Sunday, May 30, 2010

Bamberg Day Eight

Some pictures for now... words later.

Eichhorn, Dörfleins Lagerbier


Eichhorn is also known as Brauerei Schwarzer Adler


Lagerbier, Brauerei Sippel, Banuach


Friday only had a sip here


Brauerei Fischer, Freudeneck Lagerbier. Note the cool wooden bierdeckel

Friday creating a bottleneck at Fischer, Freudeneck


Wagner Kemmern Pils


Wagner Kemmern Schwarzbier



Taking a pitcher home by bike.


Friday in front of the new brauhaus


Robesbierre


Spezial Lagerbier

Sunset at Spezial Keller


More Mönchsambacher Export.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Bamberg Day Seven

The day was supposed to be cloudy and chance of some sprinkles, so I decided to go for a ride. I hadn't been west yet, so I decided to head for Stettfeld for lunch and then go on to Zeil or even Hassfurt.

I got a bit of a late start, so I stopped in Bischberg at Brauerei zur Sonne for a "freshener."

It may have been me with the first beer of the day, but it didn't taste as crisp as it usually does. But it was still good to the last drop...

Friday getting some Sonne

On the way you pass Braierei Mainlust in Vireth (whose beers I generally don't care much for) and a short detour up the hill will take you to Brauerei Kundmüller in Weiher (whose beers I like very much) but I passed both of them by. I probably should have stopped because a couple km outside of Staffelbach (home of Brauerei Hartlein and the last village before Stettfeld) the heavens opened up and I got drenched. I managed to duck under an overpass and get my jacket and rain cover for my helmet. Then I continued on where I found (as I expected) a closed Brauerei Hartlein. It doesn't open until 5pm but I had hoped that somebody would be around so I could at least wait inside. No joy.

So I went on the Stettfeld (about 4 km) and got thoroughly soaked. Just as I pulled in the Stettfeld the rain let up and by the time I got to Adler-Bräu it had pretty much ended. I stopped and checked the front door -- it was locked. Oh noes! After a hour or two of panic (actually about 10 seconds) I went around the side and saw their biergarten was open. So in I went.

There was nobody at the serving window so I check the lunch menu while I waited. My (and many others) tradition dish here is "Schinken mit Ei" -- with literally translated is "Ham with Egg" -- sort of scrambled eggs with ham mixed in. But it wasn't on the menu. Oh noes! The nice young lady who runs the place during the week came out of the main building and asked what I wanted. I ordered a beer and ask if I could have Schinken-mit-Ei. Of course, she said and asked if my father was with me this time (he was the last two times I was here). I told her I was alone but my father would come in August. I don't think they remember us so much as the bikes -- they are distinctive.

The beer came, then the food and all was right with the world, except I was still outside and not inside were it was warm.

Schwarzer Alder Pils (you'll have to take my word for it)

A wonderful lunch


A picture of the biergarten (technically the "Brauereihof")


Friday at Adler-Bräu, Stettfeld

The next town is Ebelsbach, which used to have two breweries -- and still has two buildings labeled "Brauerei" but both no longer brew themselves. The weather still looked a bit threatening so I decide to play it safe (and wimp out) and take the train back to Bamberg. While waiting for the train the sun actually peeked out and I almost changed my mind but common sense prevailed and I went home.

When I got back to the apartment (and got warm and dry) it was still early so I went down to Schlenkerla for a pick me up. I was just having my first sip when the four guys from yesterday showed up, looking as if they too got caught in the rain. They joined me at my (standing) table and went to get beers. It is always fun to watch people take their first sip of Schlenkerla. Often you see a big frown, usually its a confused look ("is this beer?") and then either a smile or frown. Occasionally you get a big grin right from the start. I got three grins and a frown which is much better than average.

After a few beers it was time for some food. I was headed to Klosterbräu but they had lunched there and so we parted ways. I'm sure they'll be back to Bamberg again.

