking both. Both beers were enjoyed socially. I find some of the comments on this thread a bit sanctimonious.
I'm inclined to agree - let's remember we're all friends of Franconian beer but not at the exclusivity of all else. Certainly, the beers at the Green Duck were very well brewed and I enjoyed them. I wouldn't swap it for what I have here but that's my choice. In the same way that | felt 'some' of the comments in the article were a little elitest and ignorent we should be careful not to be the same in return.
As I've written numerous times, it's about choice and a person's right to decide what they enjoy without disparaging the likes and dislikes of others. Our visit to the Black Country was heavily weighted to traditional pubs and breweries with a couple more modern interpretations thrown in for good measure. Not a bad mix at all, especially when not all our group wanted to drink bitter all day.
To be honest, even if I'm not hugely enjoying a beer but i'm with friends I can still enjoy myself. It's not the beer all and end all ;)
Couldn’t have put it any better.
Hold it right there! Whose post was sanctimonius? Hope it wasn't mine, I just tried to give my honest opinion!
I compared the Orca chap with some of the brewers of beer that I had over the last few days because it seemed to me that they have traits in common - very new, maybe experimental. I've embraced a lot of different beers since I ventured out of my comfort zone into Franken, the Oberpfalz and now Prague. All these places brew completely differently to my old-fashioned English taste. It took me some time to get used to them but, when I've had a good, well-made beer, I've said it.
One of the things that I think we like about Franken is the tradition but it's not just tradition for its own sake, it's because, by and large, the brewers have perfected their craft over a long period. Ok, some of them have started trying out new things but they still brew the old, successful stuff, as well.
I appreciate that many of my beer friends (like those of last weekend) are of a different generation and often want to try something new but the Green Duck, for example, had nothing but 'new generation' beers, none of which I liked or even thought were that good (it didn't stop me enjoying the time with friends, though).
Sanctimonious means 'holier than thou' - I hate to think that I adopt that attituide, I just know what I like - sorry!
P.s. And I did end by saying that it's all in IMHO!
Barry my sanctimonious comment was not in reply to your post. I had already replied to yours previously. I’m just going to leave it at that.
Thank you, you are a gentleman of the first water (or should I say beer).
Sorry, but I find this document highly suspicious. For one thing,why is Gose mispelled? It's only four letters and a real German can't even get those four right? Secondly, he uses the American expression "resume", while a German would use CV. And the writer's attitude seems more American than German. I don't know who wrote it, but I really wonder whether the author added his own opinions to the brewer's statements.
Having drunk German beer for many years, I don't agree that "craft beer" would improve it. Or that the author seems to understand the German beer scene very well.
I wouldn’t say it’s suspicious. It’s author is from Seattle (German name though) and yes i noticed the misspelling of Gose. However Germans could spell that wrong unless they know about beer. Anyway she’s American so resume is perfectly acceptable. In fact in German it’s Lebenslauf before CV. But if you’re translating both work.
I very much doubt the brewers words were doctored. But agree that she (like most Germans, nevermind Americans/ROW) don’t understand Franconia. Why would she, there’s no modern craft.
OK, so an article written about beer by someone who knows very little about it. To me it was suspicious as it was supposedly an interview with a German brewer and there were numerous errors in it that a brewer from Germany would not make.
I was in Leipzig a couple of years ago and to my great disappointment I wasn't able to find Gose that was made in the traditional manner. At the Bayrische Bahnhof, I complained to the waiter and he brought a brewer to my table. The brewer began with words that quite shocked me: Die Amerikanen sagen... (the Americans say....).
If Michael Jackson (not the singer) contributed anything to the world of beer it was that there were many local and/or traditional beers that could be enjoyed around the world. If everything turns to craft, that diversity will disappear and we'll all be drinking the same or similar beer regardless of where we are. Real Gose is already gone (although, hopefully, some small brewery will bring it back). Real Berliner Weisse is almost gone. These are real losses and a shame.
We have no idea if the interview was conducted in German or English. The translator (if the case) could be at fault. If it was the brewer who made these mistakes, that means just that, it doesn't mean he's not a good brewer or knowledgeable. You can ask brewmasters in Bamberg about Gose or Berliner Weisse and I wouldn't be confident they would know A-Z about the syle - why would they?
'A brewer from Germany' is just the same as 'a drinker from Germany' - they know about the beers around them and their region, but not necessarily from the other end of the country, especially obscure and very local styles.
I've drunk Gose in Leipzig and elsewhere and it's not something I find very drinkable, though I respect the style and history. That brewer had a point though, craft breweries around the world (led by the US I'm afraid) are proliferating all sorts of rubbish about European historic styles. Sorry but I know who I'm going to believe more, even if 'real Gose' has died out.
Visited a modern brewery last night in York. They have a bunch of beers on tap. One labeled a Gose and one a Berliner Weisse. We’re they true to the original style? No idea. But they were enjoyable. Shame on these UK brewers for proliferating this rubbish. I’m going back tonight to dispose of more and save the world from this nonsense.
Sorry meant to say: shame on these UK Brewers (no doubt coerced by the US) for proliferating this rubbish
Point taken - you know I respect what's going on across the pond, but you should also know that (compared with Brits for example) very few Americans can try the original beers in the original country therefore some breweries take advantage of that or are just as ignorent. Regardless, I know Ronald Pattinson bangs on about nonsense peddled by brewers globally to try and sell a product.
Like you say, does it matter? If it's good? Yes and no. Mainly no, but it's a pet hate of mine - if you're going to replicate a style, do it properly, get the spelling right, get the context right and educate the consumer. maybe in a small way, it'll help the survival of that beer in it's own country as popularity rises - Berliner Weisse and Gose are way more popular than they used to be (last 15 years I'm talking). But if the consumer visits the original producer (or modern local brewer) and finds the product is totally different they are going to be p***** off. And if they don't, a false perception of this beer becomes 'factual' and breweries start replicating the replica.
Then the world will end.
I'm friendly with a German (in the Rheinland area) who is both brewing and drinking. I've known him since he was a teen (he's now about 30). IAC, his experience in Leipzig mirrors mine. I asked him about Goselaar and he said it was even worse there. My parents are from Berlin and I went there many years ago with my father when we had Berliner Weisse. I remember how it tasted (although I did partake of a Schuss fruit syrup). I was in Berlin about a year ago and nothing I drank came close to what I had drunk with my father. Although there is a homebrewer in Berlin who is making the traditional Berliner Weisse. It is available commercially if you know where to go and what to ask for. You need to go here: http://wbb-pamkow.de, unfortunately I don't remember the name of the beer.
I’m curious what you think is the cause of the dissapearance of authentic Gose?
It seems like it was already well in decline before modern craft brewing would have had influence and it seems odd that Brewers in Leipzig or Goslar would be that affected by American new age brewing at any rate
Sorry, I can't really say. I would guess that perhaps some local (German) customers found the tastes too strong, so the brewers watered it down. Or as the one brewer told me "the Americans say..." Meaning that some brewers do read RateBeer and Beer Advocate. Many years ago when I tasted the "authentic Gose" at the Berlin Beer Festival, some American friends of mine were there and really disliked it.
There are loads of old German beer styles that have disappeared over the years and RateBeer and Beer Advocate didn't exist at that time.
In all fairness, you've given 1 example. And he's young. What's the average age of the Franconian brewer? Between 50-60 I would guess (and I live here btw). Most of them wouldn't have been able to travel to the East since birth to 1991.
Regards to Berliner Weisse, it's an interesting discussion, but with respect, as soon as you say you had Schuss then you lost me - nothing wrong with that but combined with 'many years ago' it would almost be impossible to find the same taste even if it was still brewed. The Schuss has probably changed as well, nevermind your taste buds. Maybe it was better, but perhaps some beers are better now with modern equipment and access to information etc.
I know I'm partial to complain every now and again but we really have to take a step back and see what we have. For me in Bamberg, I can visit 1 different brewery every other day for a year. Next month I'll be in Rome, Berlin and Barcelona trying beers from all corners of the spectrum I'm sure. I'm 3 hours from Prague, one of the greatest beer cities in the world, and I can drink Pilsner Urquell exclusively for a few days or mix it up with something more edgy in over 100 pubs, bars, breweries and shops. Last weekend I was in the Black Country drinking bitter.
When that Berliner Weisse you had was brewed I can guarentee that places like Berlin, Rome, Barcelona and pretty much most cities without an ingrained beer culture would have been beer deserts. All i'm saying is let's not be too nostalgic - a number of people on this forum will remember the dark days, and they aren't now :)
I'm generally quite happy with the beer I can drink in Franconia. I'm quite disappointed that Reidel closed as their beer was one of the best in Franconia. I used to go there regularly especially as there was a good train connection to get there.
Anyhow, when good places with good products close down, it is always disappointing. The same goes for good food stores or restaurants.
What is to me interesting is that while there are some negative changes in German beer, Belgian beer seems to be much more stable. The odd Belgian beers like Lambiek or Gueze have not changed or been influenced by modern brewing techniques (AFAIK) or information. There is something to be said for consistency. Some of my favourite breweries in Franconia make the same beer consistently and I really appreciate that, and when I'm in Franconia, I make an effort to visit them.
One of the best things about Franconia is the idiosyncrasy of the brewers. Sure, not all of them make excellent beer, but enough do that they keep drawing people to their Gaststätten, which, in turn, keeps them making beer. Why the brewers of Gose or Berliner Weisse have decided to drastically change their beers, is something I don't know the answer to. Alll I know is that I'm very disappointed that I can't get a "correct" Gose and that a genuine Berliner Weisse is not that easy to get.
One thing that has intrigued me is the subject of closures. I understand that, as the blog states, that many happen because there is no one in the family who wants to carry on the tradition of brewing. I would imagine that the lower birth rate has something to do with that. When families were having 6-8 children it was more likely that one or two of the offspring would want to go into brewing, or running the brewery tap. Now that many couples only have 1-3 children, the chances are less.
There also apparently seems to be a plain shortage of workers, as the blog states and is also touched upon in the recent thread on this site about Spezial Keller opening times. My question would be, is this because of low wages or no one wants to do the jobs? Would an increase in the price of beer help the situation?
I've been reading old books about beer in Germany. Before the industrial revolution in the 19th century, most towns in Germany had a communal brewery and individual houses in the towns had "brewing rights". This is similar to Zoigl today. IAC, I've seen a painting of a town where it was distribution day and the towns people were queing to get their beer. It turned out that so many people were so eager to get their allottment, that the milita had to be brought in to restore order. I've been in several towns (non-Zoigl) were there is still a communal brewery and the towns people (when there's a festival) will quite happily attend, drink the beer, eat food, etc. But no police are necessary to restore order. I suspect that in the pre-Industrial age, it was more dangerous to drink water because of the danger of infection. This was also the time before milk pasteurisation which could make drinking milk dangerous. Beer, OTOH, was safe. There were also stronger drinks like wine and distillates available, but beer was less intoxicating and cheaper, so more popular.
> My question would be, is this because of low wages or no one wants to do the jobs?
In general, there is a lack of working people. Unemployment rate in Upper Franconia is around 3,5%, somewhere else it is even "worse", below 3%
Many of unemployed people are actually not willing to work anyway...
It is even lower here in Czech (2,2% in whole country; 1,7% in area of Prague) - http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/statistics-explained/index.php/Unemployment_statistics
very hard to find a new workers...
Once the method of production changed from communal breweries to industrial breweries, the total number of pubs and breweries plummeted all over Europe. In Belgium, for example, in 1900, there were 3,223 brewries that produced 14,617,000 hectoliters of beer. In 2003, the number of breweries was reduced to 115, yet they produced 15,650,000 hectoliters of beer. In 1900, Belgians drank 221 liters of beer per person. In 2003, that fell to 96 liters. By contrast, the amount of beer exported increased by over 1,000 percent.
Likeswise in Bavaria, in 1960 there were 1566 pubs. By 2005, there were only 623. That number has stayed fairly stable and by 2014, there were 616 pubs. So, for the last 10 or 15 years or so, the number of pubs has gone up and down by only a few per year. There is, to put it mildly, no great loss of pubs in Bavaria since 2005. In fact, in 2010 and 2011, the number of pubs went up to 637. There is no great mystery here.
Well before industrial brewing took hold, in 1831 in all of the German areas, there were 16027 breweries (7428 in cities and 5463 in the countryside) and, of which 12894 were "commercial". The rest of the breweries (2679) were home breweries supplying households of 10 persons or more. These figures are based on taxes that were paid. The document also has quantities, but they are not modern. If anyone knows what "Rehl." is or a "Prussian quart", I'd appreciate an explanation.
After a great three weeks in Franken (what else?), it was on to Prague. Sorry if this is a bit OT but contributions to the forum have been a bit sparse recently and the progression from Franken to Czechia seems to have become fairly regular for forumites recently, so please forgive this intrusion and move on if you're not interested in Czech beer!
I chose to forgo the pleasure of a coach trip from Nurnberg (the direct rail line was under repair) and went via Cheb - €14! Saturday, made first visit to U Tunelu, which I think is great (thanks for encouraging me, Jason). Very unspoiled, lovely Konrad beer, unhurried atmosphere, very friendly. In complete contrast, met Aaron and Liz, Don's friends, in Zly Casy. Lovely people and a nice night but it's not really my kind of place. Beer and service is ok but its a bit pricey and sort of trendy. Sunday was walkabout in Stromovska park: where I witnessed a bit of folk dancing (!). There is a pub/restaurant (Valcha) serving Urquell near the entrance. Called into Cafe Lajka, pleasant cafe/bar with a variety of beer. I had Pazdrat 11 from Pivovar Chric - quite nice. Later, met Aaron and Liz in Pivovarsky Klub; wide range of beer but just not my kind of place, too restrauranty!
The weekend weather was fabulous, so went for a walk around Vinohrady, then first visit to Napalme's new location. Initially looks a bit uninviting but is ok. Lots of new beers but stuck to excelent Uneticke 10 and 12. Then back to U Tunelu before finishing with a Matuska Apollo Galaxy at 5,3% in my 'home' bar - too citrusy and strong for me! Tuesday was culture day. Visited Museum of Technology (v. interesting, I want a 1931 Aero 10 hp sport!) before Pivonice Klasterni near Namesti Lasterni. Tried a Chotobr Svetly Lezak 11, which was fine, before moving onto Klaterni svelty 11, which was good. This comes from the Strahov Monastery brewery. Big tip: drink it in the pub at Kro 26/0,5l, rather than the brewery tap at Kro 76/0,4l! I love Pivonice Klasterni, my kind of place, bit like a Prague version of Neder!
