Thursday 6th August 2015
I like this kind of German brewery. It’s of medium size (8,000 hl per annum production in 2014), is staunchly traditional in its manufacturing process and nobody outside of the city of Darmstadt has ever heard of it!
Well, the last bit may not be true, yet it is very small compared with the major regional players and not widely known of. In fact, outside of Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg, breweries of this size hardly exist these days, most having been taken over by the big boys.
The brewery is situated on the corner of Karlstrasse and Nieder Ramstädter-Strasse and it was on the former thoroughfare that the brewery was established in 1838. We know that it was taken over by Georg Breichenbach in 1867. Back in those days it was known as Zum Erbacher Hof. The present name dates from 1899 when it was taken over by Gabriel Grohe.
After the First World War Georg Grohe was in change with his brother Josef was the Brew Master. The brewery and most of the city of Darmstadt was destroyed during the Second World War.
The brewery was rebuilt and reopened in 1948, so I guess that is when most of the equipment dates from. By then Maria Grohe, the grand-daughter of Gabriel Grohe was in charge.
Maria died in 1989 and and the brewery left family hands when it was purchased by Wolfgang Koehler of the Darmstädter Privatbrauerei who operate the Braustüb’l, which kept it in private hands. Please see a separate article on this pub.
He decided not to change the structure of the Grohe brewery and leased it to Reinhard Langer, who continued to develop it along traditional lines.
We walked the 150 metres or so from the tram stop and entered what was the brewery’s yard, but now a biergarten. Walking through this we noticed the modern(ish) building on the left that housed the brewery.
The top of the Copper could be seen and it really was made of copper. We entered the Brauereiausschank and saw that it was traditional. Initial excitement was tempered when it was realised that the wooden barrel on the serving counter was merely a fake with taps sticking out of it.
There were three beers on offer and these were: Hell (5.1%), Pils (4.8%) and Weizen (5.2%) (wheat). There should have been Märzen (5.1%) available (May to October), and there probably was, but I seem to have missed it.
The winter equivalent is Bock (6.2%). The first tapping of this beer occurs on 3rd October each year. There is a big deal made of this. As a matter of interest, because of the long maturation period the beginning of the brewing of this beer commences 13 weeks earlier. It is available till May.
I’ve mentioned that the brewery is truly old school and it has now been placed on the German Inventory of National Monuments, similar to being of listed status in the UK.
I believe that this is for the brewery equipment; the building that houses it is nothing to write home about. There are no computers here. They proudly proclaim that their beers are hand-made and the recipe for the Hell is from the early 1900s.
Despite the fake barrel in the bar they make a point that they sell a lot of beer from oak barrels. Maybe the biergarten was served by beers from this source? By the way the biergarten can accommodate 350 customers. We were drinking in the Brauereiausschank.
In 2003 another Grohe pub opened in a former warehouse on the site called just Schanke. We didn’t see this and it has differing opening days / hours.
It’s a very nice place to visit and you should make the effort to get here if you are anywhere in the Darmstadt area. Of course, there is a full food menu.
Brauerei Grohe, Nieder Ramstädter-Strasse 3, 64233 Darmstadt. Tel: 06151 425255
Open: Brauereiausshank: Monday-Saturday 10.00-24.00; Sunday/Holidays 16.00-24.00
Schanke: Monday-Saturday 17.00-24.00. Sunday: Closed.
Schulstrasse is the stop off the tram to get to the pub. You can see it as you get off. Routes 2 and 3 come past the Hauptbahnhof (Central Station) and call here, each going forward on different sides of the pub. There is also a No 9 route that doesn’t pass the Hauptbahnhof, but nevertheless travels through the centre of the city past the Rathaus (City Hall). Darmstadt is not far south of Frankfurt and is served by many trains including InterCity services.