Franconia beer tour
Many visitors to Bavaria skip Franken (Franconia), the northern part of the Free State of Bavaria (Freistaat Bayern), in favor of the stunning Alpine scenery in the south – that´s fine with me, keeps it a hidden gem. However, for wine and beer lovers and history buffs, Franconia is a must-see destination. The province splits up in a wine- and a beer part, this article is devoted to beer, so if you are a member of the wine fraction, please follow this link: Franconia – Wineland
Breweries in Franconia
According to the web site bierland-oberfranken.de:
“More than 1,000 different beers are brewed in “Beer Country” Upper Franconia. Upper Franconia has more breweries than every country in Europe and worldwide this speck of land is only beaten by the USA, China and Russia”.
So there is a brewery for every 5500 people living there. Compare this with the USA with over 200,000 people per brewery and you get an idea how much they are into beer. The huge palette of beer specialties – dark full-bodied beers, delicious variations of Pils, refreshing wheat beers as well as smooth bock beers – makes the choice pretty hard for the traveller.
What are known as beer gardens in the south are called beer cellars in the north. But don´t think of a dark and musty cellar room – you don´t sit in the cellar, you sit on top of it! The ancient underground cellars to store the beer and keep it cool during the summer are usually located in idyllic rural settings. They planted chestnut trees to shade the area, set up a few beer tables and served beer, guests had to bring their own food. So, don´t wonder when people in this area invite you to go “auf die Keller“ , literally „on the cellar“!
In the past, many beers ranked as smoke beers, simply because the open fire was the only possible method of drying the malt for most brewers. In Bamberg the brewers cultivated this tradition, defended it through all modern technical changes and Rauchbier is still brewed by two breweries and is served at the town’s beer gardens. It might not be your cup of tea, but at least you should try! Read more about Franconia