Wednesday 15th May 2013
This brewery claims to be the oldest existing in Bamberg and that is probably correct. It is in a beautiful setting, right down on the bank of the fast-flowing River Regnitz. The brewery is first mentioned in records in 1333. Probably quite a lot happened during the next 200 years, although there is nothing recorded until the land and brewery was purchased by Fürstbischöfe (Prince-Bishop) Georg Schenk von Limpurg.
The next mention of it occurs in 1533 when Fürstbischöfe Weigand von Redwitz erected the brewery and titled it "Fürstbischöfer Braunbierhaus" (Prince Bishop's Brown Beer House).
Twenty-two Prince-Bishops reigned between 1533 and 1790 and the brewery supplied them all. After then the brewery became privately owned. Firstly by Andreas Behr and, after several other proprietors, it was eventually sold to Peter Braun in 1851.
This was an amazing coincidence as the Braunbier Brauerei was acquired by a man with the name of Braun, so a sort of titular continuity was established.
He named the business Klosterbräu after the nearby Franciscan monastery. The brewery and tavern are still under the ownership of the same family as it is run by Anne-Rose Braun-Schröder of the fifth generation.
As with the other "behind the scenes" visits made to breweries in the city I was accompanying the amiable members of the Brewery History Society. We were met by Christian, our guide, who explained that he has been conducting tours of the brewery for the previous eight years. We went directly to the brew house which was installed in 1911. At the time of writing the annual output is 1,600 hectolitres per annum. Three types of pelletized hops are used in the standard brews; Hallertauer Perle, Traditional and Magnum.
The beers undergo a primary fermentation of one week at 7°C after the wort has been cooled through a heat exchanger. This is followed by a secondary maturation of four weeks at 4°C, although the various Bock beers are fermented for 6 weeks. There are four secondary fermentation vessels each of 36 hl capacity.
The brewery once produced much more than this, as there is brew kettle and lauter tun of 55 hl that are no longer used. They also had a separate fermentation area with 60 hl and 80 hl tanks.
The most notable aspect of the equipment here is the copper, which is still fired by coal and wood, a remarkable survivor and there is a steam boiler heated the same way.
Christian explained that all of the beers on sale at the pub are unpasteurized and use 100% Nitrogen as the dispense system.
Beers in small casks and bottles for home consumption are also untreated. Their wheat beer is produced at another brewery.
There are four beers in the standard range: Klosterbräu Gold-Pils (4.9%), Schwärzla (4.9%) (dark beer), Braunbier (5.7%), (mid-brown beer) and Braun's Weisse (4.9%) (wheat beer).
There are three types of Bock beer: Bockbier (7.0%) (light coloured version of the style, on sale from October onwards); Schwärzlabock (7.0%) (very dark, available for the Christmas holiday period) and Maibock (7.0%) (in the traditional light brown style available in April and May.
We were then taken on a tour of the rambling property and first visited the Zehnthaus-Gewölbeller, which is an arch-roofed cellar, used as an overflow to the other rooms and for special events. It must be cool when outside is hot.
Above this is the Zehnthaus itself, with a huge wooden-framed roof, dating from the early 1500s. A translation of the name is Tenth House. In England this was a Tithe House, where one tenth of produce was taken by the authorities as a tax and this building stored grain.
We then visited the Beer Garden, known here as the Biergärtla (Little beer garden in the Franconian dialect of the area). It has a beautiful view of the River Regnitz and I guess it is very popular in good weather. We walked back through the Höfla (Little courtyard), that is between the brew house and the Zehnthaus, to the Bier und Schankhaus.
This is the main room of the tavern and is to be found on the right when entering from the street and it also dates from the early 16th century.
On the other side of the entrance corridor is the Braunbier-Stübla, which unfortunately, on this day, was locked up. This was a pity, because it is a beautiful little room. However the Braunbier-Stübla compensated for this being decorated in a similar style with a very old stove and a wonderful bar area.
To accompany these beers I dined on Fränkische Sauerbraten mit Rotkraut und Klosl, which is Pork marinated in red wine vinegar for about a week then boiled and served with hot red cabbage along with a Bavarian style dumpling.
We thanked Christian for what was a wonderful visit and the Chairman of the BHS presented him with a certificate as memento of it, as was done after every tour. This is a very attractive pub with a good selection of beers and is commended to anybody visiting the city.
Brauereigasthof Klosterbräu Bamberg, Obere Mühlbrücke 1-3, Bamberg 96049
Tel: 0951 52265
Open: Monday to Friday 10.30-23.00; Saturday 10.00-23.00;
Sunday and Holidays 10.00-22.00
Kitchen opens: Monday-Friday 11.30-14.00/17.00-22.00;
Saturday 11.30-14.30/17.00-22.00; Sunday and Holidays 11.30-14.30/17.00-21.00
The brew pub is located in the middle of the old town. It's about 15 minutes walk from the ZOB (Zentral Omnibus Bahnhof) and 25 minutes from Bamberg railway station. Bamberg station is served by trains to and from a number of German cities and it takes about 40 minutes to Nürnberg which there are many more connections, some to other countries.
Some bus routes pass the Schanne stop in the Old Town, about five minutes away.