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Pub Visit - Germany

Cafe Abseits 1Thursday 16th May 2013

Bob Thompson

This is an interesting bar that is some distance away from the other beery attractions of Bamberg. In fact, its name is very apposite as abseits can mean "out of the way", a reference to its location on the "wrong side of the tracks".

It is very much a beer café and there are four draught beers on a regular basis and some of these emanate from small country producers, see below for details. However, the jewel in the crown is the monthly special beers; these are genuine rarities and make the journey here worthwhile.

The bar was awarded "Germany's Best Beer Bar 2013" by the Rate Beer website. They think it is that good and, although it is up there, I'd like to have seen the other contenders before I make my mind up.

Cafe Abseits 2It certainly must be one of the most visited specialist beer bars in the country and that probably helped. Rarely seen in Germany, this bar has a good selection of Belgian bottled beers along with a very extensive range of domestic products in bottles.

Although located in a nice looking old building, the interior is not unlike a modern café.

Cafe Abseits 3The main room is on two levels with the bar on the upper one. This curves round many times in a style so beloved in Germany. I guess this a means of making more bar stools available than there would be if it was straight.

Although the clientele covers most strata of society, there is a large student presence. Large numbers of bikes are parked up on the street outside.

It is also possible to enter the pub from the street through an arch. This leads through to a pleasant biergarten and this is where I, and the remnants of the estimable group of members from the Brewery History Society, settled to have some dinner and consume a little beer.

The pub offers a full menu but there is not much Franconian cooking in evidence. The only condescension to traditional southern German cuisine is the steaks and schnitzel. The remainder has a heavy Italian influence with many pasta dishes and a large pizza range. They also offer a large selection of salads.

Cafe Abseits 4The four regular beers are: Keesmann Herren-Pils (4.6%), a well known quaffing pils from Bamberg; Mönchsambacher Lager (5.0%), a typically good hell beer from Zehendner of Mönchsambach, to the south west of Bamberg, and finally, two from the Brauerei Grasser of Huppendorf, about 20 kms to the east of city; they are Huppendorfer Weizenbier (5.2%) (wheat) and their Vollbier (5.0%), another light easy drinking beer.

The beer of the month was Mainfeidla Porter (5.3%), a rare example of a porter, a style quite common in Germany up to around the mid 19th Century, although more so to the east. This is a new brewery based in Breitengüssbach, just north of the city. It was an impressive beer, hitting all the right notes.

They certainly know how to resource unusual beers, as the next monthly special was Pumpernickel Porter (6.8%) from the brewery at Weyermann's maltings, which we had already tasted when we visited their factory.

So, as can be seen, this is a pub worth making the effort to get to, with a great range of beers from breweries not normally found in the city.

Important Information:

Café Abseits, Pödeldorfer Strasse 39, Bamberg. 96052. Tel: 0951 303422

Open: Daily 09.00-01.00

The pub is just over ten minutes walk from Bamberg station (Brennerstrasse exit). Turn right and when you find Pölderdorfer Strasse on the left, continue along it until you see the pub on the left.

Bus route 902 runs frequently up to around 20.00. It runs from the ZOB (Central Bus station). Alight at Neuerbstrasse, the pub is around the corner. The stop, with the same name, for the return journey, is opposite the pub. After 20.00 there is route 935 but this is only useful for the return journey, as it goes in a big circle, same stop as the 902.

Update October 2017. Hours: Monday to Saturday: 09.00-14.00/17.00-00.30. Sunday/Holiday: 09.00-23.30.