We arrived in Bamberg to catch the last few days of the religious festival Sandkerwa which was celebrating its 60th anniversary. Bamberg is transformed from being a mere world class drinking town, into a world class drinking town with a bonus few dozen more drinking venues added, stretching along the river bank and taking up every square inch possible in the town itself. Stalls sell tacky souvenirs, bratwurst, candy floss, sweets, bratwurst, chocolates, bratwurst and beer. Lots of beer - almost as many beers stands as bratwurst ones. It is packed with people and has a wonderfully relaxed atmosphere, with families mixing easily with the more dedicated beer drinkers, of which there are quite a few.
We were met off the train by our friend Nick who lives in the area. He'd done the necessary homework and had sussed out the top drinking stands - those that dispensed " vom Bayerischen anstich" or straight from the cask. (It is a style I'm very familiar with, not just from drinking in Franconia, but that's how we serve most of our German country beers at GBBF.) We threaded our way through the crowds to the riverside and made a start. Keller bier in stone krugs from Brauerei Zehendner from Mönchsambach provided a good start. Soft and easy drinking, it was hard to tear ourselves away, so we had a few. We tried several others too though, including, Brauerei Huebner, St Georgen Brau and probably more. The softer carbonation in this style of serving is perfect for keller beer and it slides down all too easily. Do look out for it if you go there.
One word of warning for visitors to this bucolic scene. Apart from the dangers of tasty keller bier, German mosquitoes are bitey little buggers.
A bit of a CV. Tandleman is a veteran beer lover, local CAMRA Chairman and activist, beer writer, beer reviewer and pursuer of all things good in beer. He lives in the North West of England and London. Despite his CAMRA membership, he does not limit himself to cask conditioned beer, though he believes that cask conditioning, when done correctly and appropriately, brings a quality to beer that is hard to equal by any other kind of presentation. He is a strong supporter of Northern methods of beer dispense and avidly detests poorly presented beer and dislikes pasteurisation. He regularly visits Germany, has conducted corporate British and German beer tastings for CAMRA at the Great British Beer Festival where he has worked for years on Biere Sans Frontieres and was Deputy Organiser at CAMRA's very successful National Winter Ales Festival in 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 and at the Manchester Beer and Cider Festival from 2013 to date. He admires good brewers wherever they are and has travelled extensively in pursuit of good beer to drink.
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