Friday 17th September 2010
I made my way from the Rössle pub along Hauptstrasse, then up into the centre, passing the market place on the way, where they were setting up the stage for a music festival. At 7, Herrengasse is the Schwannenbrauerei, I found another ancient brewery that dates from 1697. The brew house is on the opposite side of the road from the pub, which is extremely sumptuous.
This is, by far, in terms of output, the smallest brewery of the three visited in Ehingen yet it is also very progressive.
I was presented with a very interesting beer list of Zwickel naturtüb (a cloudy unfiltered bitter organic beer), 300er Jubelbier (dark brown, slightly red and organic), Spezial (unfiltered, light hell in the Export style, served in stone mug), and a Pils (South Germany style).
There was also a beer of the month, which was some kind of wheat beer, so if I had to pass on something it was to be that, as it is not my favourite style. I tried a small glass of all the others and was very impressed. The Jubelbier was a bit too malty for my palette, but I'm sure it will appeal to others. The other three were excellent examples of their styles.
The beer of Month and the other seasonal beers are often very interesting from this small yet adventurous brewery. Have a look at what they would brew over a single year: Altbier (top-fermented and in the Düsseldorf style); Biozwickel (unfiltered, bottom-fermented made with organic hops and malts); Ehingerbier (made with Perle hops grown locally for the first time since the First World war); Fastendoppelbock (rich and malty, very nutritious, once drunk during lent); India Pale Ale (very bitter, in the Burton style) and London Porter (as in the late nineteenth century).
Still there's more, as most German types of beer are represented: Märzen (as was once brewed in spring before refrigeration and drank in the summer); Maibock (in the Einbeck style); Rauchbier (using beech-smoked malt in the Bamberg style); Roggenbier (Rye beer with some wheat malt); Schwarzbier (black bier in the Thuringen style); Weinachtsbier (Christmas beer, strong yet hoppy); Weissbier (wheat beer in the Bavarian style); Caramelweizen (another wheat beer that is even less bitter than the Weissbier, hard to believe!) and finally Weizendoppelbock (a wheat beer that is malty, sweet and fruity). Even this list is not complete as there are other beers.
The pub has a full restaurant and is also a hotel, so is feasible as a base to explore the area and its many breweries. They also brew a Badebier (a bath beer) in huge bottles to take away so you can indulge yourself in a beer bath at home. From their in-house distillery they make various Schnapps and Brandy distilled from Apples, Pears, Cherries, Plums, Quince and, of course, beer. The fruits are grown in their own orchards. For those with a real interest they also conduct brewing seminars.
Nearly everything one would want in life all under one roof!
Gasthof-Brauerei Schwan, 7 Herrengasse 7, Ehingen 89584. Tel: +49 (0) 7391 53420
Open: Monday to Saturday 11.00-14.00 / 17.00-24.00; Sunday 11.00-14.00 / 17.00-22.00
It takes around fifteen minutes to walk directly from the station which is served by Regional and Regional Express trains running from Ulm to the Black Forest area.
Local buses also start and terminate in front of the railway station and some pass through the town centre near to pub.
Update October 2017. Hours: Monday to Saturday: 11.00-14.00 / 17.00-23.00; Sunday: Closed.