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Back in Time in Franconia - Part Two


Back in Time in Franconia, Part Two
Beer Travels June 26, 2003      
Written by bierkoning


La Tropica, NETHERLANDS -



<P>Some weeks ago I travelled for the third time to Franconia, the part of Bavaria that is covered with hills, woods, small villages, petty farmers and especially, breweries. My almost-non-beerdrinking wife and I visited some 50 breweries in three days, all within a range of some 30 or 40 miles from Bamberg. By car, so sadly not all beers could be tasted. Let's pick up some highlights…</P>

<P>Brauerei Dremel in Wattendorf was such a very small brewery in a village only some miles away from Staffelstein. The brewery tap was closed, but the brewer noticed us and asked what we wanted. He couldn't sell us bottles, because he didn't bottle anymore for years, but maybe he could help. Within minutes he appeared with two small glasses with his Helles and his Dunkles. Samples, with his compliments… I took a few sips of his tasty and aromatic beers and excused myself, because I wasn't able to drink all of it, being the driver. </P>

<P>That night we slept in Pottenstein. A village surrounded by high hilltops, and a Hauptstrasse (Main Street) scattered with pubs, small hotels, bakeries, Imbisse (small diners) and off course, three breweries. Hufeisen is probably the best of them: tasty and clean beers. The second is Mager, with IMO rather mediocre beers, but still worth a tasting. Wagnerbräu has closed some years ago, but has recently been taken over by a local entrepreneur and was already active again, with the help of St Georgen Brewery in Buttenheim. Sadly, the breweries and most pubs closed early.</P>

<P>Brewers can react very differently when I ask for some bottles to take away. Brauerei Alt in Dietzhof simply refused to sell his bottled beer. I had to buy a whole case or nothing. Brauerei Roppelt in nearby Stiebarlimbach was very friendly. The young brewer took a bottle of his only beer from the cellar and didn't want any money for it.</P>

<P>After a steep downhill we reached Aisch, close to the highway to Nürnberg. We decided to take lunch in the local brewpub, Brauerei Rittmayer. The Käseplatte (cheese dish) was excellent, just as the small glass I had from the local beer. </P>

<P>A very pleasant surprise was Brauerei Fischer in Greuth. A small brewery in a tiny village (probably not more than 300 inhabitants or so). The brewer's wife gladly sold me the beers. Especially the Fischer Rauchbier appeared to be a classic. Softer than the Bamberg Rauchbiers, it was an explosion of smokiness and creaminess in the mouth. Also the other beers are worth a try.</P>

<P>We stopped at Brauerei Zehendner in Mönchsambach. It was hot, so the small glass of the tasty and aromatic Helles was very welcome. The brewery was full of activity. Many locals parked their cars en collected their crates of beer.</P>

<P>We spend the night in nearby Schlüsselfeld, a small town with a lively market square. We found a place to sleep and enjoyed our meal in the warm evening sun with a few beers from Brauerei Zum Adler. The sweetish, malty Helles complimented the Nürnberg sausages dish excellently.</P>

<P>The next day we visited Seelmann Bräu in Zettmannsdorf. A very small brewery with a large campingsite adjoining. The talkative father of the brewer showed me the camping, explained everything about his aromatic Helles en even gave me a copy of an article in the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (German quality newspaper), where the brewery was featured. Although it was still early in the morning, I couldn't refuse a small glass of his beer.</P>

<P>Another lovely small brewery was Brauerei Bräutigam in Weissbrunn. Its single product, a beer that was called a pilsener, but tasted and looked like a Kellerbier, was served straight from cask in Steinkrüge (stone jugs).The brewer had some time left and talked with us about his brewery and his beer. He gave me some labels that were misprints.</P>
<P>Last brewery on the trip was the Lamm Brauerei in the small town of Eltmann. The brewery was right on the monumental Market Square, in the shadow of the town hall and the church. I wanted to take some beers from the brewery but the brewer warned me. He had a Hochzeitsbier (Marriage Beer) that was not for sale, because it was reserved for the guests of his daughter's wedding. I wouldn't miss a beer, because the Hochzeitsbier just was his own Weissbier. But suddenly he changed his mind and I was allowed to take one bottle home. </P>

<P>It was a most enjoyable three days trip, but it was sad to see that so many breweries have disappeared in more recent years. The only thing to do was just take a picture. We will never be able any more to taste the beers of Hetzel in Stublang, Wehrfritz and Lehneis breweries in Muggendorf, Pöhlmann in Hundshaupten, Finster in Burghaslach, Zur Post in Unterneuses, Herrmann and Werner both in Ampferbach, Ibel in Kappel, Zum Löwen in Burgwindheim, Burgbräu in Lisberg, Schlossbrauerei in Trabelsdorf and many others. </P>
<P>No doubt many more closures will follow in the coming years. So if you visit Franconia, don't wait too long and don't stay in Bamberg alone. Visit the countryside and you will be pleasantly surprised!</P>

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start quote The brewer's wife gladly sold me the beers. Especially the Fischer Rauchbier appeared to be a classic. Softer than the Bamberg rauchbiers, it was an explosion of smokiness and creaminess in the mouth. end quote