More culture and walking on Wednesday, with a visit to Brevnovsky Klasterni Pivovarsky. It takes a bit of finding but its a lovely place; the beer is excellent and very reasonably priced. Later, an Urquell in the excellent Hrocha before back to Pivovar Klasterni. Final day, visited Pivovar Nalervarna: another lovely place, with really nice beers from Hostomice, including Fabian 10 and 12, which are excellent well-balanced beers at a very good price for the location. Then walked across Letna park to Hradcanska (hard slog up the steps), where Trutnova 12 was tried: quite nice but rather gassy, before moving on to Bubencsky. Beers still contract brewed, the Lezak 11, unfiltered was pretty bitter and interesting but wasn't keen on the 'Ale 11,5' - just a modern US-style, very citrussy. In the evening, a farewll visit to Napalme.
Sorry for the long splurge but I am really beginning to warm to Prague, now that I know my way about better.
Not sure which brewery are you talking about, when talking about "Klasterni", since that means that "Kloster" and there are many breweries with that name, naming beers according to it.
Anyway, if you ment Strahov Klasterni pivovar (Strahov Monastery brewery), then you definitively could NOT get it anywhere for 26,-/0,5
I'm following in Barry's footsteps this week. The beer he is talking about is from Pivovar Klášter. When I was there yesterday I took a picture of the taps
And my listing for the place is here.
If you do twitter, follow my twitter feed for updates for my visit to Prague and Berlin. I beleive you don't actually have to sign up to read them, only to reply.
If the Krakanos was fresh you defintely should have tried it Barry (was it because it was 11Kr more)? Klaster beers are meh (for me), but then in the Czech Republic they can turn the average into the sublime.
Yes, I got that completely wrong! The Klaster Lezak at Klasterni was from Pivovar Klášter,Klášter, Hradišt 283; nad Jizerou, , Czech Republic, 29415 (according to my quick googling). Sorry, chaps, if you want to sample the Strahov Beers, you've just got to pay the price (not me though, nuch prefer the Brezenovsky Klaster). But the Klaster beer was ok, if not the best in Prague, and I still loved the ambience of the place but, as Andy would say, I do like to get down and dirty.
Hope there's plenty of that this week!
I'm not quite sure exactly what Andy means by 'down and dirty' but all of a sudden the coming weekend is looking a little different than i imagined.
Not for me though, Bathams Bitter is calling!!
Wait, will I not be able to get a nice murky New England IPA in Black Country?
To clarify the Honourable Andrew's comments (before we meet at the weekend): during last year's visit to Czechia, we discovered that we had a slightly different taste in pubs/bars/Gestatte etc. Shall we say that, I quite like 'ordinary', no frills places, where food is not necessarily an option (apart from plain crisps and peanuts); as a lifetime observer of humanity in all its manifold forms, places that might be honoured with the epiphet that used to adorn a certain Sunday newspaper: All human life is there'!
Examples, for Franken, of course, Neder; for Prague, the newly discovered Pivo Klasterni; for the UK: The Bull and Bladder - you can rest easy Jason!
The description has nothing to do with the quality of the beer, which, of course, must be of the highest standard, such as found, mostly, in the above places. Rest easy, chaps!
Er, yes, but I hope not in any place that we might go.
No worries Barry. Tongue was firmly planted in cheek there.
My mind was on something slightly more sordid, especially as Andy was being quoted.
For me our digs (the lamp) is more of an example of neder than the bull and bladder from a customer point of view but happy to reflect on the comparisons.
Looking forward to visiting the Lamp for the first time. 'Down and dirty' might be interpreted as 'grotty' but I really just like pubs where the emphasis is on beer and person to person communication. In fact, I'd go as far as to say that I would never to chose to go to a pub where I don't like the atmosphere but I might go to a pub where the beer was so-so but the atmosphere was great! The Bull and Bladder used to meet both criteria, I hope that it has not changed.
Moi! I am not the one talking of tongues in Cheek's. Or the strange uses that beer is put to in the CHANNEL isles.
Visited the terrific Hohenloher Freilandmuseum at Wackershofen near Schwäbisch Hall yesterday, which was their cheese market day. They've many different possibilities to purchase Faßbier and wine. We decided to stay at the Keller, formerly the Bierkeller of Weipertshofen village. Up there in the hills they serve fresh Haller Löwenbräu Kellerbier, which is quite good. Later we also found a small Wirtschaft that served bottled Gaildorfer Spezialbier and I really hated to be the driver once more... I really can recommend a visit but you'll need to spend a whole day there to see all of the museum.
One fir the diary! Maybe I should schedule a visit to Hohenloher.
The Spezial Keller has today publlished (Facebokk), that they will close on Sundays at 3 pm - for the time being
Reason: missing kitchen staff.
This appears to be a chronic problem in Franconia. Is this a case of national labor laws making it too difficult to employ people the extra hours or lack of available workforce or pay is too low or all of the above. It seems very sad that these small business cannot be open on a Sunday which seems to be their busiest day in an all too short of a season.
I'm surprised too that there aren't special provisions for seasonal workers. One of my clients has a farming operation and (at least in California) there is a whole different set of labor rules that apply. Mark, you must have similar issues on the Cape -- I spent Thanksgiving in Orleans once and boy was it dead (this was mid 80's)
Also Roppelt Keller (Stieberlimbach) is now closed on Sundays, they have reduced opening times.
Was going to set off for Stiebarlimbach in a couple of hours. Will change plans now, thanks
I don't understand why they don't just shut the kitchen after lunch if the reason really is kitchen staff. Not everyone has to eat every time they go out for a beer. Or revive an almost lost tradition of allowing people to bring their own food.
Clearly they earn so much money on the other days that they don't need to worry about it.
Totally agree Jason. I am presuming that an increased wage rate on Sundays may also figure.
I mean, I'm getting a bit cynical I admit, but my recent experiences at the Keller have not been great; poor quality beer (it has improved), surly customer service and a general feeling that I have no recourse given the floods of people descending on spring/summer evenings.
However, I understand that they have to pay rent (they don't own the keller itself) and that food contributes a lot to the business etc. But they have to hold some responsibility for keeping tradition alive - a Sunday visit to the keller is almost a way of summer life here. I'm sure they could offset any small losses across the rest of the week I guess without all the facts I shouldn't be too critical. But they also close all day on Monday and take all manner of private holidays throughout the year so I'm struggling to reconcile their apparent sadness (having read their 'press release') at having to close Sunday afternooons with these other elements.
On a brighter note, I enjoyed a couple of very enjoyable beers at the Mühlenbräu Keller yesterday. Excellent beer and a lovely keller. Thoroughly recommended.
I made one visit to Spezi keller during my visit, with Don, Cherie and Johnny. It was late afternoon, after sampling a couple of Zwickel beers in Greifenklau. We sat in the 'serviced' area because it was nice sunny spot. But the service was atrocious, we virtually had to beg for the bill. Beer was ok-ish but not a patch on the real Spezi stuff. There were no crowds descending on the Keller, in fact, it was nearly deserted.
Ok, the view is great but there are loads of better kellers, including one of my favourites, Hirschaada.
Hi Fred meandering around Prague, couple of questions to ask you - are you on What's app?
No, Facebook and Twitter (and email) are the limits of my socialability...
Ok email will do, be in touch.
Will be in Bamberg next weekend, Friday to Monday with a small group from Brockley brewery. One or two first timers so we wont be doing anything to radical. If Jason or anyone else is around, would be good to catch up with a few beers.
We miss each other again, as usual!
One day, Barry Im sure well raise a glass together in Bamberg!
Might well have a look up in Memmelsdorf, thanks Gerhard. Will probably pop into Abseits at some stage of the weekend as well
On Saturday (May 5) and if the weather is good, I recommend the Bierkulturfest in Memmelsdorf
26 beers from 7 breweries, beer is available in 0.5 and 0.2 l
also with some food stalls.
Memmelsdorf has 2 breweries, which partizipate.
A video about this festival last year;
Yes I recommend Bierkulturfest as well. That was a good time last year.
Did anyone attend?
And if so, how was it?
I had other things on this past weekend but if you like beer and sunshine I can't imagine you would have left disappointed.
Info regarding this year's Schmankerlmarkt now on-line.
Place : Hauptmarkt, NÜERNBERG.
Date : Sunday 27 May (10,00-18,00).
Currently 46 stalls listed of which 10 are local brewers as follows : Wiethaler, Altenberger Brauhaus, Zwanzger, Gundel, Schober, Windsheimer, Kanone, Eppelein & Friends, Dreykorn,
Ammerndorfer. Other stalls include Bakers, Butchers etc so no need to drink on an empty stomach...
Wow - very very nice lineup!
Hope Zwanzger has finally gotten rid of those diacetyl loaded beers. Friends told me, the beers are as good as they were before they brought the mistake in.
Not been such a good correspondent on this visit but mainly I've been doing the same as on previous trips, so you've heard it all before - endlessly!
Visited all the places as before but one new one was Huebner in Stettfeld, courtesy of a nice little ttrip with Juergen, which iincluded Sonne at Muersbach and the Metzgerei brewery at Uetzing, where we ffinally met up with the Scheidts and their friend Johnny. Lovely beer all round and a very pleasant day in excellent company. Thank you to my two chauffeurs!
I'd forgotten that yesterday was Tag des Bieres in Bamberg but was reminded by Frank and Jason. Of course, it was a great day - i drank Herrenpils all afternoon before we all (too numerous to name) decamped to Spezial before making the long trip to the Western Bar aka Faessla cubby hole. Don't remember a whole lot about the evening other than watching an entertaining game of Scharpkopf and Jason sitting sort of indoors with an umbrella while it bucketed down! I hadn't realised that this part of ththe pub was outdoors.
Oh well, only a few more days, then it's off to Prague.
Hübner in Steinfeld. ;-)
Just a thought, perhaps it would be good to mention that Greiss in Forcheim has a Gaststatte behind the brauerei which is open fairly reasonable hours and accessible by city bus lines.
And to clear up if possible whether Barnikel at Hernsdorf are truly still brewing on site, or having the beer brewed elsewhere. A recent conversation with Jason and Barry suggested that the beer is contract brewed,but their website seems to state that the beer is brewed onsite?
Yes, thats pretty much what Jason and Barry said. I assume advertising laws are less restrictive in Germany,as the Barnikel website seems to strongly suggest they brew thier own beer.
The romantic story is that they brew themselves their beers in the brewery in Aufsess (gipsy brewing).
You are right. In Germany beer bottles labels must not declare the place where the beer was brewed. Necessary is only the name of the enterprise which put the beer into circulation.
To use the name brewery pub or brewery for a location of an enterprise which don't brew is borderline. Maybe it's a case of illegal unfair competition. But You need a competitor who complains.
Strange that there is no no EU legislation on this matter. But copyright etc is just a total mess.
Our USA group stopped at Barnikel a couple days ago, but failed to ask specifically if they made their own.
The place needs some updating, probably not doing too well.
They definitely do not brew any more and haven't since 2013 or so. Even when it brewed the beer was very inconsistent (at least the couple of times i visited before 2013). But it's a famous pub in the area so i don't think there's any danger.
These gypsy breweries are getting more common and without proper regulation it will encourage even more. I'm not sure how many brands Brauerei Reckendorf brew but I recently learned Brauerei Fischer in Greuth no longer brews and their beers are brewed elsewhere.
Personally I would 'ban' it as it's an easy solution for a brewery that doesn't have the motivation to brew any more. Normal people don't ask or really care where the beer is brewed (or even who brews it). Beer is beer in Franconia.
Unfortunately that complacency will be a cause of it's long term demise.
Happens all the time in the UK. Classic case is Courage. I've lost track of ownership - at least 3 changes - and brewery moves. Now brewed in Bedford! Tetley's in Wolverhampton, etc.
Oddly enough and thankfully the practice has become less common in the US. Not sure why this is other than the explosion in actually breweries has made it very hard for gypsy breweries to compete. A brewery can compete because in many states here (like Massachusetts) a real brewery can get a license to open it's own taproom and sell it's beer directly to the consumers (i.e much better profit margin) whereas the gypsy brewers have to compete for increasingly crowded space on the shelf of a store or a tap at a bar they don't own. The last gypsy brewery near me on Cape Cod (Naukabout brewery) finally opened it's own brewery and taproom a few weeks ago and gladly for me very close to my house. I literally can kayak across a lake to get there which I have every intention of doing this summer (and yes I will drink moderately and wear a life vest - for those of you shaking your heads right now).
I was more concerned about the kayak Mark!!!
Whale ahoy! Capn Ahab.
Very apt so near to Nantucket!
Thank you to all at the forum for tips. We were a gang of Norwegians who traveled to Bamberg. We came Thursday last week to Bamberg from Nuremberg. We came by plane via Amsterdam. Here is our report.
Day one: First we checked in at the fantastic brewery Fassla. The environment here is amazing. The rooms are simple, but just what we need. The beer was good after a long journey from the north. The reception was efficient and solid.
We went then over to Spezial for lunch. The beer and food here exceeded everything. Both Marzen and U were among several in the group mentioned as the best beer they had ever tasted of beer. Afterwards we went to Wunderburg, both Mahrs and Keesman's beers fall in taste, especially the Bock at Keesman. Wunderburg is a residential area. We all want to buy us a flat there. Lucky residents who live here.
Then we went to the city centre. Bamberg is a city totally different from the cities we are familiar with. When we came to the Town hall ee all starting gasping. We know understand its a Unesco site. When we came to Schenkerla we werw a extremely happy and grateful bunch of of those beer tourists many people despise, but we were welcomed at this beer cathedral and shown a big table. After all the previous beers many if us remembered the german we learned we went to school, so I think that helped us when we got service. Both food/beer and ambience were fantastic. We had a excellent evening before we stumbled back to Fassla.
