To be absolutely precise, I didn't start off the the Mönchsambacher Weihnachtsbock, I first had the Brauerei Beck (Trabelsdorf) "Zoigl" -- the "Zoigl" is in quotes because a true Zoigl is brewed a communal brewery and then fermented and aged at the gasthaus. This beer was brewed in the style of the famous Zoigl breweries of the Oberpfalz. Nice and hoppy but not overbalanced. If German brewers made an IPA it might taste like this.
Now for the bockbier -- it is probably the last keg of Brauerei Zehender's Christmas bock. I had mentioned once to Gerhardt that I had never had it on draft. It is released Decemeber 1 and in my two trips to Bamberg in December it had be sold out or not yet available at Cafe Abseits where I was there. So Gerhardt got the keg along with his usual supply of Mönchsambacher Maibock and put it on when he heard I was coming to town. Thank you, Gerhardt!
After these two beers it was off to the bike path down the Regnitz. I have a mathematics background and come from a mathematical family so I often describe things in those terms. Today's problem is one of optimization: What is the optimal distance between breweries along a bike path, giving the object is to actually get somewhere. If the are no breweries and very few, then the ride is not that interesting and I could have stayed home and ridden along the beach bike path. But breweries too close together is also a problem as you are constantly stopping and you never get a chance to really sober up between stops. They are probably a bit too close on this path.
The first stop was Brauerei Kraus in Hirschaid. That was described in the previous post. The next stop was Buttenheim where there are two breweries, St. Georgen and Löwenbräu. The St Georgen is the larger of the two and beer is readily available in Bamberg (and even sometimes in LA in bottles) and I think Löwenbräu is the better of the two anyway, so that was my choice. They are right next door to each other, by the way.
Friday at Löwenbräu
Next stop was Eggolsheim home of Brauerei Schwarzes Kreuz (the "Black Cross"). They didn't have any outside seating at the brewery pub -- which was empty probably because everybody was at the bierkeller on the edge of town. Unfortunately, I had only been there by car and I didn't want to waste time looking for it, so inside I went.
Schwarzes Kreuz Lagerbier
As is typical of many village brewery pubs, the decore hasn't been changed in decades. That is part of the charm of places like this. There was one other customer, an elderly man reading the newspaper as he drank his beer.
Friday in front of Schwarzes Kreuz, Eggolsheim
Next stop was the town (city really) of Forchheim, home to four breweries, of which I visted two.
The first stop was Brauerei Neder. I have been to Forchheim many times, but each time I was in the town center (as opposed to the great collection of beer kellers on the edge of town called the Kellerwald) Neder was closed, either because of a regular rest day or for vacation or once even they were renovating. So this was the first I had actually walked in the door. Then after I got my beer I walked back out and sat down outside.
Brauerei Neder Lagerbier
Friday at Brauerei Neder, Forchheim
The next stop was two doors down at Brauerei Hebendanz. Yes, I walked my bike, I didn't ride. Definately suboptimal brewery placement, with respect to bike riding.
Brauerei Hebendanz, Helles Exportbier
You see the value of a stoneware mug ("krug" here -- we might say "stein") -- by the time I was halfway thru the beer was definately starting to get lightstruck -- "skunked." No so much to make it undrinkable but noticeble nevertheless.
Friday at Brauerei Hebendanz, Forchheim
There used to be a tap room of another brewery about 3 doors further down, Brauerei Greif but they recently sold it to a developer who will turn it into a shop and apartments. So you have to visit the actual brewery, which is not in the city center.
By now it was 6pm or so and rather than ride back I decided to be lazy and take the train. On they way back to my apartment from the train station I passed by Fässla again so I decided to stop in for dinner and a beer.
So the final tally: rode 30 miles, visited 6 breweries, one beer pub. Rode past another 5 (Spezial, Mahrs and Keesemann in Bamberg, St. Georgen in Buttenhein, Eichhorn in Forchheim). Not a bad first day.