Franken - Home of Beer.
Experience Franconia’s Beer and Brewing Heritage
Undeniably, a beer fresh from the tap is always a delicious experience. But in case of a fresh, Franconian beer, the experience goes well beyond just the taste buds. Drinking fresh, Franconian beer also immerses you in the centuries-old beer brewing traditions that are inextricably linked to the people and the local culture. Franconia does take its beers seriously: Here you find the highest density of breweries in the world. There are more varieties of beer on tap in Franconia than you can fathom. Beer is front, back and center in Franconia, as you can witness at any of the numerous beer festivals, beer tours, unique beer-related customs and events. The slogan “Franconia – Where Beer is at Home” holds true! It is also the title of the booklet by the Tourist Board of Franconia. The booklet is published in cooperation with the Private Beer Breweries Association of Bavaria (Private Brauereien Bayerns e.V.) with the purpose of introducing you to the huge variety of beer-related offerings in Franconia.
Franconia is home to about 300 breweries. These include large, historic breweries, smaller family-owned ones, community breweries, as well as brew pubs. The latter may produce less than 1,000 hectoliters of beer per year and their beer production is solely for consumption on site. The enormous variety of breweries is reflected in an even more impressive array of beer varieties. Every brew is different and every brewery offers at least one totally unique specialty beer. Just look at the names: Rauchbier, Zwickelbier, Eisbock, Kellerbier… The list could go on forever.
Franconia’s beer brewers pride themselves on the quality of their products. Quality starts with the ingredients: In Franconia, beer is made using fresh spring water from the Rhoen region, aromatic hops from Spalt or locally grown, first-quality barley. Franconian beers can be experienced with all senses thanks to the many beer-related offerings on tap. There are beer-themed hiking trails and bike paths, such as the brewery trails in the Ahorntal Valley, in the towns of Heiligenstadt or Aufsess. There are beer and brewery museums such as the “Maisels Brauerei- und Büttnermuseum” in Bayreuth or the “Bayerisches Brauereimuseum” in Kulmbach. The beer education goes beyond just the “dry” teaching of knowledge…
The initiative “Franconia – Where Beer is at Home” was started to provide hands-on beer-related experiences. The listings include outstanding brew pubs and, of course, authentic beer festivals. The latter are immensely popular public events that bring people together for more than just the enjoyment of beer. Prime examples are: The Bergkirchweih in Erlangen, the Annafest in Forchheim, the Michaeliskirchweih in Fuerth, or the Schlappentag in Hof. They all combine Franconian traditions and heritage, and they are all welcoming visitors to join their celebrations.
Aside from the Private Brauereien Bayerns e.V., the initiative “Franconia – Where Beer is at Home” is also joined by the Verkehrsverbund Grossraum Nürnberg (VGN), the public transportation consortium for the Nuremberg region. The VGN is an important partner because public transportation is the preferred method of travel for anybody enjoying a few “seidla” of Franconian beer. The VGN services the core region of the Franconian beer country. Its trains and busses stop at all the major destinations. Whether you are interested in visiting any of the lovely beer and brewery museums or want to explore the local brew cellar scene, the VGN will get you there and back. Beer cellars are a holdover from the days before refrigeration, when locals dug caves into the rock cliffs in the woods outside of town to have cold storage for their brews. Industrious brewers have since enticed consumers to come to the cellars to enjoy their beers super-fresh. To this day, going “to the cellars” has remained a hugely popular undertaking.
In Franconia, beer is literally everywhere. Franconia is crisscrossed by beer-themed hiking trails, bike paths and so called discovery trails. Examples include the “Bierquellenweg” trail, the beer road in Aischgrund, beer and burg routes, and boat tours with the theme “Baroque and Beer.” Franconian beer can be enjoyed in as many ways as there are varieties of beer - and you don’t even have to actually drink one. Beer is also a favorite ingredient used by many Franconian chefs.
The booklet “Franconia – Where Beer is at Home” is available for free from the Tourist Board of Franconia. The same information can be obtained from the website www.frankentourismus.com/specials/culinary-delights/beer/ where you can also find GPS coordinates for your destinations.