Unterhaider Kellergasse

August 18th, 2022 by Kim Lund Johansen

When Maximillian in January 1812 made it possible for brewers to sell their freshly lagered beers in their gardens, it was the start of bier kellers as we know them today. For the brewers it combined a fresh offering with simpler logistics. Firstly, the brewers did not have to transport the barrels back to the inn. Secondly, the location of the kellers on the outskirts of the villages, in cool grove forests or slightly elevated on mountain slopes offered the opportunity to open shady beer gardens, which on hot days provide natural cooling and a pleasant stay outdoors.

Image by Tourist Information Bamberg

To not collide with the innkeepers business, the only food permitted to sell was bread. As a consequence hungry visitors quickly learned to bring their own food. That tradition still lives on today and in most bier kellers you are still allowed to bring you own food.

After the introduction of cooling systems, the lagering capacity of the kellers lost their value. But the shade, offered by the trees on top of them, still attracts guest on those hot summer days. One of the more interesting ones is the Gambrinus Keller in Unterhaid. Just short of 12 km from the Old Townhouse in Bamberg.

A range of the private cellars

It’s been a while since the Gambrinus Brewery brewed their last beer. Since 2000, they have contract brewed their beer at Schlossbrauerei Reckendorf. For visitors who prefer actual breweries, it’s not the most obvious place to visit in Franconia. Having said that they still lager it in their own keller and what few people know, is that the Gambrinus Hausbräu, a Ungespundetes Pils called Gambrinus12, is brewed after their own recipe and to my surprise, it was quite a lot more hoppy than the regular Reckendorf equivalent. 4.4. Not to be missed.

To be honest, my visit last month wasn’t just about the beer, but also the spectacular Unterhaider Kellergasse. For a distance of 165 meters, you can find 29 individual kellers, including simple rectilinear and unramified kellers as well as Y-shaped double kellers. Laying beautifully next to each other going up a hill, it is an extraordinary view and experience. 28 of them are still used by Hausbrauers.

In January 2011, the Kellergasse was awarded a “Monument Protection” order and 23.000 € for the repair of the extensive Keller system. The restoration also included the Brewery keller house, Kegelbahn (skittle alley) and two terraces. The Kegelbahn, which was first mentioned in a document in the 18th century and is dated 1727 by an inscription, is the oldest civic leisure facility in the region.

Two private cellars and the Kegelbahn just above them.

The restoration has brought the Kellergasse back to former glory and the beer served is better than most in the area. I highly recommend visiting. For more pictures click the gallery below.

Brauerei Griess (Geisfeld)

May 20th, 2022 by Kim Lund Johansen

Just a short bike ride south of Bamberg, you will find Brauerei Griess in Geisfeld. Still family owned and traditional in every way since 1872. For the last three generations, it has been in the hands of the Griess family. Peter Griess, who took over the brewing in 1983, still only 19, was Germany’s youngest brewer at the time. His Ungespundetes unfiltered Kellerbier is brewed all year round and it is also found in Euro bottles. It is hoppy for the style with a firm, lingering bitterness. Bursting of flowers from the meadow and followed up by lemons and freshly cut grass. 4.7.

I have been lucky to visit Peter and drink his wonderful Kellerbier a handful of times. At my latest visit last month, Peter told me that the brewery had undergone subtle renovations with respect for the old system and it’s a beauty. Steel added where needed here and there and the new control panel is put on top of the old. In respect of what was.

The brewery is a two vessel system made of iron and the mash tun and boil kettle are hidden behind the tiled blue wall. They are accessable through the beautifull copper sliding doors and from behind you can also access them for cleaning. When standing there, the big panorama windows gives you a nice view from the brewery. From the streets anyone who is curious and passing by, can see a brewery in acton on a brew day. It is indeed a unique layout.

A new bottling line is also being installed and due to that, the annual Bockbieranstich might not happen this year. Still undecided though. Otherwise, they make a delicious unfiltered heller Bock before Christmas and the anstich is usually the last Saturday in November.

Peter’s son in law Fabian Skaggs has stepped in as an additional brewer. Focused on keeping things traditional, I’m sure things will continue in great order.

Earlier this year a local craftsman created a beatiful new limited steinkrug. Only 50 numbered were made. I was lucky to get my hand on one.

Griess runs a Gasthaus where you will often see Peter behind the bar or taking a round between the tables to take part in the various discussions going on. Great stuff. During summer you can also sit outside.

In addition to the Gasthaus, and just down the road, the charming Griess Keller is still in operation. Great for a summer evening for those endless nights. I, for one, cannot wait to revisit the Gasthaus and Keller in Geisfeld.

Brauerei Gries: www.brauerei-griess.de

Gries Keller: www.griesskeller.net

Hausbräu - a Franconian tradition

May 17th, 2022 by Kim Lund Johansen

Hausbräu - a Franconian tradition
 - Filling barrrels at Brauerei Eichhorn in Dörfleins
Hausbräu is young beer that is collected by “customers” in barrels or kegs. Often kept in the basement or another cool place of the collector, it then completes the fermentation and maturation. The tradition originally dates back to the 19th century when almost every farm still produced its own malt. The farmers supplied the barley to be malted and received - in addition to payment - the right to purchase part of the beer made from their barley at a lower price. Today, anyone can have the young Hausbräu beer filled into their own barrels or kegs at certain schedules.

Most breweries offer cleaning and sanitation service for a small price and if you haven’t got a barrel yet, they can also be bought at the brewery.

To my knowledge these breweries are still offering Hausbräu.

  • Brauerei Reh (Lohndorf)
  • Brauerei Roppelt (Stiebarlimbach)
  • Brauerei Büttner (Untegreuth)
  • Brauerei Eichhorn (Dörfleins)
  • Adler-Bräu (Steffeld)
  • Brauerei Zehendner (Mönchsambach)
  • Braierei Kaiser (Grassmansdorf)
  • Brauerei Först (Drügendorf)
  • Brauerei Trunk (Vierzehnheiligen)
  • Brauerei Hübner (Steinfeld)
  • Brauerei Rittmayer (Aisch)
  • Brauerei Zwanzger (Uehlfeld)
  • Brauerei Prechtel (Uehlfeld)
  • Brauerei Blauer Löwe (Höchstadt)
  • Zum Löwenbräu (Adelsdorf)
  • Brauerei Hartleb (Maroldsweisach)

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