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breweries Franconia pubs

Bamberg revisited

You don’t need us to tell you about the pubs in Bamberg. I’m sure you’ve all “been there, done that”, and if not, you’re planning to.

That said, I don’t think you could ever “do” Bamberg. If you stuck to just “doing” the brewery taps, you’d miss out on lovely cosy pubs and idyllic beer gardens in and around the town. Then there are all the pubs with brews from nearby villages, then day trips to places like Buttenheim, Forchheim, Eggolsheim… then the hundreds of pubs in surrounding villages.

We don’t want to bore you with all the beers we had in Bamberg this time round, but here are our top five drinking experiences, in no particular order.

1. Lunch at Griefenklau Greifenklau

You don’t hear much about Griefenklau Greifenklau – I don’t think I’ve seen their livery outside of their outlet on Laurentziplatz. We suspect the locals want to keep this one to themselves. It’s a fair hike up a hill, but definitely worth it, as the beer garden is beautiful, with great views across the wood to the Altenburg. It’s a very mixed crowd, from grandparents with children to business people. The beer is very fresh and satisfying. Possibly not the most complex in town, but with a garden like this, who cares?

A similarly beautiful spot is the Spezial Bier-Garten on Steinwartstrasse (listed in the Bavaria Lonely Planet guide). You can’t beat this place for the view across town, especially at twilight. The beer itself is very subtle –- you only notice the smoke flavour when it warms up a bit. And they don’t do the full range of Spezial beers — you need to go to the outlet on Obere Koenigstrasse for that.

2. Mahrs Brau Ungespundete

This was the first beer of the holiday that made our eyes pop out and caused us to make ‘mmmmm’ noises (perhaps we’re getting jaded?). It’s copper coloured and extremely fruity, with peaches, cherries, cloves and liquorice. There’s a good hop flavour as it goes down, which balances the roastiness and oakiness. They also do a lovely weizen, which is (without being advertised as such) a bit smoky.

3. Reacquainting ourselves with Schlenkerla

We’ve been drinking Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier Maerzen from bottles in London during the last year or two and, although we always enjoy it, it sometimes seems a bit one-dimensional. Not as fresh as it is from the tap, where the crazy smokiness is just one flavour beautifully balanced with a lot of others. We sat outside under a tree, listening to a university orchestra rehearsing in a nearby building, and sighed with contentment.

4. Discovering Keesmann Stern-la

Keesmann are another brewery we’d not heard much about. Their beers are on the commercial side — a bit ‘cleaner’, maybe — but we were very impressed by Stern-la. It’s an unfiltered lager but was very clear in the glass and a dark golden colour, with a lot of sweet malt flavour. We’d expected something as rubbish as, say, Ingolstadt’s Ingobrau and it’s always a treat to be pleasantly surprised.

5. Afternoon session at Klosterbrau

You know how much difference a pleasant waiter can make? Our waitress on the sunny afternoon we spent here was great. “Nice beer?” she asked with a smile as we swooned over the seasonal bock. “Yes!” we said. She smiled and looked delighted. “All is well with the world,” we said to each other several times. Although the bock might have had something to do with that, too.
Notes

As is usually the case, Ron‘s guide to Bamberg pubs is a great place to start researching your own crawls. Links have been included where appropriate, but neither Keesmann nor Griefenklau Greifenklau seem to have a homepage. UPDATED. Griefenklau don’t have a homepage but Greifenklau do.

10 replies on “Bamberg revisited”

That would also explain why I was unable to find the Greifenklau homepage, which is here, of course…

Nothing for Keesmann or Keesman though!

Hello, Treinjan. We had the Spezial U when we there a few years ago, I think, but we didn’t really know much about beer. We liked it — I do remember that! It wasn’t available this time round, though.

Am I wrong in thinking that Aecht Schlenkerla Helles is among the best of its kind? Sub-question: Did you drink any of that whilst in the area? I need to hit some beer stores here soon to see if it’s available yet.

“You don’t need us to tell you about the pubs in Bamberg. I’m sure you’ve all “been there, done that”, and if not, you’re planning to.”

Bloody hell, that’s a massive assumption! I find most people haven’t heard of Bamberg, let alone been there!

It’s interesting that you enjoyed Sternla, everyone raves about Herren Pils but I always go for the Sternla first, whenever I have tried them back to back the Sternla has always been the best IMO.

Only another month to go and I’ll be able to confirm this again, counting down the days! Hopefully Abseits will have the Hummel Kellerbier on draught when I’m there.

You should visit Hummel itself. By public transport it’s doable on weekdays only, otherwise you need a taxi, a bike or be prepared to walk a few kms.
On average they have something like 8 beers to try, half of them on tap; tap beers can be had in 0,25 litre. Very nice people, good food (and cheap!).

And about Keesmann: one of my favourite breweries in Bamberg, with a nice Pilsner, a great Lager (Sternla, yes), and a magnificent Bock. But maybe we should continue this topic on the Franconia Beerboard.

Eric – I’m not sure about this Helles – is this what’s referred to on their site as the Lagerbeer?

Didn’t notice it when we were there, to be honest, and no-one was drinking anything other than the usual Rauch Maerzen (we got an odd look for ordering a RauchWeizen!)

Andy / Treinjan – the Herren Pils was nice, but the Sternla was outstanding. We’ve got a few posts coming up on exploring the Franconian countryside, but didn’t go to Hummel. Next trip.

Stonch – I’d be willing to bet a cask of TT Landlord that there is no-one reading this blog who hasn’t heard of Bamberg!

Boak, that’s the exact one I’m referring to: crisp, balanced lager with a delicate twinge of smoke from their classic yeast strain. For some reason, I’m in love with that beer. Hearing of your travels gives me the urge to get back to Central Europe!

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