Day 2: We divided us this Friday morning. Some of started with coffee and sightseeing in Bamberg.
One group went to Andreas Ganstaller in Schnaid. They met both extremely hospitality and interesting insights in the art of brewing from Andy. What a guy and his beers were described as incredible!
We all gathered later at Brauerei Zehender for lunch after recommendation from Jason at this forum. The Lager Bier from wooden barrel was like heaven. Suddenly the sun came and we could sit outside in the patio. Once a again we were feeling blessed. Finally we returned to Bamberg. We visited Greifenklau and Spezial Kellers. Both were a overwhelming experience with good views and beers in nice weather. At the end we finished the evening with burgers at Zapfhenhahn and boozing in Sandstrasse.
Day 3: We checked out and took the train to Forchheim. We went to the Kellers here just to realize that almost all still were closed. That was a mistake, but we tried two of the kellers in the kellerwald and had fun. Afterward we headed for Nürnberg for some sightseeing, Beautiful and very interesting city. We finished the last day at hütt’n. The service and food were extremely good.
Thanks Franken and we will come back!
Great to see the positives and enthusiasm after all the negatives and cynicism all too often seen on these pages.
Yeah this trip report is a nice reminder of how lucky we are to be able to visit that beautiful city and Franconia overall
Great report, glad you enjoyed it. As a Norwegian, I bet you found the beer nicely prived in Franconia!
Beer prices are terrible high in Norway. Franconia had good prices on high quality beer. Glad you like the report.
Nice to read your report. It sounds like you enjoyed Mahrs, which is nice to hear. Thanks for sharing!
Sad news: The www.german-breweries.com website reports, that after the death of the owner Friedrich Weber last year brewing on the premises ceased. Does anybody know any further details?
I don't know about the Weber situation, but I am glad to see german-breweries.com back up and running. There had been no updates there in something like a year and a half.
I totally agree. After a break of nearly 18 months Steve Thomas is "on air" again!
I can report that Weber is open.
Visited yesterday with a group from USA; very good beer, VERY nice place.
Stephan gave us a nice tour of the place. He said he saw us from his bike earlier in the day in Bamberg. We rememered him as the rider who had some unintelligible words for some Americans walking in the bike zone!
Someone said they had hired a new brewer, who would be starting in some time in the near future.
I'm afraid after four days of Scientific Brewery Research, my details are fuzzy!
Plus, their English and my German aren't great.
Also visited Hennemann, Barnikel, Kraus, and Sauer on that journey.
Had a nice visit with Jason at Spezial, too!
Visited yesterday and it was a really nice warm evening with really nice beer and local company: Pils and Lager as it would have tasted in the seventies, I guess, and a darkish Landbier.
Lovely relaxed meeting with Jason in Eichorn last night, where he demonstrated his knowledge of Schafkopf (impressive) and became an object of some fascination to a group of local ladies of a certain age (but nearer mine than his!), with whom we shared a table! Oh yes, and the beer was pretty good - excellent Keller and a very pleasant Dunkel. Nice evening, I can report that walking from Hallstadt bhf to Eichorn took me 25 minutes.
South-East of the Bamberg railway station - directly adjacent- is a largely empty shopping mall (Atrium).
Until 2020 a part of this mall should be rebuild in a hotel with 150 rooms and a boarding house with 50 aparments.
Source (in German):
The Atrium went out of business? I guess it has been some years since I was in there.
Yes. The last big shiop Wöhrl has moved to the Maxplatz before 5 years.
The new plan is to have new shops and restaurants at the ground floor and a hotel about that. The cinema and the parking house should stay.
The Supermarket in the Atrium was where I bought some bottles of Absinthe years ago. I remember the name of the store.
Years ago! Talking to Jason last night who didn't remember it!
Btw, Neder as good as ever. Usual crew of strange customers but they were joined by a party (10?) of respectable looking ladies and gents who brought in baskets of grub and settled down to a feast! Never seen anything like it.
Fassbier excellent (as always) and several bottles of lovely Schwarzer Anna, in memory of Jacqueline - it was her favourite
Arrived last night, after a longish and rather tiring journey but managed a Dunkel and a Landbier (with a bottle of Pilsner mitnehmen). All excellent! Such a quiet place, no one around after early evening!
How did you travel? By Eurostar and DB?
Sorry, didn't notice this before Gunnar. No, flew Manchester to Nurnburg, then dB/Re to Ebensfeld. Leaving by train to Prague (via Cheb because no through trains during this period and want to avoid coach). Then flying back Prague to Liverpool.
One month 9-uhr mobicard now over 100 euro but I'll still get my money's worth!
Via Cheb is always the smart route. Your Mobicard should take you part of the way, for others, this (edited) quote from seat61.com may be useful:
Go the the Czech Railways website www.cd.cz, change the Czech flag to the UK flag for English at top right, enter Bamberg to Prague and - this is the important bit - click More options then Travel via and enter Cheb in the via box.
In the search results, you should see journeys taking around 6 hours with lower fares than those offered by bahn.de. They all involve taking a German train from Bamberg to Nuremberg, a fast regional train to Cheb, then a swish air-conditioned Czech regional express to Prague Hlavni.
You print your own ticket. Simples! And so much nicer than enduring a bus. Booking opens 90 days ahead.
Already booked and ticket printed, cost me all of £12! Seat 61 is great. What's more, as an over 70, local travel is free. Good to get something for our aged bones!
I'll be headed to both next month: Prague May 7-14 & May 19 & 20 with Berlin in between (it was way cheaper to fly home from Prague so I had to go back)
If I should cross paths with anybody, lets have a beer or three (or six)
Sorry Fred, just miss you in Prague by a couple of days! Have fun!
Hi Fred! Looking forward to seeing you in Berlin.
Looking forward to it. May 16 at Foesters, right?
Have just checked the website for this annual Bier Festival (30 May-03 June). 2018 Line up of local brewers very similar to previous years, and international guest brewery represented is Belhaven from Scotland - part of Greene King IIRC. I don't see Scotland being overun with Franconian visitors as a result.
I also found (to me) a new brewery Waldschatz, based at Hausen bei Wuerzburg, who appear to be related to Ines' Beerstore. From much of their website I was expecting a "craft" operation, which may in time be the case, although their one bottled beer currently shown in photos is their Helles. Photos certainly give the impression that they have their own brewing kit on site.
That's indeed a new one. I will be in the Wuerzburg are in a couple of weeks and will check out the shop. Your assumptions are the same as mine from reading the website.
I agree re Belhaven but you may also know that Franconians (and Germans) have a strong love of Scotland and Ireland and actually I imagine this is why they are serving Scottish 'beer'. Of course it's a very average product so I won't be bothering. If it was handpulled I might be tempted but that's not going to happen.
Definitely a chance to drink Meister while it's tap remains closed #geheimtipp
On Tuesday I spotted Helga daintily pouring beers in Spezial - she's back!
On the same night I managed to lock myself out of my apartment, went back to see if I'd left my keys in Spezial (shut, 11.03pm), asked Helga (standing outside) for help which she flatly refused and had to call Florian Merz to get Julia Merz's number to cycle back and let me in. I'm in the dog house with her as she had to get up at 5am. But then they shut too early, so my sympathy is limited.
My keys weren't there so I ended up staying the night in Spezi. I'd only drunk 2 beers. Cost me €20 (Frau Merz certainly had sympathy). Sure, Helga didn't have a key but she couldn't give a s***.
So, why do they emply here, I wonder? Surely other people must have similar problems and there must be other people looking for jobs, even in Bamberg.
Well there is nothing in my message that suggested she wasn't good at her job (that's another opinion). She probably couldn't do much but it's not like i'm a stranger, she could have at least called Julia.
I have started to be a lot more critical with my tip giving. Good service, good tip etc. Ironically I like the servers in Schlenkerla the best (front room).
Oh come on Jason!!. We're not this naive, Admit it, you locked yourself out intentionally in hopes that Helga would invite you back to her place. Sorry it didn't work out as you hoped.
Now that's some funny sh*t right there! I hope to spot Helga next week when I am in town to truely understand how funny this post actually is.
You'll have no trouble spotting her. That much I can assure you.
Nail on head Mark. "Please Helgy baby I have no where to lay my head, except your ample bosom"
All joshing aside hope you found your keys ok Jason?
When Helga is on Spezial property, she is all business.
During an impromptu ‘lock in’ at Spezial on Friday I heard that Brauerei winkler in merkendorf is brewing again, or at least will be in a few weeks. The details are hazy, on account of said lock in, but it is being reopened as a not for profit enterprise. I am not sure if the brewery tap will reopen or not. The recipe is new so anyone familiar can breath a sigh of relief.
If this happens it will be a Phoenix from the ashes; and not something I expected. Not many, if any, breweries I know have closed and reopened excepting Martin in unterneuses and Hausen.
Interesting Hopefully the Tap reopens. It will be nice to have that back on the hiking route.
Oh and very nice job not misspelling anything in this post. I can see from recent posts that this has become a HUGE pet peeve of Fred’s. Well except when Gerhard does it of course
wel sed marrk!
It would be great to have them back on the scene, specially the tap. Arrived there once to find them 'am Urlaub' but at least got to see the outside of this 'spectular' Gestatte. I thought that it was operating as some kind of hostel?
Your killing me!
Sorry. It’s “you’re”. not your. Just wanted to sort that out before Fred arrives.
I've been in Winkler last week. Yes, they are brewing again, just one beer and the first batch will be ready in June. The brewer is Christian Grasser, brother of the Huppendorfer brewer. The old taproom will be probably shot down, but they are working to rebuild an old room as a new taproom next to the brewery. I was impressed by them, it seems to be a great project. The name of the brewery should be simply Brauerei Melkendorf.
Well done everyone!
That’s right - I got the information from the daughter of Grasser in Spezial (she’s dating Florian merz) and this other guy who was at the brewery when you were - he mentioned a group of Italians - i guesses it would be you.
Let's hope that the quality of the "new" beer will be better. Winkler was not a very attractive place, neither the beer nor the ugly - concrete dominated - taproom were really worth a visit...
I agree Pivnizpub...my last visit there was 3 years ago, the mood was glum, beer was literally undrinkable, but the new guys are full of passion and knowledge, i'm sure to find a very good beer there in my next visit
Confused by the overlapping usage of the term Bock beer. Urbock, Dopplebock, Maibock, Hellesbock, Hellerbock, Weizenbock.
There are so many beers looped into the category of Bock it's difficult to know what style of bock your really drinking.
1. Maibock (may bock)- spring beer 6-7% ABV
(Helles Bock and Heller bock - maibock beers)
Ayinger Maibock, Mahr’s Bock, Hacker-Pschorr Hubertus Bock, Capital Maibock, Einbecker Mai-Urbock, Hofbräu Maibock, Victory St. Boisterous, Gordon Biersch Blonde Bock, Smuttynose Maibock, Old Dominion Brewing Company Big Thaw Bock, [Brewery 85's Quittin' Time], Rogue Dead Guy Ale, Franconia Brewing Company Maibock Ale, Church Street maibock, and Tröegs Cultivator.
2. Urbock(original bock) - Schlenkerla rauch urbock beer in October 6.5%. Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is a Christmas bock beer 8.0%.
3. Dopplebock - year round beer 6-7%
Predator, Paulaner Salvator, Ayinger Celebrator, Weihenstephaner Korbinian, Andechser Doppelbock Dunkel, Spaten Optimator, Augustiner Maximator, Tucher Bajuvator, Weltenburger Kloster Asam-Bock, Capital Autumnal Fire, EKU 28, Eggenberg Urbock 23º.
4. Eisbock - 9-14%
Kulmbacher Reichelbräu Eisbock, Eggenberg, Schneider Aventinus Eisbock, Urbock Dunkel Eisbock(Combo style term), Franconia Brewing Company Ice Bock 17%.
The strongest ice-beer is produced by a Franconian company and is called Schorschbräu and is 57% ABV, a former world record for beer ABV.
5. Dunklebock and Weizenbock(Munich Region)
Starkbierfest is a dopplebock festival in March.
Dopple Bock beer from Schneider Weisse
Schneider Weisse - TAP6 Aventinus - 8,2% ABV
Schneider Weisse - TAP5 Mein Hopfenweisse - 8,2% ABV
Weihenstephaner - Vitus Wheatbuck - 7,7% ABV
Bocks are also brewed in Poland, where they are known as "Koźlak" and available during the whole year. Notable examples include Koźlak Amber, Miłosław Koźlak, Cornelius Kożlak, Perła Kożlak.
Once a year Budweiser Budvar brew the 7.5% Imperial with Saaz wet/green hops fresh from the farm and matured for 200 days for release in late spring.
Bamberg tends to brew a special BOCK from October to December. Schlenkerla Oak Smoke is a Christmas beer 8.0%.
Bocks and Doppelbocks are different, but it is not the alcohol content, it is the Stammwürzegehalt wort):
- Bocks have more than 16° Plato
- Doppelbocks havwe more than 18° Plato.
Weizenbocks and Weizendoppelbocks are strong wheatbeers. Bocks and Doppelbocks are strong lager.
Foreigners believe, that spring bocks are pale and automn bocks are dark. But the most automn bocks are also pale.
If a bock will be dark or pale depends on the brewery. In many cases Bocks are only strong versions of their normal beer. If their normal beer is pale, they brew a pale bock. They like to use the same ingredients.
Few breweries offer their Maibock only in the month May, starting the 1st May (p.e. Mönchsambacher). Bigger breweries who sell their beers in markets, like to offer their Maibocks earlier. They wish to sell their Maihocks out before the hot months.
Urbock is only a brand, marketing name. Ursprünglich = Originally, in an old style.. You can also find an Ur-Lager and a Ur-Märzen (Brewery Knoblach in Schammelsdorf) or an Urstoff (Brewery Sauer in Rossdorf).
Eisbocks are Bocks without extracted water.
Traditionally bocks are seasonal brewed beers for the time before christams and the lent time in spring. But some breweries, have seen that there is a demand during the whole year (especially in foreign countries) and so they have decided to offer their bocks all year.
The ending -ator for Doppelbocks was introduced because the brewerey Paulaner has proteced the name Salvator for her Doppelbock. So other breweries has used the ruse to substitue the first part of the word (Salv-) in combination with the ending -avator. An example. Bambergator (from the brewery Fässla).
