Franconian beer and wine: surprisingly similar

A glass of wine in a beer garden in Franconia

Wüerzburg is a city which is not only blessed with wonderful beer gardens, but also highly regarded vineyards. Wherever you are in the city you can see them covering the steep hills all around.

Perhaps not surprisingly, then, when you’re in a beer garden, you’re almost as likely to see someone drinking the acclaimed local wine as you are to see them with a beer.

Although we’re not especially interested in wine, we certainly don’t dislike it, or subscribe to the view that you need to choose sides in an imaginary battle between beer and wine. So we decided to give it a go.

We tried white wines made with a couple of different varieties of grape (Riesling and Silvaner) and (bearing in mind we’re no experts) found them sweeter and more acid than we’re used to. We also began to notice that they really were floral and fruity. Elderflower, strawberry — all those flavours you hear wine critics banging on about really were there.

And, guess what? Those fruity flavours are also in the local beers. Do the very pale pilsners from Würzburger Hofbräu, Distelhäuser and Oechnser taste similar to the local wines because of the water? Because of the soil in which the grapes, barley and hops are grown? Maybe they just reflect a preference among the core market for these products — the local drinkers.

2 thoughts on “Franconian beer and wine: surprisingly similar”

  1. Würzburg is a lovely city. One of the few places I’d go to a weinstube rather than a biergarten, if only because the Juliusspital and Bürgerspital are such great places.

    And I certainly agree on the wine. Frankenwein is dangerously drinkable, although perhaps less complex than many of the alternatives.

    If you’re still in Würzburg I’d make an effort to try both the schwarzbier and the doppelbock from Würzburger Hofbräu. It’s almost four years since I tried them last, but I remember both as excellent.

    (I’ll pass on the beer/wine similarity question. I have no idea.)

  2. Lars — sadly, we’re back in the UK. We did try the Schwarzbier (very nice indeed) but didn’t see the doppelbock on sale anywhere. The cloudy lager (can’t remember if they call it a zwickl or a kellerbier or whatever) was nice, too, although rather sweet and bland compared to the exciting pils.

    We’ll try the two places you mention next time we’re in town.

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