The flagship beer at Klosterbräu is their Braunbier -- it has been up and down in quality the past few years but it was on today.


Klosterbräu Braunbier

Dinner was a schnitzel with Spargel (while asparagus) and a Maibock for desert. The first time I had the Klosterbräu Maibock was back in 2002. It was very tasty and over 7% alcohol but well hidden -- this makes for a dangerous combination. This years edition was good, but not up to standards of that first one.


Klosterbräu Maibock

It was not yet dark (about 9pm) so I decided to walk up the hill (Stephansberg) to Stöhrenkeller and see what beers they had tonight. It turns out to be Mönschambacher Export, a beer I've never had on draft before. So I had a couple, just for research purposes, mind you. I still like the Lager more, but this was nice and well worth having.


Mönchsambacher Export

By now it was past 11pm and time to call it a night. Tomorrow is supposed to be the last day without rain while I'm here, so a bike ride is in order.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Bamberg Day Six

This was really an rest day as far as bicycling (not for beer, though). I had laundry to do, errands to run and even a little work for a client back home.

I stopped for a bowl of soup and a beer at Spezial and met a group of men (one each from Scotland, England, New Zealand and the US) who had come to Germany to visit the Erlanger Bergkirchweih (sort of Erlangen's version of the Oktoberfest). They had decided to come up to Bamberg to see what the beer was like. I gave them some pointers and directions and went off to finish my errands.

When all was done, I decided to go to Mahrs Bräu for dinner and a beer or three. I ran into the same group and they invited me to join them. This was their third brewery (Spezial, Fässla and Mahrs) and they were already in love. The decided to come back the next day to visit the breweries they missed.

The pub Mondschein is about half a block from my apartment and they have daily specials. The Thursday special was "Landbier" for €1.70 -- I felt I needed to check this out. It turned out to be "Veldensteiner Landbier" which is brewed by Brauerei Kaiser in Neuhaus an der Pegnitz. This is a large, industrial brewery that brews some very bland beers -- but they do some that while are not world class examples of the style, are decent. The Landbier is one of those (See here). A little too much caramel sweetness in the finish for me, but an OK beer -- especially at €1.70 for a half liter. A heads up, though -- Mondschein is a smokers bar so get there early (and in good weather when the windows are open) because it does get very smokey.

I wasn't quite ready to call it a night so I walked down to Der Pelikan for a nightcap of Huppendorfer Vollbier. Sorry, no pictures -- I'll do better tomorrow.

Update: I had forgotten that I did take a picture of a Mahr U:

Mahrs U

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bamberg Day Five

It was a rainy day, so I just did a short ride out to Merkendorf and back. Only to find out both breweries were closed (welcome to Franconia). Yes, I could have called but I wanted to ride anyway. Stopped at Drei-Kronen in Memmelsdorf on the way out and Göller in Drosendorf on the way back.

I got thoroughly soaked -- I expected to get wet as the jacket I had is really just a wind jacket but I have used it in light rain before. But it soaked thru much more quickly than I expected in a steady (but not downpour) rain. The good news is my new fenders worked fine and the merino wool t-shirt I wore underneath kept me warm even though it got pretty damp.

The first stop was for lunch at Drei-Kronen Mememlsdorf. First beer was the Lagerbier and it was as it every was.

Drei Kronen Lagerbier

Herr Straub (the owner/brewer) and we talked for a bit. I noticed there beer he used to call "Hefe-Pils" was now "Keller-Pils" -- he said he had made it less bitter at the request of his customers and also switched to Saphir hops -- which he very much liked. I actually found the beer a bit more bitter than I remembered, but my tastebuds could still be hung over from the night before.

Drei Kronen Keller Pils
I continued on to Merkendorf where Hummel was closed as they prepared for the opening of their keller next week and Wagner just had a hand written sign that said "Heute Ruhetag" (Rest Day, today). When the week starts out with a holiday many places change their rest days, e.g. if normally closed on Mondays but it is a holiday they will open and close Tuesday instead. But sometimes just to keep people hopping they mix it up. Oh well, another time.