Your comments clarify some but add more mystery.
"Bocks have more than 16° Plato
Doppelbocks have more than 18° Plato."
Do you mean bock beeers are greater than 16° Plato but less than 18° Plato?
Could you identify a few "bock" beers with greater than 16° Plato but not in dopplebock category?
I don't think I've ever hd a real bock beer by your definition just variuos maibock, dopplebock, dunkelbock, and weizenbock beer.
Bocks have more than 16% original wort and until 18% original wort.
Doppelbocks have more than 18% original wort.
All together are called Starkbiere (stong beers).
Colloquial and legal You can use the word Bock for Bock beers and Doppelbock beers.
You talk about the Bockbieranstich of the Fässla Bambergator. Nobody talk about a Doppelbockbieranstich. And if You order a bock you will get the Doppelbock Bambergator.
An example of an incoherent use of these names is the Huppendorfer-Josefibock. It's a Doppelbock, but labeled Bock. But It is legal to sell a Doppelbock under the name Bock.
One problem is that no law exists to publish the original wort on the label. This information is not a required entry. Some breweries hesitate to publish the original wort because some silly customers confused with the alcohol content. And they don't want to cram their labels with not required entries.
Under the stroke it is a lifted discussion.
" Bocks have more than 16° Plato
- Doppelbocks havwe more than 18° Plato."
Plato is just an alternative method to calculate alcohol percentage. Brewers prefer Plato but the packaing shows ABV.
Czech beer Plato 10°= 3.97%; Plato 12°= 5.07%
Plato of 16° is 7.3% ABV
Plato of 18° is 8.45% ABV
Spaten Optimator which is 7.5% ABV = Plato of 16.34°.
Spaten Optimator is a Doppleboch beer and has a Plato grater than 16°.
So defintion of boch beer still seems confusing.
Spaten Optimator is ABV=7.60 which is Plato 16.51.
Optimator is a Doppleboch greater than Plato 16 but is "supposedly" not a boch beer.
Plato does not directly correspond to alcohol percentages. Plato (== Brix == Balling up to 5 or 6 decimal places) is just a measure of sugars in the initial wort. Most of those sugars will be converted to alcohol but not all -- depends on the yeast used and the specific sugars in the wort and stronger wort usually doesn't ferment as completely as a weaker wort (so the scale is not linear)
Historically, this was often used in taxation as calculating the alcohol percent is tricky and not really possible in the good old days. But weigh a volume of water, then the same volumn of wort and you have the Plato.
Spaten says that Optimator is 18.2º Plato so it is in the Doppelbock range.
Plato is not a linear conversion but there is a calculator to convert Plato to ABV.
Point I'm trying to make that Gerhard's forecast that Plato 16 is a bock doesn't match up with ABV level as those beers are dopplebach.
Spaten Optimator is one example that is Plato 16.51 but falls in doppleboch category.
You cannot convert Plato to ABV -- they are measuring different things. How many feet are there in an hour? (It's like making the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs)
Those calculators are doing an approximation -- that a wort of xxº Plato will typically have y.y% abv. Those formulas are less accurate for higher gravity worts.
Spaten Optimator is not 16.5º Plato, it is 18.2º (or at least that is what it was years ago when I was brewing)
And Gil, I know this pissed you off but watch your spelling -- you've spelled "bock" at least three different ways...
Calculators may be an approximation but then the mathematical formula you're using RE not shown to determine your ability to calculate witha ccuracy. Clearly other web sites believe their calculators are accurate just as you believe you mathetical formula calculations were accurate.
Gerhard has made a statement that bock beers are greater than 16º.
Then Gerhard states that dopplebock is greater than 18º
However, you don't care to address the ambiguity is his comment. Based on that comment a bock beer can be both conditions:
Greater than 16º AND greater than 18º
Obviosuly it's an inconsitency that I was asking Gerhard to confirm versus having a new issue complaining about spelling. Never do you complain abotu Gerhard's spelling.......jsut saying!
So instead of Gerhard getting a chance to resolve his comment your now criticizing a calculator you haven't evaluated.
If bock beer > 16º and a dopplebock is greater than 18º based on Gerhard's comment then it's possible a bock beer can be greater than 18º becausse Gerhard did not define when a bock is not a dopplebock.
Goal should be to list offical Bock beers. If you believe all the information is inaccurate on the internet then it's hard to qualify any formulas or calculators.
With so much inconsitency on the internet and within the blogs including the Franconian Beer Guide, I would think you should show more patience to identify offical beers verus negating a calulator that you do not have specifications to know the approximation offsets.
So, which beers are officlaly bock beers and what justification or metric do you use to
Gerhard is German.English is not his first language.
Official bock beers? If it says it’s a Bockbier it’s a Bockbier. Because that’s what the brewer wanted to brew.
This post started out a little odd and has become absurd. I suggest you drink a few bock beers and think about something more meaningful. And a tip on social convention; if you want help from people giving up their free time to answer your (often ignorant) questions then perhaps be a little more gracious.
Dear oh dear.
I go out of my to ignore your abussive comments so please try to few post to becoem more knowledgable in Francomian beer. Nice you single me out for a rude comment.
Gerhard was very generous to offer his knowledge and I appreciate thsi very much. Bock beer means more to him in terms of many categories than you can appreciate.
Sad ---- you feel so superior to degarde others just on a simple beer topic.
Hope you and Helga marry since your made for each other eternally.
I must say this post made me laugh. What's abussive? Actually I have no idea what your first sentance means in English. The way you write to people is rude sometimes, I'm sorry but it is, and clearly I wasn't the only one who thought so. I'm not saying you intend it, just like you don't intend to litter your posts with literary errors, but it doesn't come across very well.
This forum isn't for slagging each other so I suggest we leave it there and go drink a beer.
PS your last sentance was a classic. I don't have words to do it justice. Comedy gold.
Doppelbocks are in general of higher ABV than the average Bock, but I am sure there are exceptions. Dopplebocks are very often a bit more sweet than Bocks (this would be consistent with the higher Plato, which corresponds to O.G., though not necessarily to F.G.). I am not sure of the "official" or "legal" definitions other than what Gerhard and Fred have offered.
Just my opinion.
Can't stop smiling about the whole thread. Euromann, I'd love to have a Seidla or three with you, just to check out, if you're a kind of Sheldon or something. Honestly. Some things are not defineable by a mere numbers.
Whilst conversing with the venerable Barry recently he mentioned that the brewery guesthouse in Lichtenfels seems to be rarely visited by board memmbers. (Brauerei Wichert and not the home brew shed).
I looked it up in the breweries section on this site and its not mentioned, so perhaps you could put it on the database Fred? It is at Alte Reichstrasse 50 Lichtenfels.
Wichert is in Oberwallenstadt (or Lichtenfels-Oberwallenstadt).
That is a question that comes up from time to time -- what "Place" name to use, it's "traditional name" or its current political juristiction.
Bad Staffelstein is a good example. Within the municipal limits are such familiar names as Vierzehnheiligen, Uetzing, Stublang, Frauendorf, etc. So some people say there are 8 or so breweries in Bad Staffelstein, while this website says there are none.
My arguement is that if you got off the train at Bad Staffelstein and walked around you wouldn't come across any breweries and might be peeved.
Also, then I would list Brauerei Hummel and Wagner in Memmelsdorf -- which just seems wrong!
All quite true, though it's pretty hard to detect where Lichtenfels ends and Oberwallenstadt begins!
Whatever, I really enjoyed my visit there last year, in spite of a tremendous rainstorm (what is it about Lichtenfels - it either snows or rains!) and falling down a drain in the market square and cutting my leg!
Which district is Brauerei Pedant in?
If you're a good boy, I'll take you there next week!
Yum! A special favourite of yours will be on I hope, the "Schwarzer Hut"
wow you’re on a tear today Andy!! It’s as if we’re at the Stammtisch of Brauerei TakngThePiss
And whilst we are here we might as well Rate the beer! ( also the tongue and groove)
A definite sign of Franken fever here and still nearly two weeks to go!
Exactly! I’ll have to live vicariously for a few months more yet.
we decided to move along to Oberfranken this morning. Gloser and Schafferhof were not
good this time around. The taxi I dont know How to cancel? Dammn. Short notice I know.
Could have phoned him on the number that I sent!
Soon going back to Bamberg for a short trip thursday till saturday. This time I want to take it easier. Off course I will visit Schenkerla and Spezial, but have Greifenklau improved and have the famous U at Mahrs decreased in quality? Any other changes and recommendations worth commenting from your your guys will me much appreciated.
How about Knoblach is it worth a bus trip?
At Saturday 7.4 we’re leaving for Forchheim - is the Kellerwald something we should explore? We will go with train to Nürnberg - is the ticket valid to hop off in Forchheim and continue to Nürnberg some hours later?
For speed and ease I'll number your questions and answer in turn:
1. Greifenklau has not, to my experience, changed at all in the past years. It's a perfectly acceptable beer, if nothing spectaculor. You can search for Mahrs feedback on this Forum - in my opinion it's not what it was - but best see for yourself.
2. No other real changes that I know of.
3. Knoblach is not somewhere I tend to visit much. I' m not a huge fan of their beer (although nothing wrong with it at all) but it's a popular destination for beer tourists. There are better places though, such as the short bus to Doerfleins and Brauerei Eichhorn.
4. As long as you don't reserve a seat on an ICE you are fine to hop off and continue later. If there are 2 or more of you then buy a Tages Ticket plus (zone 10) for around EUR20 which will cover your group for the whole day. The Kellerwald is worth visiting if the weather is nice. If not then it's a bit of a walk and I can't see it being very pleasant. You might get lucky but early April is touch and go.
Thank you for a helpful answer!
Agree with everything Jason says except Knoblach, which I like. Is it as good as Eichorn. just a question of personal taste.
But another suggestion: Merkendorf, where you can sample, in my view and lots of other people's, some of the best beer in the near proximity of Bamberg, at Wagner and Hummel. If you really want, you can make a complete day and sample Knoblach, Merkendorf and Memmelsdorf - all by local bus. It's a bit complicated but possible, I've done it several times.
As for Forchheim: IMHO, don't bother with the Kellerwald. All the same breweries are in town, including the wonderful Neder.
Thanks. I agree with you on Merkendorf: I have been there three times. In the vicinity of Bamberg I have not been to: Knoblach, Brauerei Hønig, Eichhorn and Rossdorf am Forst so after both what you and Jason said; maybe I should visit both breweries, but It depends on time and weather. I will absolutely follow your advise on Neder when we visit Forcheim. Thanks!
All those breweries are worth visiting, also two in Geisfeld. But they are tricky to manage all together by public transport. Also, when you're in Doerfleins, it is ony a 20 minute walk to the other Wagner in Kemmern, also worth a visit.
So many possibilities!
Only 20 minutes walking from Doerfleins to Kemmern? Are you sure? I walked there from Hallstadt once and it seemed quite a long way.
Are the kellers open in April? Diller-Keller (Honig beer) is on the way from Dorfleins to Kemmern.
Hallstadt is maybe 10 minutes from Doerfleins and then I'd say 20 minutes to the Kemmern Kellers is about right. To the village it's further of course.
Kellers would only open in April if the weather is cooperating, and even then it's unlikely. It was 18 degrees yesterday but next week it could well be -9 again so I'm not expecting Spring weather just yet.
Ok, maybe half an hour for me but I'm 70 something! Come on.
I'm 62, but maybe the knee that has been replaced and the one that needs to be replaced is talking!
You could get the bus up to Tiefenellern on Friday, then either walk down to Strullendorf via Geasfeld and Rossdorf, or over to Memmelsdorf via Knoblach and Drosendorf. The whole route is called something like the 13 Brauerien Wanderweg and is signed, though we got lost on the way to Knoblach. Obviously weather dependent, but I think they are all open on Friday. Worth checking hours though.
Thanks Tiefenellern is option. Walking from here to Knoblach. Seems scenic through the forrest. Long way though. Hope the path is easy to follow.
You'd also walk past Lohndorf and Brauerei Hoelzlein (either to Geisfeld/Rossdorf or to Knoblach).
Thanks I did that some years ago. Lovely trip. Maybe I do it again if the weather turns very good.
For a description of the 13-Brauereien-Weg, check
For planning of walks, I use
The section from Tiefenellern to Strullendorf station, 15 km, seems comfortable and mostly downhill. I think I might try it in October.
Im surprised its that far. Its certainly mostly downhill. Lovely in keller season when you can finish off at the keller in Strullendorf.
Sounds about right - it's a good walk, but with plenty of stops en route. The Waldstuebla Keller is also between Geisfeld and Leeston, though this will take you round a little from Rossdorf.
Another problem: the first bus from Bamberg to Tiefenellern arrives 13.39. With a transfer in Schesslitz you can get there six minutes earlier. Too little time to enjoy beer.
Another option: relatively frequent buses to Schammelsdorf, so you can get your IBU kick at Knoblach. Then walk 50 minutes to Lohndorf (Hölzlein and Reh), 40' to Melkendorf (Winkler now only serves Fässla and Mahrs beers), 40' to Geisfeld (Krug and Griess), 30' to Rossdorf am Forst (Sauer). Bus back to Bamberg at 18.00. 13.5 km.
Some hills to pass between Lohndorf and Melkendorf and between Melkendorf and Reisfeld. Not too steep though.
If you miss the Rossdorf bus, then an hour's walk will take you to the station in Strullendorf with hourly train service (6' past the hour) into Bamberg. After all that beer, maybe make it an hour and a half...
No, I give up...
Knoblach does not open until 15.00, so that walk is not a good option.
I should know the rules for Franconian rural places by now:
1) If there is a good bus service, assume the brewery taps are closed,
2) If the brewery taps are open, there is no bus service (typically weekends)
3) If you find an accessible location with a bus service, that will be a weekly closing day or closure because of the owner's niece's communion or such.
Don't forget the very nice biergarten at Gasthaus Schiller in Wernsdorf!
I stayed there for a few days; top-notch!
Just looked at the map in the PDF - even blown up, the precise directions are not so clear. Just looking at the Wanderreitkarte, much more informative, must see what it looks like on my smartphone.
