Our trip to four brewery Forchheim was uneventful despite the rail replacement bus that took us there. As the S Bahn line was being extended, no trains were running, but the efficient buses were fine, though DB seemed to have decided to oversee the operation with their dumbest employees, particularly at the Forchheim end.
Forchheim is a quite lovely town, with ancient buildings everywhere and a poignant Jewish memorial reminding us of darker times. A little river runs through it and we enjoyed the stroll round until, by happenstance, we arrived at Sattlertorstrasse where it seems there are two brewpubs. Actually, I'd been looking forward to this. We've been selling Neder beers at the GBBF for years and here was a chance to try them in situ. Next door was Brauerei Hebendanz which Ronbo mentions fondly and accurately here.
We started at Hebendanz, though noting it is now a smoking pub, E sat outside on the self service tables, while I braved the smoky interior. My first impression was that everyone had at least two cigarettes going at once, some maybe three. There is a corridor and one room and as Ron remarks, it is simply full of oddballs. I looked though the gloom, seeking out Ron's waxy faced pal, but he didn't seem to be there. No worry, there was plenty Adams Family escapees to be going on with. The kellerbier was tasty and cheap. I had two before we nipped along to Neder where no smoking is allowed and contrastingly, everything seemed normal. The kellerbier was fine, but not as good as that of Hebendanz. E didn't like it, so asked me to fetch her a bottle of pils. This is well within my German capabilities. A bottle was duly produced and I was then asked a perplexing question. It perplexed me, as I didn't understand a word of it. My blank look brought a reply in German. "Would I like a glass?" Now this part of Franconia has some impenetrable dialects - just try reading some of the handwritten notices - but this was it in action.
Having established that Greifbrau's pub along the street was closed for good and that Eichhorn was on a ruhetag (rest day) we walked up to the Josef Greif Brauerei where Ron mentions you can get a beer. You can. In an odd little garden, sandwiched beween the keg and bottling plants, there is a few tables and a hatch dispensing pils and kellerbier. Both were excellent and we watched the various beery goings on at the brewery happily enough, before a meal and some more beer in town.
Forchheim really is a great little town and recommended very highly, just watch out for the denizens of Hebendanz.
On our return to Bamberg I settled the conflicting information from the two DBahn eejits posted there about which of two buses left first, by simply asking in German "Is this first? Yes or no?" That sorted it!
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. He also judges beer at both the International Beer Challenge and the World Beer Awards.
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