Bamberg the hidden capital of German Beer

Bamberg the hidden capital of German Beer

WOFLGANG SCHUEPFERLING

Travel guide

Your first sight and deep impression of Bamberg is the”Altenburg”. This old castle is perched above the city and was the residence of the Bamberg bishops in 13th and 14th century. But this is only one of the mounds, on which Bamberg is built! Like Rome, the capital of the Catholics all over the world, Bamberg is built on seven hills. And it´s easy to draw a line from the bishops to the monks and the monks are the fathers of beer.

Bamberg was founded in the 9th century AD and was first mentioned in a document in the year 902 AD. From 1014 till 1024 Bamberg was the preferred and beloved home of the Roman-German empire, of Emperor Heinrich II.

Since the foundation of the bishopric “Babenberg” in 1007, the Roman-Catholic bishop’s reign & continues till today. In the catholically tradition, beer was and is a basic food! And one of the duties and functions of the monasteries was to run the breweries. Therefore, we had and still have many, many breweries in Bamberg.

From the beginning of brewing of beer till now was a long and very interesting way. For centuries, the monks worked very carefully and responsibly. Later on, in the 13th and 14th centuries the townsfolk began to brew beer also. In the sequel of different recipes and results, partly dangerous and hard to digest, the Bavarian dukes enacted a law in 1516, called “Bayerisches Reinheitsgebot” (Bavarian Pure Law). Afterwards they were only allowed to use four ingredients: water, malt, yeast and hops.

In the following time, many little breweries came into being and a healthy competition arose. But, not only in Bamberg city, also in the surrounding areas, many little breweries were born! Within a 15-km radius we have about 40 small breweries now. And Bamberg is exactly in the middle of this area.

At the moment, Bamberg, has about 80,000 inhabitants and is a local centre for trade industry and handicraft business also. Bamberg is also a school-town with seven academic high schools and some other secondary schools and a university with 9000 students. That means Bamberg is a colourful but historic city with many young people in it. And, the best way to feel the pulse and get the feeling of this ancient town is to take a walk through the “Altstadt”, the old part of the town.

We`ll start at the historic “Old  Rathaus”, the Town Hall, which was built in the year 1386 in the middle of the river Regnitz! One part with wooden framework and on the other side a baroque building with very beautiful mural painting. Standing on the lower bridge we look downstream and can see “Kleinvenedig”, little Venice, a row of old fisher houses of the 15th century, which is every year the illuminated backdrop for the “Sankerwa”, the biggest festival in August with good regional food and still more beer. Now we walk slowly to the “Dom”, the big cathedral on one of the seven hills of Bamberg. It´s more than thousand years old. The “Bamberg Rider” in it is a well-known sculpture all over the world. Some steps beside it we are in the “Alte Hofhaltung”, the Old Court, of the bishopric, which was founded in 1007 AD. On the other side of the Cathedral Square we can see the “Neue Residenz”, the New Residence, built in 1703 by Dientzenhofer, a famous architect for the prince bishop Lothar Franz of Schönborn. After so much of culture we go down to the “Sandstraße”, the Sandstreet, and look for a good guesthouse to eat and drink something. What a surprise! After 200 hundred metres we are standing in front of the “Schlenkerla”, the world-famous brewery of “Rauchbier”, smoke beer!!

You can eat a “Bamberger Zwiebel”, a mincemeat-filled onion, and drink one or two “Seidla”, half litre, of these fresh, smoked and tasty speciality.

After then we drift to the old “Mühlenviertel”, the Old Mills, of the middle ages and wander through an old plastered lane, passing the “Böttingerhaus”, a Palace of the Baroque, to “Concordia”, the Water Castle. And, the next pleasant surprise: in the middle of the lane on the left hand we can see the next brewery, named “Klosterbräu”. It´s also a very old and traditional brewery of a monastery. If you like you can try her beer and eat a snack, inside or outside. And so on!!

In total Bamberg has 11 active breweries, and every beer has a special taste, and every brewery invites you to try it`s special kind of beer.

To sum up, I can say that Bamberg is the real capital of German, or better Bavarian or even better of Franconian beer!! But Franconia is only a little part of Bavaria: in the north of Bavaria and in the south of Germany, but in the middle of good old Europe.

Therefore, we give the message to the world: “Bamberg is the hidden capital of German beer!”

In total Bamberg has 11 active breweries, and every beer has a special taste, and every brewery invites you to try it`s special kind of beer.

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