The directions Brauereien-Weg might be shaved a little. I'm not sure whether it's any quicker going on the Schotterweg from Schammelsdorf to Tiefernellern than just taking the road and cutting off before you get to Litzendorf. Hard to know without doing it.
I would definitely think of taking the bus to Schammelsdorf, then Tief., Lohndorf, Grisfeld (specially Krug!), Rossdorf and on to Strullendorf. Have to check bus times and opening hours but I think that would be a nice walk - as a compromise, I'd go direct Tief and do Memmelsdorf (Hoenig only), Schammels., and Merkendorf by 907 bus another day. Choices! Choices!
I must combine taxi and bus. A bus to tiefenellern and then walk to Knoblach when it opens at friday. A taxi back to Bamberg from here. The entire route is to far when it comes to time. I have walked Tiefenellern to Geisfeld november 2014. Brauerei hönig was closed, but we managed all the other breweries. Beautiful trip, but I found the beers ok, but not as good as the breweries in Merkendorf.
I would personally not say the beers at Knoblach are worth a taxi of €25. I’m not so mad on tiefenellern either. There are better breweries to plan hikes to, using the train.
appreciate your honest feedback, Jason! Thursday I stay in Bamberg. I have the Friday to explore some breweries around Bamberg, but must be back early evening: We’re would you go if Knoblach and hønig aren’t your choice?I would prefer to visit new breweries, but not if they the beer is mediocre.
( These are the once I have visited: Zur Sonne Bischenberg, Wagner( Kemmern), breweries in Merkendorf, breweries in Memmelsdorf, Göller Drosendorf, Brauerei Reh, Brauerei Hölzlein, Winkler, breweries in Geisfeld, Brauerei Roppelt. )
One suggestion would be to take the bus to Grasmannsdorf (around 12noon, arrives 13.10) for a quick beer in the excellent Brauerei Kaiser, then you can take the 13.50 bus to Moenschsambach (arrives 14.05) then there are regular buses to Burgebrach (direction Bamberg) where you could visit Brauerei Schwann. There are then regular buses back to Bamberg.
Brauerei Kaiser and Zehendner are both excellent. Schwann is fine (nice keller, but early April is a bit early).
If the weather is ok and you would prefer to walk I would say train to Breitengussbach to visit Main Seidla (closes at 12noon), then walk to Kemmern to Wagner and then walk to Doerfleins. Regular trains back from Hallstadt.
Or bus at 11.34 from Bamberg to Oberharnsbach, then it's a short but pleasant walk to Brauerei Kaiser (not all buses go to Grasmannsdorf). You'd arrive at 12.30ish so you'd have 1hr 20 before the bus to Moenschsambach which is a bit longer.
Hey come on, Moenschsambach is perfectly acceptable... ;)
Alright. Will visit Glassgou, Ertinburg, Arberdean and Irverness this year. ;-)
Ah I didn't realise I mis-spelt it... I thought you were referencing the ae instead of ä
Yes Moenchsambach. Ideally Mönchsambach.
Perfect. Good man. ;-)
I saw a map splitting the name
ambach (would be pronounced mönx-ambach)
It's really Mönch|sambach (mönch-zambach) which would be clear with the sadly archaic spelling Mönchſambach
Hmmm, I've had this discussion with a number of locals (and a notable pair of Hamburgers) over the years: is it Mönchs-am-bach i.e. Mönchs-an dem-bach loosely translated as 'Monks on the stream' or is it Mönch-sambach which would be 'Monks (of) Sambach. Sambach is a village not too far away near Pommersfelden.
I think the conclusion was in line with Gunnar i.e. Mönch-sambach. What is for certain is that if Mark Anderson reads this he'll be getting cold sweats... his struggle to pronounce one of his favourite breweries in a constant thorn in his side :)
I'll just have to make many more visits and continue to work on my pronunciation.
Thanks, Jason! I will try to do that trip with bus to those breweries. Looking forward!
Really good recommendation - you'll enjoy. Pity it's not a Tuesday then you culd join in with the singing in Zehendner!
Must remember to schedule a Tuesady next month for that trip!
Personally I think Knoblach is worth the visit if you have the time. As always the question is are there other places that are also easily reachable that are also worth the visit or even better. Of course the answer is yes and therein lies the dilemma of Franconia. So many places and so little time and that is why some of us just keep going back.
Jason and others have mentioned many of the other possibilities. I would like to add one to the list of choices as a really nice beer hike. Reckendorf to Ebing. You can start and end on a rail line and there are at least 3 excellent breweries along the way. Schroll in Reckendorf (I will start here the next time I do this). Then hike over the ridge to the next valley to the east and visit the brewery in Hofen (one of my personal favorites). From there onto Ebing for Schwanen Brau which is also a really nice place and beer. A very doable hike with some nice scenary as well. And if you've got time you could add in a couple of the other breweries within a reasonable detour such as Fischer in Freudeneck and Sonnenbrau in Muersbach for an even longer detour. You may also want to stop in at the other brewery in Reckendorf but it's not great IMO.
Remember the day that we did the Ebing to Reckendorf hike. Lovely. Even the young fella doing the runner for the train!
P.S. Jason - did you get my email re Ebensfeld?
Yeah the dash to the train and Hofen and Ebing not being open until later is why I think I will start in Reckendorf next time.
Oer ... I wonder why not. I'll send it via Facebook Messenger.
Visited Brauerei Metzler, Dingsleben and Gasthof Reinwand, Sesslach (Reinwand-Hausbier from Kommunbrauhaus Sesslach) yesterday. Beer at both breweries in perfect shape.
Dingsleben remains on my list Juergen... I will get out there soon!
Hope that you're working out a good trip for my April visit!
That's your job Barry... Happy to drive but you'll have to select where to.
Invitation accepted! Thinking cap on.
Dingsleben is just beautiful. Situated behind the Kleiner Gleichberg, one of the best preserved celtic oppida in Germany, and the Großer Gleichberg, where Vladimir Putin was stationed as a young soldier, this is the Thuringian part of Franconia. Few villages, lovely scenery, heavily spoken Franconian language, good beer!
When are we going?
Is the Walberla an Oppida?
Soon. The Walberla, or Ehrenbürg used to be an oppidum, yes. The Staffelberg as well. And the Hesselberg. And, and, and...
The popular Bier Abend (beer evening) at Hummel will take place this year on Wednesday 30th May. Mark’s admirer will be but one of the sorry people that he won’t be attending this year.
If anyone else is in bamberg I recommend a visit. 11 beers on draft including 1 special, music, food and general beer fest paraphernalia. It may require a taxi back but it’s worth it.
I feel like I have many admirers in Merkendorf but that could be the bock bier talking.
Anyhow, I swear Hummel throws the best shindigs. I def. recommend anyone that is there on May 30th go to that event. I'm basing a trip in the fall around their bockbieranstich and then plan to be back May 2019 as well for either Bierabend or the bier fest in Memmelsdorf again.
Damn! Another event taking place after I've gone home!
I was in town when they threw there Helles Bock Tapping Fest. I regret not going.
Mads - can you post your answer under this new heading. The old one has got pushed way down the list where I don't check so often. Oh, and how many people will be involved?
3 people. From Ferienwohnung Rettinger in Neuhaus to Schwoazhansl in Falkenberg. And perhaps back later in the day.
“Later in the day”
Yeah Well... How good is that zoigl ? Pretty sadening sitting 4 hours with an unfit beer. :-) Back 14.00 Would be Nice. Thanks
saturday 24th March
Ok Mads, an answer for you! Taxi each way Neuhaus - Falkenburg is €20, so €40 for the round trip. I'll get the phone number for you .
I know that it's a bit late but the phone number that I have for Neugirg, Martin (taxi in Eschawo) is 0049 (0) 9681 3915. Hope that everything goes ok and that you enjoy the visit!
For those with Facebook, tune in to the new video recently posted by Mahrs about their recent Weizenbock Anstich on Ash Wednesday.
It's basically the usual s*** about Herr Michel and his local and international celebrity mates waxing lyrical about Mahrs Brau and the Weizenbock and it sums up what is wrong with the company. It shows very little of the ACTUAL anstich or the real people there, those that ACTUALLY frequent the pub every week, not just on the invitation of the high and mighty. It rreally sums up why I have and will continue to be an extremely rare visitor and will not refrain from telling anyone who wants to listen why.
It's fake, just like the barrels. A load of corporate bull*****. Sorry but it angers me.
Yeah I just watched the video. It really is exactly as you describe. It doesn't take a genius to figure out this is all about building a global brand name (and perhaps selling it at some point for a billion or two dollars). I would not be the slightest bit suprised if in the not too distant future they open a brewery somewhere in North America.
I will say this about Herr Michel though. If I had even half of his charisma and sales and marketing skills my company would probably be 10 times the size it is now and I'd be retired. Then I'd have more time to be in Franconian and on this forum commisserating on how Mahrs has gone to shit. But alas I am who I am and I've got to go to work now. Well after a quick round of golf that is.
Gosh Mark, I feel so sorry for you! Will commiserate during your visit here, where you will be sure of a warm welcome.at all the pubs that I'' recommend!
More to the point, the woes of Mahrs, for its regulars, have been obvious for years. I remember ages ago posting about a conversation I had with a local guy who was saying just that: the management had no interest in their regular customers, shuffling off in favour of corporate table booking, etc.
Maybe one day the business won't be so great and they'll welcome beer drinkers again and serve decent beer. As they say, businesses can go down as well as up. Who'd have thought that Maplins and Toys R Us would go belly up so quickly. It only took a months poor trading.
It’s hard being me Barry but I’ll soldier on. Really looking forward to May and will trust your judgement on local pubs.
Mahrs will always have Bamberg to fall back on. Entering the fickle “craft” beer markets of the US and other places will be tough for Mahrs. A local bartender in Mass told me they had trouble selling out the keg of Mahrs as people seem to all want the latest IPA and such and if one does want lager there ample enough local breweries doing that now too these days. It will be interesting to see how it goes.
This is my first-time post on this board but I have been lurking for a while. I just spent the weekend visiting about a dozen craft breweries in the Minneapolis area of Minnesota. It seems to me that the craft beer market in the States is definitely changing. No longer is it about the beer but the experience. There is also a huge ignorance among the average beer drinker in the States. They might have heard the terms Ale and Lager but have no idea what they mean. We visited many places where the beer was extremely poor but the establishments were packed with people.
People in the States are shifting to preferring everything local as apposed national or regional. Even the mighty Walmart has been closing stores due to this trend. A couple of the early and competent craft breweries in the area are Summit and Surly and they are losing market share to these awful startup places. I feel the days of craft breweries like Sierra Nevada, New Belgium, Boulevard etc being able to expand nationally are over. Mahrs will find it very difficult to crack into this market by any sizable amount.
By the way, I will be in Franconia in mid-April and I am planning to spend some time at Mahrs. I did enjoy the place and the beer last spring.
I can’t comment on your opinion on the US as I don’t live there and haven’t visited for 7 years. But I agree, Mahr will not have success in my opinion.
I don’t discourage anyone from visiting, nor would I argue with someone who has a different opinion (who lives here, and whose opinion i respect). Just please give the other breweries a try outside of bamberg.
Jeff, I agree with you 100% that the trend in the US is towards local in the beer industry and otherwise. It's a good thing IMO and hope the trend continues. You can see evidence in this in even the larger regional breweries suffering because they can't compete in all the local markets in the region they used to have a major footprint in and thus they have to scale back (Smuttynose in New Hampshire is a prime example). People simply enjoy visiting their local brewery because as you said it's not just the beer it's also the experience. Someone I was talking to a couple of years ago wondered when saturation in the beer industry would be reached. My reply was when every decent sized town in the US has it's own brewery or two. And lo and behold this is exactly what is happening.
I concur with both Mark and Jeff concerning localization of brewing in the US. I must note that some brewers of so they say the are want to experiment with locally developed fungus and herbs. The brewery is as noted an experience. I would prefer the quality of beer be the experience but one cannot have everything. Hopefully one day in the near future I will get back to enjoy the beers of the Ebermanstadt area to start.
Hi Jeff Interesting comments about beer situation in the USA.
I will be in Franken (Ebensfeld) from April 9 to 27. If you fancy meeting for a beer, give me a shout. Not Mahrs though, you will see from my various posts that I am allergic to that brewery!
Barry, I will be in Prague April 8-12 then off to Bamberg to meet up with a group of 4. We will be staying there 6 days and then off to Windischenbach for a night or 2. meeting up with you for a beer would be great.
Jason, we will have a car so we plan to day trip out of Bamberg to some places that are hard to reach by public transit. We are looking forward to all that Franconia has to offer, beer wise.....
Nice, if you need any tips just ask, just because they are ‘hard to reach’ doesn’t make them necessarily worth visiting above others in the region. But you can’t go too far wrong.
Ok, that fits fine. I'll be in Ebensfeld from April 9 - 27. If you're looking for an of town trip, you'd do worse than consider coming north, it's not that far and there's a great choice of lovely breweries. In fact, you could do justice to the area in one trip!
You can look them up: there's Schwanen, Ebensfeld; Leicht, Pferdsfeld; Hellmuth, Wiesen; Rebliz, Nedensdorf; and, possibly, Martin, Unterneuses (is it open now?); all within a 10 km radius. Then there's all the Staffelstein breweries, not to mention those on the run up from Ebing. Could go on forever.
Sorry, done rather quickly, hence a couple of amendments!
Should be: 'If you're looking for an out of town trip'
Should be: 'In fact, you could not do justice to this area in one trip!'
Slightly changes the meaning.
Would that be an Ebensfeld Stroll? Only one daily bus Mon-Fri. Looks like 3 hours worth of walking. Or do you have some other smart solution?
No, more simple, very regualr trains from Bamberg (or elsewhere). Schwan is 5 minutes walk from Bhf Ebensfeld. Then, if Martin is open, 20 minutes walk (at most); Leicht another 20 minutes. From there, you can also walk to Staffelberg at Loffeld, then 4 kms back to Bad Staffelstein and train.
Alternatively, from Ebensfeld, it's about 30 minutes walk to Wiesen (Thomann, if you're a masochist, and Hellmuth, superb) and maybe 30 minutes to Reblitz in Nedensdorf, then 20 minutes back to Staffelstein, etc.