On the way from Memmelsdorf to Merkendorf you pass thru Drosendorf, home to Brauerei Göller. This sometimes gets a pass from me if both Merkendorf breweries are open as I usually like their beer better. Göller is more variable, as well. This time they had a Jubeläumsbier ("Anniversary Beer") in honor of the 25th year of thier biergarten. It was €2.50 for a liter (or €1.90 for a half) which should have told me something. I went for the half and to be honest it was just to yeasty and "unfinished" -- but not in a good way (I often like youngish beer). A half liter was enough.


Göller Jubeläumsbier

I got even more soaked on the ride back to Bamberg, so I decided to reward myself with dinner at Spezial. It was crowded as the courtyard was closed and only half of the back room was open. The table I chose was reserved for 8pm so that gave me an endtime -- often important at Spezial -- especially when you are not staying upstairs and have to navigate home.


My friend and landlord Frank came by as I was finishing dinner and we had a couple more beers. When the folks who had reserved the table showed up we went across the street for "one last beer" at Fässla. Since I hadn't had the Lager in a while I ordered one. It was OK but I really like the Pils better. It is funny because 5 years ago it was the other way around. There was a patch where the Lager had too much diacetyl and I switched to the Pils and now even though the diacetyl problem is gone, I've stayed.

Fässla Pils and Lager

Frank had also ridden his bike so we rode home together. Where his street (Schrottenberggasse) meets Sandstrasse is the newly reopened Blaue Glocke. They serve the beer from Brauerei Fischer in Freudeneck -- always a nice choice. So of course, we decided to have one more last beer.

I had only been the courtyard before not in the pub itself. The interior was very nice lots of dark old wood but the light fixures were pure 50's art. A great combination.

The beer was a little disappointing and we attributed that to maybe cleaning problem's in the pub's line, but it didn't stop us from drinking it -- or having a Schnitt.

As a coincidence, when I got home and checked my email I had a message from Georg in Coburg who had said Fischer had had some problems recently and the beer was a little off. So maybe it wasn't the lines after all. More research is needed.

Fischer Freudeneck at the Blaue Glocke

Bamberg Day Four

Not a good day on some levels but a great day on others. Spent 2.5 hours at the bike show while they worked on my tightening headset. The also adjusted my breaks which left them dragging a bit (both front and back) so riding was much harder. But I had some great beers.

It turns out that last week Menno Olivier -- the owner and head brewer of Brouwerij De Molen was in Bamberg last week (he actually stayed at the same apartment where I am staying). Also in town that week was Hå-Ge Wiktorsson -- the head brewer of the small Swedish brewery Kulturbryggeri Närke. They both went out to Trablesdorf (10 miles from Bamberg) -- Brauerei Beck to brew a tri-national beer called "Elevator." Andreas "Andy" Gänstaller, the brewer at Beck, is a long time friend and he invited me out to to the brewery Tuesday night. Not only did he have samples of his new bock "Quator" -- named because it's starting gravity is 25 Plato and is brewed with four malts-- as well as Affumicator (9.5% Smoked Bock) and Elevator fresh from the secondary -- at 9 days old. And oh, by the way, we have to drink these dozen or so beers given to me by Menno and Hå-Ge...

If you listed all the places in the world where there was a De Molen/Närke tasting would take place, the village (population maybe 500) of Trablesdorf would not have made the top 500 names.

More later, now just some pictures.
















Monday, May 24, 2010

Bamberg Day Three (Updated)

My plan for the day was to do more riding and stop a less breweries. I only stopped at one brewery along the way (plus one in Bamberg for dinner on the way home) but I was thwarted by four bierkellers as well.

