What could be more enchanting than Bamberg’s cathedrals, castles, and rose garden? For some visitors, its beer.
Bamberg’s historic breweries craft over 50 types of beer, most notably the regional specialty of Rauchbier (smoke beer). An acquired taste for the uninitiated, this dark beer tastes like it sounds, like smoke. This is due to the unusual malting process where grains are smoked over a beechwood fire which is still present when it is transformed into beer.
Other Franconian Beer Specialties
If you prefer a lighter taste, Bamberg’s plethora of microbreweries frees it from the regional constraints of many other German cities. Where the North generally offers pilsners and Bavaria has a slew of Hefeweizens, there is a beer of every flavor in Bamberg. However, the traditional breweries usually only offer two to three beers on tap at a time, so sample a seidla of beer (0.5 litre)
- Kellerbier - Unfiltered and hoppy, this is usually served straight from the barrel into stone mugs.
- Zwickelbier - Similar to Kellerbier, the difference is that the beer was taken from a small tap on the maturation tank and appears hazy.
- Vollbier - Malty with a color that ranges from light gold to almost black.
- Bockbier - A heavy seasonal beer that appears in the autumn.
- Fastenbier - Only offered during Lent, this beer offers a mixture of light and smoked malt.
- Schwarzbier (Black beer) - A dark, malty lager beer that is bottom-fermented.
While each brewery offers a different atmosphere, expect to drink in the region’s Bierkeller (beer cellar). The name is a bit of a misnomer as Bamberg Bierkellers actually appear more like beer gardens. Sit "auf dem Keller" in the outdoor hillside seating which take advantage of the views of the quaint town and river, while the brewing and storage rooms are kept cool in the Keller.
In addition to the breweries in town, there are an estimated 300 breweries in the neighboring towns. Few places in the world have the density of breweries as found around Bamberg. So get out there, get drinking and explore.
Bamberg Brewery Tour
The Bamberg Tourist Office (Geyerswörthstraße 5, 96047 Bamberg; Tel: +49(0)951/2976-2005) offers a map to tour the many different breweries, or you can simply follow our recommendations.
The most famous of Bamberg's breweries is this Brauerei dating from 1405. Located in the heart of the Alstadt, this charming half-timbered building houses a traditional cellar environment, no-nonsense service and the famed Aecht Schlenkerla Rauchbier with a bacon finish.
Address: Dominikanerstraße 6, 96049 Bamberg
This peaceful, expansive biergarten provides some of the best views of all of Bamberg from Kaiserdom to the Kloster Michaelsberg. Rustic accommodations inside keep beer drinkers cozy in the winter.
Address: Sternwartstraße, 96049 Bamberg
The newest brewery offers a modern brewpub vibe with jubilant crowds that flood out onto the main street. But don't think its all about the party, the prominent copper beer boilers make it clear that the beer is the star.
Address: Dominikanerstraße 10, 96049 Bamberg
Dating back to 1670 and family owned since 1880, this brewery is known for its Mahr's Ungespundet-hefetrüb. The name is a mouthful, almost as tasty as the unfiltered, smooth, malty beer it represents. Easy to order, just ask for "u" (ooh)!
Address: Wunderburg 10, 96050 Bamberg
Located on the slant of the hillside in the mill district, this is the oldest brewery in Bamberg (since 1533). Things are done traditionally in a no-frills atmosphere, but there is little need for accessories with beer this good and a view of the Regnitz.
Address: Obere Mühlbrücke 1-3. 96049 Bamberg
Opening in the first year of peace after the thirty year war in 1649, enter through the giant factory doors to a lush biergarten. Though enclosed in greenery, two murals of the town still invite Bamberg in. Inside, wood panel walls offer Franconian specialities and a hotel in which to rest your boozy head if you have had one too many.
Address: Obere Königstraße 21, 96052 Bamberg