There's loads of variations; also remember that these walking times are for a (fellow) septuagenarian - young chaps will do it much quicker. And, in a car, you coluld include Trunk at Vierzenheiligen (avoiding Kloster unless forced into it), Metzgerei, etc..., etc...
It's a great area for beer travelling, nice scenery and mainly quite flat.
I would also recommend cycling but not if you fall off!
Great information, thanks, Barry! As (since January) an octogenarian, I will add 10 % to your walking times, but some of it should be doable. I'll add notes to my October planning sheet.
Congratulations Gunnar (or commiserations!). I can give you detailed instructions of where and how, as I've stayed several times in Ebensfeld and know the area pretty well.
Re Martin at Unterneuses, I can't remember now but did someone write that they had been there recently?
Their website is up and running and they claim selbstgebrautes Bier frisch vom Fass... Fwiw.
Re: Martin, Unterneuses:
Looks like they had stopped brewing for a few years and took beer from Hummel, Merkendorf, then started up again at the beginning of last year.
I can confirm they were brewing again last year and that the beer is fine.
Unless anything has happened since.
Thanks Jason. Can't beat an eye witness - maybe a mouth witness?
Hmmm, I think you’ve done ok Mark... but yeah he’s very impressionable. Charisma is one word but I’ve got others.
Yeah well I suppose I am being nice about it. Next time we're in Catwheezle late at night I might tell a different story.
I know this thread has gone off into all sorts of unrelated topics, but perhaps getting it to somewhere close to the original post.....
I watched the video. I don't understand German. One thing I found interesting is that I thought Mahrs doesn't brew wheat beers anymore, sourcing them from Gutmann. I noticed that a Herr Gutmann appeared in the video. My question: did the video explain that the weizenbock was brewed at Titting, and is it normal in Germany that a beer brewed in a different brewery should feature in a yearly event taking place at the tap of another brewery?
Mahrs replaced their own weizen with Gutmann's. However they still brew their own Fettagsweisse and the Weizenbock. The introduction of Gutmann is actually one of the positive developments as their weissbiers are excellent. So throughout the year if you order a weizen in Mahr it will be from Gutmann unless it's the Fettags or Bock.
Herr Gutmann was talking mainly about how they have a tasting each Friday at Gutmann featuring beers from other breweries and that the Mahrs bock would feature this week (their own Weizenbock is better, ironically).
To your question; as stated the bock isn't brewed in Titting afaik. Mahrs haven't used Gutmann to contract brew, they have merely taken their Weizen so they don't have to brew their own version themselves (just brewing lagers is much simpler). Hence it IS common is for the brewing of Weizen to be outsourced - Spezial weizen isn't brewed in Bamberg, though the malt used is malted at the brewery and then sent to another brewery to brew. Other small breweries often don't bother brewing a weizen (e.g. Hoelzlein) but they serve Weizen from another brewery (in Hoelzlein's case, Grasser) due to the popularity.
As i say, Weizen is complicated to brew, requiring a different yeast, malts and brewing procedure. This is why you have a number of Weissbier only breweries, e.g. Schneider, Wiehenstephan, Gutmann, Karg etc.
I believe that Reblitz in Nedensdorf brew their own Weizen as well as beers made from spelt and oats (?). Andy and self tried the spelt last year and weren't too impressed.
I don't know much about brewing Weizen but I understand that a thorough cleaning of the tuns is needed after and before barley beer is brewed in the same equipment, which puts off many small breweries.
Reblitz's weizen is excellent, I can't comment on the other grain varieties.
Remember that Weizen uses a % of wheat, usually 40-60%, the rest is barley in order to provide the enzymes for fermentation as wheat is does not lend itself to sugar conversion. The cleaning is one factor (irrespective which style it has to be done) but as you use an ale yeast it alters the process. Wheat is also very turbid so requires more hands on attention to ensure the mash doesn't clog up. It needs to be warm fermented as well which would mean some alterations I guess. The temperature of fermentation affects whether you get more banana flavour (c.72 degrees or above) or clove flavour (below c.72 degrees).
At the end of the day it's a speciality.
Dredged from the vast amounts of trivia residing in my brain...
Many of the larger German Wheat Beer breweries will filter out the fermentation yeast and bottle with a lager yeast -- for stability reasons we were told (Schneider is an exception). However, lager yeast by law can only be grown in wort that is 100% barley malt. If the wheat beer was an even 50/50 wheat/barley adding the lager yeast will tip this over to over 50% barley which is a no-no, so they will brew the original beer with 55% (or more) wheat so this doesn't happen.
Malted wheat does have enzymes and a 100% wheat mash in theory could work (though it would take longer for conversion). The problem is malted wheat has no husk and it is the barley husk that provides the main filter medium in a traditional lauter tun (some breweries use a plate filter mechanism instead but I don't know if any do in Germany). Wheat malt also makes for a gummier mash and too much wheat can make the mash "stick." Homebrewers got around the husk issue by using oat hulls but I don't think that would work on a commercial scale.
And BTW, Weihenstephan does brew some decent lagers (decent in the universe of German beers available in the US, not decent in the universe of Franconia beers)
Re Weihenstephan, that's true. But i'm fairly sure it's a recent phonmenom.
Thank you Jason for the detailed explanation, and others for their helpful comments.
Doing a bit of research, it seems Gutmann have at least two beers sold under their name that are not wheat beers (Spezial and Untergarig). They do not advertise them on their website. I wonder if Mahr's or some other brewery make them for Gutmann.
Seems a bit naughty to slap your name on a beer brewed at some other brewery, as seems to be the case with many of these wheat beers.
You're welcome. I would be cautious about saying "many of these wheat beers". It isn't uncommon but it's also not the norm.
I am 99% sure that Mahrs does not brew anything for Gutmann (which is roughly 4 x as big by output). Whether they are brewed elsewhere I'm not sure, but I wouldn't necessarily rule out it being brewed at Gutmann.
Cuckoo brewing is of course very popular these days outside of Germany... I'm not sure I'm too bothered as long as there is a logic behind it.
Interestly i heard yesterday from a local friend that Fassla have brewed a Kellerbier to an original Brauerei Doppel recipe for the Ahornskeller which they have recently taken over. Br. Doppel was a short lived brewery from the 60s from the same family that owned Kaiserwirt (bombed out and closed in 1945). I'm not sure of the connection to Ahornskeller which was connected to Brauerei Einhorn - perhaps the recipes aren't available. My friend said the recipe hasn't helped Fassla's usual standard so I have low expectations. Sums up the general attitude to Fassla beer among Bamberg's beer fraternity.
I thought Mahrs might be taking Gutmann beers in their outlets in exchange for having one or more of their lagers brewed in Bamberg. Besides the brewery tap, Ahornla im Sand get their weizens from Gutmann for instance, and Mahrs supplies that establishment.
Do you mean the Einhornskeller on Jakobsberg?
Yes but Ahornla has a choice to have Mahrs beer. It’s not a Mahrs establishment. Gutmann is popular in Bamberg, you can get it in a number of bars.
Theres only one ahornskeller, yes am jakobsberg. It was taken over by fassla recently, you used to be able to get Sonne beer there, so it’s a downgrade. The guy who runs in demanded fassla supply a kellerbier especially or he would shut. Reports are it looks suspiciously like the Lager.
There is a brewpub/micro (Modist Brewing) in Minneapolis with one of these "mash filters".
I talked to a worker a year ago, said it cost $1,000,000, and I'm sure it's much smaller and less expensive than a large brewery would need.
I don't see how a small operation can afford that.
In my few visits to Modist, the beer has been inconsistent.
Much as I admire Mark's wonderful homemade kit, I don't think that I've got time and space to emulate. So, I've been looking at ready-made systmes. So far, the Grainfather looks about the best and isn't so expensive.
Not got the time Barry? IMHO The Grain father looks grossly overpriced.its a Burco boiler plus some plastic pipe and twenty quids worth of gadgets.
I'm very happy with my Braumeister, Bavarian-built, but it was expensive! Ideal though if you want to recreate German-style beers.
Time, Andy, yes, reasonable amount day to day, I was more thinking of long-term! If you can tell me how to put a small-scale kit together with moderate ease, I'd be happy to learn.
John, yes, looked at the Braumeister - it's awful expensive; not sure if Franken type beers are my target, happy to brew ales - at the moment!
I will email with some ideas Barry.
it seems that she has tired of the Ruhrgebiet (no surprise there) and her man and is returning to bamberg.
Watch this space!
Ooer! Suppose that you'll be writing her references?
Mmm, good to hear.back to rude piss poor service then.
Yes... that’s something my friends an I had a laugh about yesterday. Double edged sword and all that!
Will she return to Spezial?
I’ve heard she will be tapping the beer. Which would be perfect. The best of helga without the slow service and occasional attitude. Herr Merz knows what’s what.
Thanks for that.
Where are the Hopfengarten beers brewed? They seem to have very eclectic range.
Keesmann... at least normally.
We leave early for our zoigl trip on friday 23third March. We wanna hit Seinsheim in their opening hours 16-20 But their website is not Updated. I mailed Them twice without any answer. Then I had Some feedback that worried me even more about them not wanna sell beer to foreigners and such. Anybody have in info on this?
Cheers and Thanks!
The opening hours are uptodate.
As for their message, I can kind of understand, if the reasons behind are what i believe they are (i.e.. I'm pretty sure it isn't some form of racial discrimination). It's a small village and the brewery open days are a community get together - everyone knows each other. They have very limited capacity and a lot of local customers so they cannot brew enough for their regulars. I had to order 6 bottles 1 month in advance.
So a group of 'foreigners' come wanting to buy beer to take away is not something they welcome. Just show up, drink a beer and move on, I'm pretty sure this will be fine.
Beer tourists are not always welcome, we should remember that. Some people have a view that they are 'helping' these breweries to survive by giving them custom - very noble, but not the case. Heckel closes Saturday evenings April-October because they don't want drunken groups coming in after tourng the local breweries for example. Big groups are discouraged because they disturb the ecosystem of the pub. Understandable.
Outside of Bamberg it's the locals that sustain the breweries, not inquisitive foreigners.
Truer words were never spoken on this forum than the second half of Jason's post.
Even in Bamberg it's the locals, up to a point
i completely understand that. I leave my hauling gene home. But from What you guys get out of the website they should be open friday 23th march?
yup... every Friday except the first Friday in the month. 16-20uhr.
Beer drinking yes. Revenue (food etc)... would be interesting to see.
Places like Klosterbrau and ambrausianum seem to rely exclusively on tourists. Of course I include German tourists / day trippers in that.
On my first visit to Brauerei Hölzlein in 2001-- arranged by Frank W when he had a car -- like any tourist I was talking pictures. I told Herr Hölzlein that if wanted to see them I would put them on the internet and give him (thru Frank) the address. He got quite upset (not really upset, you know what I mean). Paraphrasing, "Don't put me on the interenet. Then I'll get lots of tourists drinking my beer and I'll have to work harder so that my regulars can have beer. And my Mother won't be able to get a seat on Sunday afternoon." He was really mostly worried about tour buses but you get the idea.
I believe, the situation has hanged in some breweries in the last ten years and they try to get new customers and hold the volume of beer sales:
- We see a decline of beer sales in Germany, also in the most small breweries in Bamberg Country. The breweries have to fight for their sales.
The next generation of brewmasters is more open miind. p.e. Johannes Knoblach, Johann Hölzlein, Sigmund Brockhard jr. (Greifenklau etc.:
. The breweries see that they can sell their beers to Berlin, Italy etc. For some years it was for me a problem to ask the brewery Knbolach for their beers. Now the brewmsster visits beerfestivals in Rome etc. to offer his beers At the last "Bier & Wurst" in Barlin Stefan Zehendner (Mönchaambacher) has tapped his Lager on gravity. The Bamberger Hopfengarten (which ennobles beers from Keesmann) will have a stall at the next beerfestival "Festival der Bierkulturen" in Cologne. etc.
We will try our luck. Thanks guys!
Stopped by for a couple of beers after work at snowy Kaiser. As usual very good, pils and fest weizen. This brewery really has grown on me and is a favourite. If anyone is in bamberg on a Tuesday when Ruhetags bugger up plans try grasmannsdorf, mönchsambach, Burgebrach and debring (all by bus). The latter couple are nothing special but the Keller in burgebrach is very nice.
I also sampled the fastenbier in Schlenkerla yesterday. Well I had 5. It was superb. Obviously it only lasts for 40 days so not such a well known beer. Smoky, unfiltered and 5,5% (and of course gravity dispensed). That’s the extent of my tasting notes.
So, just going to run out the week before I arrive. That's tough.
Completely endorse Kaiser and Zehendner - cracking places and so easy to get to. Debring ok, nice place, beer average, and I haven't been to Burgebrach - yet. Sounds like a nice April outing.
Since the person who seemed to use it the most has left us for the bright lights of Los Vegas -- and I have to admit I have forgotten to use it the past few years -- I've removed it from the page. If anybody wants to start tweeting with the hash tag #FranconiaBeer let me know and I can resurect it.
That means the lovely picture of the chap holding a book will be forever lost from our view. Tragedy!
As many of you know, a rotating group of us have been going to Düsseldorf every year since 1998 for their October release of Sticke. Since 2000 we've been coming to Bamberg as well.
Anyway, this years schedule is posted at www.StickeWarriors.com -- I've also created a Facebook group for those inclined that way.
We'll be starting off in Prague (Oct 7 or so) then Bamberg (Oct 11-15), Düsseldorf (Oct 15-17) and Antwerp (Oct 17-22). If anybody is interested in meeting up along the way, just let me know.
The beer is to be brewed in Northamptonshire. The article doesn't seem to indicate whether it will be called Mahr's or something else.
‘I’m not sure if this beer will offer Franconian character or reflect it,’ says Michel. ‘The most important thing is to offer the British customer a great lagerbier. Mahr’s Bräu is loved all over the world – that’s the taste I want to bring to the UK.’
I did see the Mahrs U at a number of "modern" London pubs -- the Euston Tap, the Waterloo Tap (which are releated) for example. And I think I saw it at their sister pubs in Sheffield and York, so I guess it makes some sense. But I would sort of expected a tie in the Sierra Nevada or some US brewery -- a "Reverse Stone" so to speak -- as its a much farther difference.