Along the bike path just outside of Pettstadt is a small keller that had been recommended to me, but I had never been to as they normally open at 3pm and when I'm on my bike it's usually earlier than that. But today was a holiday (Whitsun) so they openned at 10:00am. It was about 10:45 when I went by, so why not have a beer, what could it hurt.


All set up to serve beer

The beer they serve is Löwenbräu Buttenheim Kellerbier. which is one of my favorites.

First beer of the morning

By the time I left it was starting to fill up with cyclists.


Just south of Pettstadt is one of the great experiences of cycling around here -- the Pettstadt Bike Ferry. Every day from April thru October the ferry runs carring bikes across the Regnitz. It costs €1 (50 Euro cents for pedestrians). There are no motors at all -- just a little bit of muscle from the ferryman and the flow of the river and various pivot points.

Pettstadt Ferry

Friday on the Ferry

The ferryman at work


Once across the Regnitz and the Main-Danube canal, I continued southward. I passed the breweries in Hirschaid, Buttenheim and Eggolsheim I had visited on Saturday. Suddenly a waypoint came into view on my GPS -- Witzgall Keller outside of Schlammersdorf. Norminally this keller is only open on Sundays and it is the only place you can drink the draft Witzgall Landbier. Well most places that are open Sundays are also open on holidays so I thought it worth a small detour. As I went by there was sadly no signs of life. I continued down the road to the village of Schlammersdorf and stopped at the brewery. They told me the keller would open at 2pm (1 1/2 hours from now) but they were closing to move to the keller but they had time to serve me a beer. I couldn't pass that up, so I had a glass of Witzgall Vollbier.

Vollbier from Brauerei Witzgall, Schlammersdorf.


Friday in from the Brauerei Witzgall

Now was decision time -- to continue down the canal bike path as I'd planned or hang around until 2pm and stop back it the Witzgall keller. I decided to continue on to Hallerndorf which has two nice breweries (Lieberth and Rittmayer) both of which have nice kellers in the village. I would get somethig to eat and then head back to the Witzgall Keller. Just before Hallerndorf my mobile phone rings. I pull over and answer and its Jürgen, a friend who lives near Ansbach. He and his wife and son were out visiting kellers. We decided to meet at Roppelts Keller in Stiebarlimbach, which was not far from Hallerndorf.

So I stoppet at Lieberth's Dorfkeller for some bratwurst and beer.

Leiberth Kellerbier

A view of the keller. It was still early (1pm) but it filled up while I was there.

Friday out in front of the keller

A bit later I pulled into Roppelts Keller, got a beer and found an empty table. About half way thru the beer Jürgen and family showed up. They were eating, so I had another beer to be sociable.

Roppelt Kellerbier, Stiebarlimbach

Jürgen was telling me of this great keller not too far away by car that served the beers from Baruerei Prechtel of Uehlfeld. He would bring me back afterwards to so I could ride home. I asked if it would be easier to bring the bike and he said yes, but they had only a small car. Not to worry, Friday is very flexible. So we packed up and went to Voggendorf.


How Friday traveled to Voggendorf

This was a more tradition keller, on the top of a hill, You could see the indivual cellars dug into
the side of the hill.

Voggendorfer Kellerberg.

Prechtel Kellerbier

Jürgen warned me the beer had an unusual flavor and that one needed to drink two -- the second one would be much better. He was right. There was a flowery note to the finish but it wasn't the kind that comes from hops. I could see how this would be a beer you either loved or hated.
Even the dogs were relaxed at the Viggendorfer Kellerberg

The Voggendorfer Keller

Jürgen's son Max was getting bored (as any 7 year would) so they decided to take me back towards Bamberg so I could ride home. On the way, we passed the Schwarzes Kreuz Keller in Eggolsheim, so we stopped for one last beer.



The dropped me off in fron of Braurei Kraus in Hirchaid, which I managed to avoid, then rode back to Bamberg. On the way I passed Spezial so I went in for dinner and a couple beer, then home to bed.

Distance ridden: 30 miles, plus or minus.