“Seven Hills” – or “The Legend of Josef, Who Disappeared”
A walking tour in the middle of a city? Indeed, this is possible for the beer traveller, because Bamberg, the dream destination for all lovers of the Franconian beers, is situated on seven hills, or “Siim Hüchl”, as the Franconian people say: Domberg, Michelsberg, Kaulberg, Stefansberg, Jakobsberg, Altenburg and Abtsberg. And this is, why the beer travellers during the second Wandertour de Bier from 12th to 14th October 2012 made a pilgrimage over the hills of Bamberg, from one brewery to the next. They walked through narrow streets in the romantic old town, over rough cobblestone streets, through beautiful orchards and autumnally colourful city parks. Along the waterfront, passing old half-timbered houses, across many bridges, through archways, along old sandstone walls and into some churches.
And of course, through beer gardens, breweries and pubs.
The weather was perfect for the beer hikers – bright sunshine accompanied them on this wonderful autumn weekend as they walked from one brewery to the next. Wherever they stopped, they were welcomed by cheerful brewers, lead through the brewery and fed well in the breweries’ restaurants.
Roland Kalb started the roundelay, when he led the group through his just recently magnificently renovated brewery Fässla. After some larger investment, the brewery presents itself as an orgy in stainless steel, built to last forever.
Stephan Michel took us through the Mahrs brewery, which he had just recently taken over as the new head brewer. He showed us not only the brew kettles, but also the different filling lines for kegs, Bavarian barrels, small and large bottles, siphons and party cans.
Sigmund Brockard opened the already closed Greifenklau beer garden for us and let us enjoy the magnificent view over the orchards to the Altenburg, before we visited his small, old, but technically carefully renovated brew house.
Matthias Trum did not show us his brewery, since the famous Schlenkerla Rauchbier is not produced in the old building any more, but for more than 200 years already in the “new” old brewery on the Stephansberg, some hundred meters outside the Old City. But he took us back on a journey through time, through centuries of old brewing tradition; and he did it in a rousing presentation, providing us with feelings as if we had been personally witnessing the old ages.
Four great beer experiences that showed us clearly, how much brewing tradition can be found in Bamberg. And it was just a small example, a short summary of what Schorsch Meyer and Klaus Kling could have organized, if only we had had enough time…
The ancient Klosterbräu we had to leave out because of not sufficient time; we have not visited the Spezial Brewery, because it is closed on Saturday afternoons; we could not get into the Keesmann brewery, because it was terribly overcrowded, after they had started tapping the seasonal Bockbier this weekend; the Kaiserdom Brewery was too far away outside the city; the Ambräusianum we had to pass, because we were already late on our way to the Schlenkerla; and finally, the small pilot brewery at the Weyermann Malting Company is only available at certain times and occasions, and remained closed for us on this weekend.
Enough reasons left for visiting Bamberg over and over again and for walking over the “Siim Hüchl” – new destinations tracking the history of beer and brewing in this famous old city.
And what about “The Legend of Josef, Who Disappeared”? Well, this is a true story, the beer hikers will only talk about if asked directly, when you meet them personally on one of their Tours de Bier!