Though maybe this is a Brexit thing -- does anybody know how that will effect beers from Germany? I could see there being a big increase in duties and having the beer brewed in the UK would get around this.
Or you could call it jumping on the band wagon, as there is any number of supposed German style lagers being brewed in the UK now. Presumably, in response to demand?
At least the supposed German-style lagers now being brewed in the UK don't pretend to be German. Remember Greenall Whitley's oh-so-wittily named Grünhalle Lager, Hofmeister, etc?
Oh but they do: my micropub sells lagers from Geipel, which is a brewery run by someone from the USA (I think?), who lives in Manchester and brews in Bala, North Wales. His most regular beers are called Pilsner, Hefeweizen, Dunkelweize, and two that really 'offend' me: Zoigl and the strange Zoiglator - there's a mixed message, if I ever saw one!
Now it entirely up to the proprietor what he brews and what he calls his beers - but who is he kidding? I'm sure if I tried I could find more examples from microbrewers.
I suppose he could point out that Hefeweizen and Dunkelweize describe the styles that he's brewing more accurately than any English translations. Pilsner, of course, despite its geographical identification, has long been accepted worldwide (for example, the authoritative Dutch dictionary Van Dale defines the use of Pilsener in Dutch as meaning "(1) a light [coloured] beer; (2) a glass of such beer", and the Czechs could have a go at the Germans for (mis)appropriating it. Mind you, I share and sympathise with your distaste for the hijacking of Zoigl, although who should feel more ashamed of themselves for this - the German commercial breweries who slap the label onto a bottle of cloudy beer, or the Americans who are doing an IPA on it?
But when all is said and done, how do his beers actually taste? The website suggests that his heart's in the right place: does he really need to label his beers "Hefeweizen-style" or some such? After all, he's not trying to pass his beers off as actually being produced in Germany, which was the case with the German-sounding names given to the "lagers" that I mentioned (a Gothic typeface was used in the advertising material, for example). The borrowing of words to describe styles (of all sorts of products) has been going on for as long as people of different cultures have traded with each other, and we all manage to understand the difference between a slab of industrially produced "Cheddar" cheese and one produced by an artisan who knows the herd of cows that produced the milk.
Any chance of a tasting report on the Geipel beers?
Worse than all this in my view was a trend that I hope has died a death in the UK microbrewing scene - such rubbish as 'cask' lager. What a load of nonsense that was. Sure the beer was often ok but the concept...
In terms of brewing German styles in the UK I have nothing against it so long as they are done properly. They do a generally pretty good job in the US so no reason why not, though their lager histoiry stretches back a long way. The Zoigl terminlology is a nonsense though; it's not a style of beer it's a brewing tradition that really cannot be exactly replicated outside of the Oberpfalz. Ignorence fueling more ignorence.
Finally, Mahr. I was in the pub last week for the first time in 8 months or so. Both the Helles and U were uninspiring shadows of their former selves. Perhaps Herr Michel should focus on getting them back to their best before looking farther afield. Of course, Bamberg is revered amoung beer drinkers who have been here but it remains relatively unknown to most of the drinking world so using the brand in the UK is somewhat optimistic in my view. I'm not fussed either way, good luck to them - it may turn out to be better than what we get here!
If you mean by cask lager, the key cask versions, no they're still around. Of the top of my head, Geipel use key cask but I can't remeber the others. If it's important, I could find out. Actually, I found the key cask idea quite good - as far as I can see, it's more or less a small-scale version of Tankovna or the system used by Roppelt (the once favourite of one of our more prolific contributors) and the Griesskeller - maybe others?
Don't have to repeat my oft repeated views on the Zoigl nonsense.
Oh dear Mahrs, the problem of inheritance, I'm afraid. How many businesses have I seen ruined by descendants? I wonder if Herr Michel has increased the profitability of the company by his policies?
I mean the brewing of ale (top fermented) and calling it a lager. Schiehallion by Harveistoun was an example - a good beer, but not a lager. Just using a lager yeast, European hops and a few weeks extra cooling does not make it a lager. Does Kolsch taste like an cask ale? No.
I'm not so fussed how they serve it - if they brewed a proper lager I would expect it to be colder than a real ale. The carbonation needs to be right too. It surely can't be cask conditioned either. It's just different.
Although I have been a strong critic, i think 'ruined' is a little too much. Ruined for me/us but others would be perfectly happy.
Yeah I think it's a long way from ruined. In fact, for all we know, the business is healthier than it has ever been. Although I do lament the loss of the gravity poured U. I just think it was something that made Mahrs even more special. So why give it up? Too bad.
I'm glad I'm bringing two Bamberg newbies with me on my trip in July. It will be interesting to see, without trying to influence them one way or the other, how much will like Mahrs and will compare them to the other breweries in town. I suspect they will like Mahrs a lot but I also suspect they will like Schlenkerla and Spezial better.
Of course I didn’t mean the business (nor did Barry) just the beer. Still a great pub.
I think the brewing side has gone down though, not just the dispense method. Good beers remain good beers on keg or even in the bottle, they are just elevated on gravity (normally). As always it depends on your preference.
But both the helles and U were average - and believe me I wanted them to be good, I wasn’t looking for fault. As a plus they have replaced their own weizen with Gutmann.. so there’s a positive.
It will be interesting with your newbs... thing is of course you might have a beautiful sunny afternoon in the Mahrs beer garden - who knows, and who really cares, if you’re on holiday you don’t tend to give many s****.
Well I know you didn't mean the business but Barry did say "How many businesses have I seen ruined by it's descendants." so that's kind of what I was replying to. Now I know Barry really is more talking about his dissapointment in the decline of a beer he used to truly enjoy. I think. But he may be right about the business as well. Time will tell. It just doesn't appear that way from the surface.
As far as the beer quality itself goes. I wish I could really tell the difference between the beer today and years ago. I admit I haven't had it often enough to be that tuned in. I haven't been there in about 2 years now but will go in July maintly because I want my friends to get the full Bamberg experience and well I'm curious myself.
Chaps, it was a kind off hand comment that referred to both the financial aspect and the 'quality' of the business. I've seen good, well-run businesses (good working conditions and also making a bit of money - not too much though!) destroyed by children who haven't a clue and no interest other than just asset stripping.
Re Mahrs: you've probably seen Gerhard's posting about Mahrs' tie up in the UK on FB, but, for those who haven't: [http://imbibe.com/news-articles/beers/from-bamberg-to-braybrooke-exclusive-story-of-this-years-most-interesting-new-beer/ ] will take you there.
Sure you'll like this:
Interesting where this thread has led.
On Zoigl, as Mr. Cowley says, it is too bad the Germans don’t sort themselves out on this. I wonder how many German drinkers know the difference between genuine Zoigl and the imposters. Has there ever been an initiative to define Zoigl properly and legally?
Cask lager. Don’t really understand the problem with this or why it should be a “load of nonsense”. If a beer is brewed with lager yeast at lower temperatures, then cold stored for a month or more, it is a lager. Certainly putting it into a cask to let it naturally develop a mild carbonation isn’t such a bad thing, if you like cask beer.
Frankly, I wish I had a brewery like Geipel around here. There is little decent lager about and the micros who do brew one seem to use Carling or Fosters as their model of excellence.
Just on Zoigl: yes, the Zoigl brewers of Eschawo, Neuhaus, etc.,etc., tried to get preferntial treatment for Zoigl but it was rejected on the grounds that is wasn't a different beer, i.e. one that was brewed to a different recipe ,etc., etc. Probably true, it is the tradition of Zoigl that is important, not the beer.
Because they didn't have the money to pursue this through the law courts, the decided to try to 'trade mark' the name 'Echte Zoigl'. Were they successful in the sense of protecting the concept? Probably no. But they are a bunch of small part-time business people, part-time brewers, in 5 different small towns, separated by quite a lot of kilometres, fighting against a lot of money. It just wasn't worth their while proceeding.
I could discuss this all day and all night but people on this Forum have heard it so often, they probably wish I'd go away - but someone has to do it!
If I said Lager yeast then that was my mistake. Ale yeast, warm fermented, European hops and cold stored (after warm fermentation). Then served on cask. Sorry but that’s an ale in my book.
On Zoigl, they have tried. Not sure who mr Cowley is but simply saying “the Germans (whomever they are) should sort themselves out on this” is a little simplistic. It’s hellish expensive and is a matter for the EU aa far as I’m aware. Anyhow the stipulations would be a nightmare.
Ah Mr. Cowley on our forum... sorry. Yes of course it would be great if Zoigl were protected. But Barry will explain why that isn’t possible. Despite efforts to do so.
Thank you very much barry for explaining the Zoigl situation.
Perhaps it is simplistic to expect this to be easily taken care of. Doing a bit of research, I looked in Steve Thomas' Good Beer Guide to Germany, written in 2006. He said that "Zoigl" was produced by about a dozen commercial breweries in Germany. A quick look at Ratebeer now shows many more German breweries using the name. The Wurth Brewery in Windischeschenbacher used to produce just two beers out of seven called Zoigl according to the GBGG. Now it seems all their beers are called Zoigl (including, most shamefully, a Zoigl Radler) and they have renamed their website wurth-zoigl.de. I guess it would be silly to expect them or others to stop using the Zoigl name without a huge fight.
Yes, he doesn't call his beers Hofmeister or any of the other ersatz German names but, I think that the uninformed would get the impression that s/he is drinking something German - but I suppose that's the idea. Actually, it's not a lot different from calling a beer IPA when it bears no relation to IPA. If you read this Forum regularly, I won't have to tell you about my views on so-called Zoigl!
I haven't drunk a lot of Geipel beer - I don't like Weizen, so they're out; I did try to Zoiglator and the Zoigl about a year ago and they were nothing like any of many different ypes of Zoigl that I've had (I reckon by now, I've had just about all the Echte Zoigl beers). Other than that and that I didn't particularly like them, I can't remember anything about them. Quite a few places around North Wales sell them, so I suppose they must have found a market.
In this special case (Mahrs U) the background is a friendshiip between Stephan Michwel and three english friends. It is not a strategic economic decision of the Mahrs Bräu, but "a little help for my friends".
Gerhard, it doesn't sound like that from herr Michel's publicity talk. Sounds like a full-scale activity. He seems to have a lot of brewing friends worldwide!
Do you know how the beer will be marketed? Under the Mahrs name? Braybrooke? Mahrs/Braybrooke collaboration?
The last few days have been unseasonably warm in southern Germany, 13 degrees i think in Oberfranken yesterday. Possitively balmy (or barmy, for January).
Although winter will return, the past few days have stirred up thoughts of Spring. Have I mentioned how rubbish the winter is here? Sure it's different for a while, but i'm over it now. On the flipside, it does make one appreciate the Spring... the smells and sound of nature, the symphony of glasses klinking and the gentle hum of contented drinkers from a nearby beer garden. The gradual warming of the sun...
Perhaps the arrival of spring will wake up the forum, where it's been pretty quiet without N... (ahem), in general. I don't have a huge amount my end admittedly. I have been mainly frequenting Spezi, Schlenkerla, Doerfleins and Rothenschild with the odd farther afield brewery thrown in. I nearly went into Faessla the other day (Barry), but our table in Spezi wasn't fully reserved so we stayed. In a beginner kind of way I'm becoming quite good at Schafkopf.
Spring is a lovely thought. Especially after this frigid winter we've had here. I actually found myself looking at Franconian bus schedules today out of boredom looking forward to bier keller hiking in July.
Ah well two more months of winter to go here. I've got a busy beer travel schedule lined up this year. I'm anxious to get on with it.
Ha, wow! Bus timetables?! :) Try google maps with the satelite images, you can rehearse the walk right up to the door of the brewery :)
If only Germany would allow that.
I have done that though for other countries. And actually it does come in handy for figuring out directions in places like Prague where it could be confusing. First time I drove into Prague I drove straight to the hotel though all the narrow confusing streets without having to use GPS. My friends were astonished. How did you do that? Well I practiced (virtually). It really is an amazing tool.
.... and for the record lest anyone think I'm nuts. I don't recommend driving into Prague. I don't do it myself except that one time years ago and that was mainly because we needed a car for other stops on our itinerary. I just take that bus from Nuremburg nowadays. It's very easy as you know Jason.
I've done that with a couple of bike tours -- taken to the next level: If you can convert your route to KML you can load it into Google Earth and it will "fly" along your route. In places where there are hi rez satelite images it will even try to make it 3-D.
What I did was use QuickTime (I'm a Mac guy) to record this flyover and make it into a video which was loaded on my iPad. Each morning we would do a quick review of that day's ride. It really helped in a couple of tricky spots where the maps were unclear.
Strongly recommend to visit Spezial now. There is some Bockbier on tap left from December, and the new U is on tap at the same time. Do not miss that constellation!
Indeed, I was in last night and indeed tried the bock. Losing it's smoke unusually, but still good.
The 'new' U? Been around many years now.
All getting a bit lyrical now - but why not. Lovely day here as well, I've just put out the washing!
That sulphury nose, amber colour, slight caramel, subtle hops, low carbonation... Discuss (25 marks).
(To follow: Dunkles is dark mild and Abt 12 is a Scotch ale.)
I have never smelled sulfur in Mahrs U (nor in Bass for that matter).
You would if you'd drunk cask conditioned Bass.
Ah. Can't say I ever had Bass from a cask.
It's ok Jim, had a pint last week but, like so many beers, it's changed greatly over the years. It's lost that great yeasty taste that U reminded me of. Of course, it's now brewed by Marston's but not in the Yorkshire squares.
It does beg the question what's in a name? You've got Young's, which is now 2 breweries away from its origin, Courage, I don't know how many breweries away, and you could go on and on. Surely a case could be made under the Trade Descriptions Act about ththe veracity of these names?
The original Draught Bass was brewed using the Burton Union system. Bass stopped using them, I believe, around 1980. Marston's took over brewing Bass, but don't use their Unions for anything except Pedigree, if I am not mistaken.
Not sure where Yorkshire squares fit into this at all.
With so many great beers around being brewed by the breweries which actually exist, I have never understood why there is so much concern about beers from breweries which are long dead.
