Like already mentioned in the article Franconia – a land for beer lover, the Province splits up in a beer- and in a wine area and again we will stay in the beer area. To be more precise: we will travel the triangle Nuremberg – Bamberg – Coburg. In this area, beer is considered more as a basic food instead of just a drink and I think I don`t have to mention they don`t drink a random beer from the supermarket.
My beer tour through Franconia
You will need a car for this tour, but it´s not a lot of driving involved: if you would drive the route without to stop, you would be done in 4 hours. I would recommend to take 3 days for this tour. When you stay in a town, you leave the car at the hotel and walk, but you need it to get to the smaller villages and castles.
My personal entry to beer Franconia is Nuremberg – it provides everything you are looking for on a Foodie tour: Nuremberger sausages, Gingerbread, local beer and cultural highlights like the castle, the Dome and Albrecht Dürers birthplace. Take a hotel in the center (sorry, no recommendation this time, I always stay with friends) and walk to the market square with the Dome. Don´t miss to climb up to the small balcony, facing the market, you find the entrance inside the Dome. While strolling the market you should drop into Schmidt`s Lebkuchen Shop, where you can watch the making of traditional Nuremberger Gingerbread.
Bamberg, the capital of beer
The drive to Bamberg takes you less than one hour. As soon as you get to your hotel, park the car and walk, Bamberg is a small city an d you are here to taste beer, right?
The city of Bamberg in Bavaria boasts 9 breweries and is famous for its amber colored Rauchbier (smoked beer). One of the most charming breweries is the Spezial Brewery dating back to 1536, where you can watch the century-old process of drying malt over an open fire – the secret of the beer’s mild smoked flavor. Legend says, it was invented by accident: after a fire in his brewery the brewer used up the malt because he couldn’t afford to buy fresh malt. He was so delighted by the special smoky taste, that he kept on selling it as a local specialty. Enjoy your Rauchbier right then and there: It is only sold within 100 km of the brewery. Don’t worry if you don’t like it, you will find dozens different kinds of beer in Bamberg!
Auf die Keller
If you stay here in the outdoor-sitting season, it’s strongly recommended to go “auf die Keller”, which translates literally “on the cellar” and means beer garden. In former centuries the beer was kept cool in huge cellars outside the city walls and the brewer put up some tables and served the beer right there. These locations still exist and are highly frequented by locals and tourists. Following the tradition, you are still allowed to bring your own food.
On the way to Kulmbach you pass the brewery Drei Kronen in Memmelsbach – no matter what time of the day, you should stop and have a look! It’s one of the traditional breweries with pub and restaurant, (brewery visits possible with appointment) everything homemade, fresh and local.
Kulmbach itself centers at the historic market square, from there you can take the bus up to the castle from where you have a wonderful view. If you decide to stay in town and focus more on beer and food, you should try the Kulmbacher Wurst, made of pig meat and grilled or cooked in onion stock.
Kulmbach has its very own bun roll for the sausage. It is shaped long and small, gets strewed with anise and filled with 3 sausages. You can order also half a bun roll topped with two sausages, so an order at one of the sausage stalls would sound like: drei im Ganzn or a Boor im Halbn.
Coburg and the Veste
No matter which time of the year, the first thing you smell when you enter the market place in Coburg is smoke. It doesn’t take long to figure where it’s from – there are several booths with smoking chimneys. By getting closer you will see, they sell nothing but Coburger sausages, grilled over an open pine cone fire. This is the special dish in the area and even though you may compare it to the Nuremberger sausage, it’s not a good idea to speak it out loud – the towns are rivals for centuries.
The walk up to the Veste (castle) takes you 30 minutes or you jump on the shuttle bus which starts at the market. The museum inside is interesting, but on sunny days I would just stroll through the different courtyards and enjoy the view, beer and sausages are offered at the pub on the castle wall.
Romantic stay in Seßlach
Seßlach (20 minutes from Coburg) still is surrounded by the medieval city wall, cobble stone streets and original houses from the 17th century make it to a perfect drawbook-town. Actually, is was the stage for some movies, like Luther and Räuber Hotzenplotz. At the market place you find one of the few commune breweries, the Roter Ochse, you get the beer only here, right from the tap. If you travel in summer you might see the storck’s nest inhabited, you can see it from the stone bridge at the Rothenberger town gate.
Foodie map Franconia