Sunday 6th January 2013
This brewery and its adjacent tap are painted in a deep red colour so it is not difficult to miss them as you are walking along Haller Strasse. A potted history of this brewery is easily accessible, yet this is not always the case. I suppose this is why we have the Brewery History Society in the U.K.; it does a very good job.
Back in Germany we find the Engel Brauerei (Angel Brewery) was founded in 1738. It was taken over by Georg Fach in 1877. It has remained in the family ever since.
I can't help but quote the English translation of the introductory advertisement in the Crailsheimer Amts-und Intelligenzblatt (Crailsheimer Gazette & News Sheet).
"To the honoured public in city and state, I herewith announce that I will open my newly acquired and furnished restaurant and the Engel Brewery, next Sunday, July 29, 1877. You are invited to visit them, and I will do my very best to satisfy my honoured guests in my new property with fast and cheap service, good food and drink
Therefore I recommend frequent visits to my inn, I respectfully sign: Fach zum Engel."
I think that is perfectly concise and to the point. After reading that, I would have definitely gone there!
In 1903 they installed a stationary steam engine. The brewery and town of Crailsheim were almost destroyed by bombing during the Second World War. I suspect that the old brewery was in or near to the town centre.
Anyway, it was rebuilt on Haller Strasse which is on the wrong side of the tracks relative to the middle of town. It has been modernised considerably since then.
As is often the case, I was with Russell, trusty drinking companion, and as we entered the pub that sits in the shadow of the brewery, we noticed it was almost empty.
The main bar room was rather pleasant, decorated in the tradition Germanic rustic style. There was also a side room. Both were decorated with old photographs, old bottles, ancient barrel taps and other brewery paraphernalia.
We settled down and perused the Bierkarte (Beer Menu). Yes, such a thing exists and it was very useful indeed.
There were six draught beers offered and they were Premium Pils (4.9%); Gold Hell (5.4%) (standard light lager beer); Keller-Hell (5.4%) (an unfiltered organic light lager); Keller-Dunkel (5.3%) (an organic and unfiltered dark beer); Hefeweizen (5.5%) (wheat beer) and last, but definitely not least, Bock-Hell (7.2%) (a light in colour, but not strength, bock beer). There were a further six different bottled beers on offer.
Another good point about this bar was that we could have a taster set of three beers in 0.1 litre glasses for €3. Not a great deal, but useful if we wanted to try more beers than we could normally expect to have during our short visit.
So in total we tried five and this is what we thought, although I have to say that there was a small element of added gas on all of them.
Premium Pils was nice with good bitterness but lacking in the salt / dry taste that is typical of a German Pils. Hefeweizen was a fairly typical example of this style. We then had Gold which is the standard Helles beer of the Export type. It was OK, being not very bitter but that is the norm with Export.
We then had 0.5l glass of two more beers. I had Keller-Helles which I suspect is nothing more than an unfiltered version of the normal Gold. It was just as sweet and not what I expect from a beer with Keller in its title. It should have been more bitter if it was a real Keller Bier.
By now, Russell, had his beer goggles on, and ordered Bock-Hell. I have to say this beer was exactly as expected, sweet and malty, completely normal for a Bock Bier.
So this pub is well worth visiting if you want to try a large number of beers from the Engel brewery. I doubt if there is such a large choice in any other pub.
Engelkeller, Haller Strasse, Crailsheim, 74564. Tel: 0795 122 560
Open: Daily 11.00-24.00
The pub and brewery is around ten minutes from Crailsheim station. This is a large rambling station with many platforms spread over an extensive area. Head for the central station building where the ticket office is. You will then see the road leading down and away from the station. Take this and turn left at the bottom. You are now in Haller Strasse. Continue along this road and after about five minutes you will see the red-painted brewery on the left with the pub just beyond.