I'm not sure anyone is particularly concerned... but these days there is very little scope for brand loyalty. Many of the breweries in the UK have been around for no more than 5-10 years. Bass would have been drunk by a lot of people in the 60s and 70s and I guess has a legendary status, even though it is no longer what it was (as I understand).
If (heaven forbid) in 30 years Spezial was bought out and production transfered and the brand abused as Bass was I imagine I would bore many younger people about the legendary spezial of yesteryear. Taste is one of the main triggers of memory of course, so it's not just the beer that people yearn for, but the memories and youth that come with it. It's not so simple as merely being a liquid that can be replaced.
But of course these days with an almost obsessive demand for variety and taste escalation, the liklehood of modern breweries' beers being remembered in 50 years' time is remote. When i think about the best British beers I don't think about many micros - in spite of some of their undounbted quality. I think of Bathams and Harveys.
Yes, I guess I can understand the nostalgia for these beers. It's just when the brewery has been closed for years and years and the beer changed beyond recognition that I don't understand the loyalty. Why not support actual breweries that exist rather than dying brands being milked by large corporations?
As far as recent breweries brands being remembered in 50 years all I can say is that probably some will and some won't. Some of the UK micros that started in the 70's and 80's are still around and rather popular. Think Crouch Vale, Nethergate, and Ringwood (now owned by Marston's but still brewed in Ringwood). One of the pubs in my village stocks Butcombe Bitter (1978). There are now quite a few breweries that started as micros and are now just as big or bigger than many of the old family firms.
I like both Bathams and Harveys, but even if I lived in the Black Country or the South Downs I wouldn't only drink those beers to the exclusion of newer ones.
Anyway, to each his own.
This is very interesting. First, apologies for getting Yorkshire Squares and Burton Union mixed up. Of Course, it's the Burton system that is used for Pedigree and for Pedigree alone. As an aside, I wonder why so many of the younger real ale enthusiasts turn their nose up at Pedigree? IMHO, it's still a good beer and one of the few that you can easily get bottle-conditioned (cheap as well, £1.27/500 mls in Lidl!). Yorkshire Squares are a related system of brewing used once upon a time widely in - Yorkshire!
I tend to agree about beers that have changed (see my last post) but there may be exceptions to the rule, as this article suggests (https://www.yorkshirepost.co.uk/news/analysis/video-can-you-tell-midlands-tetley-s-from-the-yorkshire-original-1-4596400). I've had the new Tetley's and it's quite good. I also drank the old version during my days in Leeds (1974 - 77) but I don't think that my taste memory can honestly tell me how the two compare.
Having now drunk a lot of the micros in the last 12 months, I can say that there is,generally, quite a difference between them and the older beers. I think that it mainly is due to the hops used. So many of the new breed of brewers have become infatuated with new world hops and in producing these crisp, citrussy beers - Golden ales and the like. Now, I quite like some of them but some are just bloody awful - really experimental brews that shouldn't have been let out of the brewery!
In the last few weeks, I've been going to a couple of pubs that tend towards the older breweries and, really, I prefer them. I'm sure that this is down to age and we tend to like those things that we remember from our youth. But, and I've said it before, there's nowt wrong with Fuggles and Goldings and with beers that are around 4%.
I think that the conclusion to this little discussion is variety. As Tom said, if i lived in Dudley i would drink a lot of Bathams but I would also want to try other beers, probably regularly.
It's another topic entirely but the problem comes when landlords do not cater for every taste. It's hard, especially with real ale and the challenges as a modern landlord, but having 5 hand pumps and 5 of them are dispensing pale, hoppy beers is not variety, and it's killing traditional styles (the same applies to strength, a good range is important). Again, it's a challenge ordering the beers, rotating them in the cellar and planning ahead, but the best landlords put the time and thought in.
It's interesting, I learned recently that historically German beers were weaker than today, around 4-4.5%. And Weizenbocks were a pitiful 5.3%-5.5%. From Ron Pattinson so, a reliable source. I recall (though I may be wrong) that it was down to lower attenuation (perhaps obviously), I'm guessing due to rudimentary brewing equipment. It would explain why the Czechs still brew low gravity beers and indeed that their premium strength beers are a few degrees lower than the German equivalent. But this is getting into science and serious beer history, niether of which i am qualified to speak of.
I think that you can take these things too far but...
If you go back in the Forum far enough (not advised), you can find my reaction to my first taste of Mahr's U - BA, mind you, not the dumbed down product that we get today. I was struck by how much it tasted like a pint of old-fashioned Burton-type bitter.
As to the other tastes/smells, I'd have to defer to my friend Jeff Romaines, as the real expert on such matters!
Göller in Drosendorf is now also closed on Tuesdays.
Unfortunately for me I found this out by standing in front of a closed pub, then it started to rain…
After all your received some liquid stuff.
I should say that the opening hours are updated on their (very modern and flashy) website.
Please (all) remember that books and the like are out of date as soon as they are published - always best to check the websites or better still call in advance.
Looking at their range of beers on the website, I don't see a rauchbier. I really enjoyed their rauch on a visit several years ago. I found their regular lager and dunkel to be quite bland.
I said it several times but I think that Goeller Drosendorf is a perfect example of a typical Franken brewery Gestaette. A reasonalbe selection of beer, nearly always good but not outstanding, moderately priced food and very hospitable. Not surprisingly, it is very popular for families.
A few years ago, brewing was taken over by Herr Goeller Senior's son (I'm not sure whether the Herr HGoeller that we knew is still alive bcause he was quite ill last time I met him). Since then, the beer range has been expanded quite a bit. As I recall, the Rauchbier was a seasonal special, brewed only around Easter.
I recall you mentioned you were in bamberg this week... if you see this and want to (and I understand if you don't), I would happily meet for a drink or two at a venue of your choice. Obviously I work during the day but I'm generally back in bamberg between 6-7.
I think I’ll probably be in Keesmann this evening (Tuesday), or I was thinking of checking out Kronprinz as I’ve never been there. Let me know if the latter is a bad idea!
I've been to Kronprinz once since it opened. I wouldn't warn you off but i wouldn't expect much.
Keesmann this evening sounds good. If you see this before let me know a time otherwise i'll probably be there around 7pm. I'm home office today though so can be flexible.
See you in Keesmann then, 7pm sounds fine. I’ll post on here again if I'm going to be late.
Don't worry about that, I'll settle in and grab a helles or two.
See you then.
Far wall opposite the door. Phone out. Pretty full in here.
Hi Barm, good to meet you both last night. Restaurant/Pub in Forchheim is called Voegelgassler:
Maybe see you in Schlenjerla on Friday.
I imagine it is extremely busy on a Friday night even in January, no?
Schlenk? No, extremely busy is full inside and outside (high summer). It’ll be ticking over, but I think finding seats will be possible.
Let me know if you wish to meet.
If you're going to be there anyway we might drop in. Heading to Eichhorn right now but as you know the last bus back from there is early.
Very nice to meet Jason (at last). None of us were terribly convinced by the Keesmann Bourbon Gold, a very sweet beer gaining vanilla notes from the bourbon cask, giving the impression that you are drinking vanilla fudge.
Checking up on zoigl dates and see that 30 march - 2nd April no place in Windisch. is listed as being open? I was there doing easter last year and both Roudn and one other place was open. Could it be that they havent decided yet or does it happen that no places at all is open during a weekend?
I'll check up for you.
It doesn't loom good on booking.com... and the owner had been ill in the last few years.
Hopefully it's just a technical error.
Found an article saying the owners want to sell he hotel as they are getting older. Also, the hotel website now leads to a page about a Gästehaus, run by the same family.
Well that's ther Oberpfaelzer Hof but you could try the Weisse Schwann or the Waldnaab in Neuhaus. Schoilmichel and Teicher are open in Neuhaus, also Zum Posterer in Eschawo (it's not a member of the Echte Zoigl team, so doesn't show on their website.
Oppl is open in Mitterteich and is excellent. Also Wolframsctube may be open, as they haven't published their Termine yet.
It doesn't look good for the Oberpfalzer Hof. It looked like a garage sale when I was there in October. The entrance hallway was filled with junk as it looked like they were in the process of emptying the place out.
It is sad to hear that the end might be near for Hotel Oberpfälzer Hof, but honestly the place has been in need of some rejuvenation for years. The couple of times I stayed there, I rarely saw other guests, even in the breakfast room. Let's hope someone takes it over and gives it some new life as it is one of only two hotels in Windischeschenbach.
Unfortunately, the story of the Hof is the story of Eschawo. It's a small town in the middle of nowhere: the porcelain factory closed down, the glass factory closed down. When I first went there, the Hauptstrasse was full of shops, now mostly gone. The last big shop was Dieter Weiss's shoe shop, went last year. Even the Norma supermarket has gone.
There's no future for the kids who all move to Regensburg or Muenchen. They have tried to exploit Zoigl but then dozens of ppeople have jumped on the bandwagon. Thus, the Echte Zoigl idea, which I have tried to help but, to be honest, apart from my friend Norbert Neugirg, they don't have much in the way of ideas. I mean why would you arrange it that no Stube is open at Easter?
Oh dear, it's not a happy picture.
Thanks a lot for the help guys. We arranged to visit 23-27 March (2 zoigl nights + 2 Bamberg/area nights) Beim Gloser, Schwoazhansl and Schafferhof (Last 2 are new to us all)
Found a cheap apartment in Windisch/nehaus - Gartenstrasse which I think was the only option during our stay.
So next million dollar question is: Which breweries should we stop by driving from Widisch to Bamberg (Been to Heckel).
Lots of good choices there.
Gradl in Leups
Schroll in Nankendorf
Held Brau in Oberrailsfeld
Herold in Buchenbach
just to name a few. If it were me Gradl in Leups would be priority 1 and maybe Pottenstein second.
Rarely I disagree with Mark but hey ho. Pottenstein is a lovely little town but in terms of beer I've never thought much about either (my experience). I would say the beer at Schroll, Held and Herold and Gradl is a lot better.
I've found the beer at Mager to be excellent and a nice little old school type place. Hufheisen is okay but not the reason to go there. Hey to each their own. I'd take Mager over Schroll based on our last visit there. Found the beer at Schroll to be a bit metallic and the place (which looks like it had been remodeled) to be a bit modern and sterile. Admittedly I've never been to Held but added it to my list because I've heard from folks like you that it was very good. Herold I liked a lot (even though as des. driver I only got a little taste) but it didn't seem better than Mager to me.
I might suggest Mads give Pottenstein a try as well as the other places. It is fairly convenient to get to coming from the Oberpfalz
Small correction on my last post: on first visit to Schroll (Nankendorf, not to be confused with the related and wonderful Schroll in Reckendorf) with Juergen, I liked the Dunkel (if that what it is) very much; the second time (with Mark), not quite so much. Re Pottenstein: I was mentally confusing it with somewhere else! No experience of Hufheisen but loved the beer in Mager (another visit with Herr Wening!); Pottenstein is also a lovely town in a beautiful area, well worth a visit!
Leups, Gradl, Held and Herold, absolute musts!
That makes sense. I would have been surprised if you didn't like Mager.
As usual, when you do things too quickly, you make mistakes! I was confusing it with Ebermannstadt and Schwanenbrau, which isn't my kind of at all, although I seem to recall (visit it long ago with Don and Cherie) that the beer was ok.
Haven't been o Schwanenbrau in 5 yrs but have stayed there several times. Beer was ok but hotel wa very nice, food was exccellent and I was treated well. Planning for a return.trip. If you have a car there are lots of excellent beer.
Just for the record, Barry and Mark: When we'll be in this stretch of land next time, Brauerei Stöckel, Hintergereuth, is also a must.
If that's an invitation, Jawohl! Looks great, I wonder why I've never been before?
Yes agreed!. We thought about visiting that one on the last trip through but didn't have a lot of time. Still we managed Gradl, Herold, Schroll in Nankendorf, Scharpf in Heilgersdorf, and finally Sesslach so all in all a great day. But yeah more time could be spent out that way.
Not sure whether I really want reminding of that day! Well, alright, it was great but could have done without the running for a train, oh, and nearly falling down, etc., etc.
Off topic: Mark, I went to Conwy on Wednesday for usual visit to Albion. When we got there, it was closed! But, don't despair, only for one day for 'essential maintenance', whatever that may be. Their sister pub, The Bridge, was also closed and, looking thorugh the window, it seems to have been totally gutted (believe it's going to re-open as a sort of burger bar/pub!). So, we spent the afternoon in The Bank of Conwy. Plenty of money has been spent on this job and it is quite nice but not especially pubby. Four real ales from local breweries, the Heavy Industries Diawl Bach (Little Devil) was nice at 3.8%. Typical modern US-type, with Amarillo, Cascade, Citrus and Columbus hops but well drinkable. I ignored the keg/craft pumps.
For a taste of a real pub, last night, I went to the Red Lion in Old Colwyn - put a note 'in your north Wales visit diary Thursday night, Red Lion' . Super proper pub, nice crowd but not crowded, eight real ales, mixed between old, established and micro's, all at £2.50/pint on Thursday. Perfect! Even better, as the landlord of the Cross Keys was playing pool and bought me a pint!
A trip to the Red Lion on Thursday sounds like a plan Barry. Does public transport back to Conwy run well into the night?
Actually disregard question. Just looked online and answer is yes.
It's not too bad. The last bus is the number 13 at 2302, which goes to Llandudno Junction. From there it's about a 15 minute walk (depending on how much you've drunk, of course) to Conwy. It's actually a lovely walk and is the way that I usually go, across the estuary of the River Conwy, past the Castle, etc.
If you search for Arriva Bus Wales, you can find details of all the buses, timetables, journey planner, etc.
I have stayed at Zum Waldnaabtal in Neuhaus a few years ago, it was very nice, and very close to the Neuhaus Zoigls. I little walk to Windish Zoigls, but not bad.
Of course, if you stay in Eschawo, you have the walk up to Neuhaus - but the esy walk downhill going home!
I like the walk between the two towns. It's a bit of exercise to burn of some of the beer calories and somewhat scenic to boot.
I heard from a friend yesterday that no one answers the phone at Oberpfälzer Hof and that their website is gone.
Any idea if it is possble to rent a cab from Windisch to Falkenberg?