22 October 2014

Finishing up

We're not still in Germany are we? Who'd have thought there'd be so much beer? This post is for some of the odds and sods from my notebook that didn't fit in anywhere else.

Novelty beer of the trip was one I spotted in Bamberg's Café Abseits and one I've been wanting to taste for a long time. Steinbier Original is brewed the prehistoric way, using hot rocks to boil the wort. I've read that this imparts a unique caramel flavour to the finished product. It arrived in a stein, of course, so I'm not exactly sure what colour it is, but it looked a kind of pale honey brown at the bottom of the mug. It tastes disappointingly plain and inoffensive: big on green noble hop herbal flavours and maybe some extra caramel, but not terribly impressive overall.

A pork-and-dumpling-free night in Bamberg brought us to a generic studenty pizzeria where Reckendorfer Pils was the house beer. It did the job: a clear bright gold with a lovely warming bread-like quality to it. Beats the hell out of the beer offering in most by-the-numbers Italian-style eateries.

My first beer of the trip was chugged from the bottle with a döner at Munich railway station, waiting for the Nuremberg train. It was Tegernseer Helles and it was similarly functional: smooth and sweet with just enough crispness to balance it, but otherwise not very memorable. The brewery have recently opened a bar in the centre of Munich so, following a couple of recommendations, I wandered in for a gander. Tegernseer Tal - Bräuhaus is a very bright and airy pub, and was trading briskly on the Tuesday afternoon we visited. For me a Tegernseer Hopf, their weissbeer. It smells strangely sour and the texture is a bit watery but there are some great flavours: traditional ones like bubblegum and clove, but also notes of pineapple and tinned peaches. Herself opted for Tegernseer Dunkel, a chestnut brown lager with lots of chocolate, burnt toast and grain husks. Wholesome, but quite hard work.

Our last day involved a mini pub crawl around Munich, taking in the Augustiner Grossgaststätten, Ayinger Wirtshaus and out to the English Gardens for a Hofbräu under the Chinese Tower. The lunchtime crowd was a mix of locals and the first of the large groups of tourists arriving in for Oktoberfest, due to begin a couple of days later. The band played and there were occasional screams from those hit by conkers from the enormous chestnut trees. All rather jolly. As well as Hofbräu Helles from the holzfass, the bar was selling Hofbräu Urbock. It's rose gold and offers up an enticing maple syrup aroma. This woody quality continues in the flavour, with extra sweet burnt notes. A delicious outdoor sipper and a nice bookend to the trip.


  1. Are you sure that was a real barrel at Chinesche Turm? I've never seen Hofbräu served Bayerischer Anstich and the brewery tap has fake barrels, something I find really annoying.

    Next time you're around Bamberg you should go to Buttenheim. St Georgen's beer garden has the most gorgeous view, while Löwenbräu's (the other local brewery) has a rubbish view but great beer.

    This summer was the first in seven years where I didn't visit Bavaria. Your reports have made me dead, dead jealous.

    1. I'm nearly sure it was. It was enormous, and the tap was at the bottom as on real barrels: every fake one I saw had a standard keg tap drilled through at the top.

  2. I have made a tasting with friends, comparing the Leikeim Steinbier with the Gänstaller Bräu Akkurat ROCKS Steinbier from Andy Gänstaller, developed for the Akkurat in Stockholm, and with the austrian brewery Hofstetten Granitbock:

    Andys Steinbier has been the best by a large margn. The Leikeim Steinbier is a simple bottom fermented, unfiltered lager with 12,8% P with some malt sweet from the boiling. The Hofstetten Granitbock was a little bit better, because the beer basis has more aroma (Bock!) . Hofstetten has also a Granitbier with only 5,5% vol., but I haven't tasted it. The name Granitbock means that they use granite.

    A video with Conrad Seidl visiting the brewery Hofstetten with a demonstration of boiling by granite rocks:

    So I don't like to drink the Leikeim Steinbier. But we have many guests at Café Abseits in Bamberg (Franconia, Bavaria, Germany) who like this beer, maybe because it's more sweet than others ("malzaromatisch"). Under the line: nice story/history. I recommend it to beertourists and guests who have never tasted a Steinbier before and for normal guests who ask for a not so bitter beer.

    1. Yes, I think it's the most famous one. That's certainly why I ordered it. Thanks for the information, I had no idea there were so many other commercial steinbiers out there.