Dr. Günther Heinzel's Top 10 Picks
Dr. Günther Heinzel has contributed many comments on this site so I asked him to contribute is personal "Top Ten". Says Dr. Heinzel...
I'd like to introduce myself in the beginning: I'm living in the former "industrial heart" of Germany, in the Ruhr-area and I'm working here as a dentist. Sometimes I like to organize beer-travels for some friends: to Cologne or Düsseldorf; to Franconia and other parts of Bavaria of course and last,but not least to Bohemia, the country of well balanced Lagers.....!
1. Witzgall Schlammersdorf. Copper coloured "Vollbier", beautiful balance between a rich, full body, a good bitterness and a dry finish; it's understood, that the one perfect brew doesn't exist, but this one comes very close to it.....The Witzgall may remind you a bit of the best bohemian Lagers: full-bodied with a fine hoppiness !
The Gaststube is a spartan, basic boozer, quite dim, but the copper-covered bar is always perfectly polished. If You go there when the weather is fine, you can sit outside in the small lane between the Gasthaus and the Brauerei, in fact the narrowest beer-garden in Franconia......
2. Hebendanz Forchheim. There is no real bad Brauerei among the four breweries of Forchheim, but the Hebendanz seems to be the best one: the "Hell-Export" is a pale, full bodied brew, in the beginning a bit sweetish, with a strong fruity finish - easy to drink, hard to stop ...
The pub, located in a house with a half-timbered Elizabethan-style facade in the historic center of town, looks run down by german standards. Sit there, have a beer, the atmosphere of past glories will take You back into the 60's !
3. Knoblach Schammelsdorf. One of the driest and hoppiest beers you can get in Franconia - but it's understood, that we are not talking about that "empty" hoppyness of dull north-german Pilseners; this one is a real appetizer, You can't stop enjoying it ! Even after hours you'll remember the dominant, beautiful hop-aromas.
The Gasthaus is a quite normal rural pub with an attractive beer -garden.
4. Geisfeld. A pleasant two-brewery village; fortunately multiplicity rules here: The "Krug", located in a beautifully timbered house, will serve you a dark brown Vollbier; full-bodied, but not so malty or even sweet, surprisingly bitter, but not unpleasant at all, for a beer of this colour. In the old, small Gaststube the main attraction is the wooden cask....., on summer evenings you can enjoy your Vollbier on the veranda.
The bigger brewery in Geisfeld, the Griess, produces a well balanced amber coloured Kellerbier: full-bodied flavou with a smooth, dry and hoppy finish. The modern Gasthaus is a bit larger than the "Krug"; the real attraction is the newly opened Griess-Keller, 300 meters from the brewery on the edge of the village. Under old shady trees in the countryside you'll find the best place to sip the pleasant Griess-Bräu.
5. Schlüsselfeld. Far away from Bamberg - by bikers standards - a bit off the beaten tracks, is situated the little two brewery town of Schlüsselfeld: on the market-place in the center of town the Adler-Bräu offers a "Helles" on draught; it's not a real "light" beer, You'll get there an amber coloured, sdpicy beer: full of different, hearty hop aromas; not extremely bitter, but very aromatic! Friendly, middle-sized "wooden" pub.
The Stern-Bräu can be found in a by-lane near to the church: in the pub nothing has changed since the 60's, the "resopal" (a kind of plastic material)-covered tables in the small light tap-room don't make a real cozy atmosphere; but You'll get there a "Helles", which is a very spicy, dry Lager; the hops are not too dominant, nevertheless highly quaffable.
6. Buttenheim. Two brewing neighbours - giants by franconian standards - dominate this larger village, birthplace of a certain Levi Strauss. The smaller Löwenbräu offers an excellent Kellerbier called Lager: copper coloured, filtered, enormous burst of hops and fruitiness, ending very dry; the best place to enjoy it is the friendly, plain taproom, meeting-point of the locals.
The bigger neighbour St.Georgen brews a little bit different, but also excellent kind of Kellerbier: light-brown, only slightly filtered brew, massive hop-aroma, extremely dry finish.
7. Drei Kronen Scheßlitz. The Vollbier, a well-rounded, amber-coloured pale Lager is a very complex, full-bodied brew; though it's "only" a Vollbier, it reminds you sometimes of stronger brews. Cozy atmosphere can be found in the old Gaststätte, where films about the 19th century could be easily shot.......
8. Hümmer Breitengüßbach. The Lager, a Kellerbier, is the kind of beer You can't get enough of; served in almost "elegant" slim beer-stein, You get an "universal" brew: a well balanced, hoppy, full-bodied and very velvet Lager: worth a detour......
9. Keesmann Bamberg. In opposite to most of the small franconian breweries, the most attractive beer is here the "Herren-Pils": a well hopped and fruity beer, light in colour, which comes far closer to the Bohemian original than the thin bodied, simply bitter and "scratchy" "TV-beers" from Northern Germany. A beer-garden can be found in the brewery-yard,next door to the larger "light" pub of long wooden tables.
10. Kalt-Loch Bräu Miltenberg. A bit "extraterrestial", because not situated in the heart of Franconia Franconia, this brewery is nevertheless in my opinion very interesting. The brewery-tap belongs to the small number of pubs which offer nearly throughout the year a Doppelbock on draught: The "Kolomator-Doppelbock" is, compared to the better known Doppelbocks of southern Bavaria, very soft for a beer of this strength; a well-balanced, comfortable drink! The outstanding "Export" seems to show in fact hints of smoked malt in the aftertaste..... The cozy, old fashioned brewery-tap is located on the edge of the picturesque center of town and worth a journey.