Visited on: Thursday 26th July 2018
This brewing site promotes itself to be the oldest in Franconia, maybe in present day Bavaria. Possibly true in Franconia, but who knows? These claims are always from monasteries.
When each was established they would drink the beer themselves, especially as they did not have access to drinking water. They also sold it to the public as they also required something clean to drink. It raised money for the church, often they had no other source. It was also bartered for meat and vegetables.
The Benedictine monastery in Weissenohe was founded around 1050. They were confirmed as brewing before the end of that century. In the secularisation after the Napoleonic occupation the monastery was sold off privately.
In 1803 the abbey church changed to being purely the Weissenohe parish church and it still is today. In more recent years the buildings have been sold to a businessman from Nürnberg.
After the abbey closed the former monastic master brewer stayed on and continued to brew beer.
In 1827 he retired and sold his brewing rights and the brewery to Friedrich Kraus. He developed the brewery, opened a restaurant on site and farmed locally. The brewery has been in the same family ever since and we are now in the fifth generation with Urban Winkler at the helm.
The restaurant closed in 1943 because of shortages caused by the Second World War. It wasn’t to reopen until 2000 during the reign of Franz Winkler. He had previously opened a biergarten in the grounds during 1995.
The vista the visitor is presented with is quite exceptional. You enter from the road through an arch to the monastery yard which is quite large. At the far end is the impressive edifice of the church. On the left side is the entrance to the brewery restaurant. Above the door is a carved stone coat of arms.
There are many rooms inside, but I turned right down a few steps into the main room and took a seat in an otherwise empty pub. I noticed the stone-tiled floor. Around the outer wall there is dark wood panelling with fitted bench seats facing into the room. The remainder of the furniture is light varnished wood. A vase of flowers adorned every table and at the far end there was a large garland of hop bines.
The four regular beers on offer were Altfränkisches Klosterbier (5.0%) served in a Krug (ceramic mug), a dark zwickel type beer; Kloster-Sud Dunkel (5.4%), a dark beer; Pils (4.8%) and a Hefeweizen. It was possible to have a sampler set of all four so I did. I liked the Klosterbier very much as it had quite a strong taste. The Dunkel was malt dominated as expected but there was some bitterness in the finish.
The pils was superb, dry in the Bavarian style. I’m not keen on wheat beers as I think they are too sweet and this one proved to be typical. It was not made by Weissenohe; they don’t do weizenbier. Sorry, I can’t remember its provenance. As I was getting stuck in I noticed there were two specials; I couldn’t resist.
The first was Bonator Dunkler Doppelbock (8.2%) a colossal bitter-sweet dark beer, magnificent! The other beer was an odd one. It was called Vincanis Summer Ale (5.3%) yet it was a Bio-Pils (Organic Pils). It wasn’t too bad though.
This brewery produces a large range of beers ranging from traditional Franconian styles, through Pils to so-called “craft” beers. They also make some single hop varietal Pils.
This is a great brewery and I’d like to visit again, hopefully when the biergarten is open. It was early afternoon when I visited, so I didn’t have that pleasure.
Wirtshaus Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe, Klosterstrasse 20, 91367 Weissenohe. Tel: 091 92 6357
Hours: Summer (1st April-30th September):
Monday-Tuesday/Holiday: Closed; Wednesday-Friday: 11.00-22.00; Saturday-Sunday: 10.00-22.00.
Winter (1st September-31st March): Monday-Tuesday/Holiday: Closed; Wednesday-Sunday: 11.00-22.00.
Food service is available until 20.30.
You can get here from Nürnberg city centre.
Catch the U-Bahn (Underground/Metro) line U2 to Nürnberg Nordost station, the end of the line.
Then transfer to DB and travel on Regionalbahn train (RB) going towards Gräfenberg.
Alight at the penultimate station, Weissenohe. From the station you will see a major road intersection.
There are bus stops here. Go right into Haupstrasse and follow this as it curves right through the village.
You will come to the monastery on the right. Go through the arch and you will see the pub on the left.
You can arrive by bus on routes 212 and 223 to the station bus stops. From there directions are as above.