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Thursday, August 19, 2010

Bamberg Day 1 -- to Merkendorf and back

When transporting bikes there is always some adjustments to be made upon arrival. This is especially true with foldable bikes. So we planned an easy day to start, figuring we'd need to stop for adjustments.

First stop was Cafe Abseits for some warmup beers. The Beer of the Month was Hummel Kellerbier from Merkendorf -- where we were heading -- but I figured it was worth trying here in case the brewery was closed. We also had the ever great Mönchambacher Lager from Brauerei Zehender and the Huppendorfer Vollbier from Brauerei Grasser.

Hummel Kellerbier and Mönchambacher Lager

Huppendorfer Vollbier
Suitably refreshed we headed for Memmelsdorf, home of two breweries: Brauerei Hohn and Brauerei Drei-Kronen. We saved Brauerei Hohn for a possible visit on the way back and stopped at Drei-Kronen for lunch. We had one of each of their beers: Lager, Keller-pils and Stöffla (a rauchbier). The Stöffla was much smokier than in the past. Before there was just a hint of smoke but now it is smokier than Spezial (but not even close to Schlenkerla). The Lager was clean and crisp but the Keller-pils had a bit of diacetyl as it warmed up.

Drei Kronen Lager, Keller-pils and Stöffla

A few kilometers  down the road (and up a small hill) is the village on Merkendorf, also home to two breweries, Brauerei Wagner and Brauerei Hummel. I knew Wagner was closed for summer hoildays so we were hoping that Hummel would be open, and they were.

Fridays in front of Hummel
They had three beers on draft, Kellerbier, Pils and something called Cowboy Schwartzbier. So we ordered one of each.

Cowboy Schwartzbier, Pils and Kellerbier

The Pils was the best of the bunch. The Kellerbier we'd had earlier at Cafe Abseits was actually better -- this one had a bit of diacetyl -- which I should mention is not uncommon in the summer months. Because beer demand is up, many breweries reduce the amount of time they cold condition the beer ("lagering" we'd call it) and this shorter time can increase the amount of diacetyl.  For you non-beer-geeky readers, diacetyl mostly comes across as a buttery taste in the beer. It is appropriate for some styles (mainly British Ales).

The Cowboy Schwartzbier wasn't anything special -- it really tasted like the kellerbier with color beer added.

Hummel brews a pretty wide range of beers and had another 5 varieties available in bottles, including a Weizenbock. I've enjoyed this beer when I've had it, but it is not a good beer to drink when doing a bike ride on a warm day.

Beer menu at Brauerei Hummel
The ride back to Bamberg was un-eventful. We passed by Brauerei Göller in Drosendorf and Brauerei Hohn in Memmelsdorf, but did stop at Brauerei Fässla back in Bamberg. It was too had to pass up. I left the camera on the bike, so you'll just have to take our word for it. Both the Lager and Pils were fine.

Distance ridden: 30 km

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