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John's Top Seven Picks
John Conen has been a member of Britain's Campaign for Real Ale (CAMRA) for over 25 years, but also maintains a strong interest in the traditional beers of Germany. He has been visiting Bamberg for nearly twenty years and has written a number of editions of his guide to the beers and breweries of the region. A new edition will be published in early in 2003. You can find his guide to Bamberg here. John has given us his seven favorite Franconian Beers.
Felsenkeller from Brauerei Hartmann in Würgau is a most unusual beer for this area, let alone Germany. It is brewed with Whisky malt and has a very smokey aroma and a dry finish.
Huppendorfer Dunkel from Brauerei Grasser in Huppendorf, in the chalk landscape of "Franconian Switzerland." This medium dark beer is crisp and hoppy, with plenty of malt and a dry finish. 5% ABV.
Mönchsambacher Lager from Brauerei Zehendner in Mönchsambach is a good example of the beers of the Steigerwald region (sandstone) and is a complete contrast to the Huppendorfer beer. Soft brewing water may be one reason but this is also unfiltered and has lots of residual malt sweetness balanced by very generous hopping. A real mouthful! 5.5% ABV
Schlenkerla Rauchbier. from Brauerei Heller-Trum (but most people know it as Schlenkerela) in Bamberg. Ignore people who knock this beer by saying it's tourist beer or claim that the locals don't like it - it's brilliant and I find it surprisingly refreshing on a hot day.
Kellerbier from Brauerei Müller in Reundorf. The Schmausenkeller is a wonderful Keller (beergarden) a mile or so from the village of Reundorf, south of Bamberg. Here the beer is still lagered in hillside caves just as it has been for centuries - this is probably the only local brewery that still does this. Like the Mönsambacher beer the Müller Kellerbier is packed with hops and costs only 1.50 Euros a half-litre!
Heinrichsbier from Mahrs Bräu in Bamberg. Mahrs did well with this commemorative brew to celebrate the 1000th anniversary of the crowning of Bamberg's founder, emperor Heinrich and his queen Kunigunde. A great spicy lagerbier as only Franconian brewers can brew.
Maisel Kellerbier. Brauerei
Maisel in Bamberg. This brewery tap is a bit out of the way in Bamberg's
industrial area north of the railway, but it is well worth a visit, particularly
in fine weather when you can enjoy the garden, good Kellerbier and reasonably
priced good-quality food.
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