In Hirschaid, a dead and alive little town near Forchheim in Franconia is Brauerei Kraus. It has a good reputation and a decent sized beer garden. We located it easily enough and walked in past the pub itself and into the pleasant, tree shaded beer garden which doubled as the brewery yard. The brewery, a traditional tower affair, looked a good size.
Ordering from the hatch, I had an excellent kellerbier, while E started off on the pils which she liked. The place was busy at two in the afternoon with a good mixture of types. Suddenly singing started. From one corner, a group of old men, conducted by another old man, burst into song. These were traditional folk songs and were sung with obvious enjoyment, while being warmly appreciated by the audience. We all clapped at the break, while the old guys refreshed themselves with bier and schnapps. The final piece was recognisable as our National Anthem though obviously with different words. This confused some US Army civilians who clearly thought it was an American tune. It confused us for a moment too.
We supped our beers and enjoyed the simple pleasures of beer and bonhomie and joined in the well deserved round of applause when it all finished. Germany is full of surprises.
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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