Friday, March 30, 2012

Bamberg Day Five (Thursday)

I have a warm spot for Klosterbrau. It was the first place I visited on my first trip to Bamberg. It was October and they had a bock and it was simply marvelous. 

Their kitchen is pretty good, so I headed there for beer and dinner.

The "signature beer" is the Braunbier ("Brown Beer"). It is basically a darkish amber lager. The other regular beer is the Schwärlza or "Little Black") -- it is basically a dunkel, again on the darker side.

I ordered a Braunbier and the "Bierhaxe" -- basically a smallish schweinehaxe with a beer sauce.  The Braunbier was very disappointing. In fact, if I hadn't ordered food I might have just left. It had an off flavor that was hard to describe. Once I got past that there was the flavor or rancid butter. That says to me INFECTION!

On the other hand, the Haxe was very nice. The skin was crispy and the meat tender There was the right amount of sauce for the kloss.

My plan was to have a Schwärzla but I couldn't stand the thought of another beer there, so I left when I was  done eating.

I had an appointment with some people at Stöhrenkeller on the Stephansberg so I headed up there. It turns out they were all early too, so it was good.

One person hadn't eaten so they ordered a Schinkenbrot ("Ham Bread"). This was a local cured ham on a dense buttered pumpernickel type bread.  We were all offered a piece -- it was delicious. Even though I had just eaten a haxe, I almost ordered one. Went with beer instead...

The Schlenerkla Lagerbier is still rare enough for me that I started with that.

While it was still good, I don't think I liked it as much as the other day. To me, it was just missing an extra "oomph" I think it would be much better unfiltered. Of course, it is only 4.3% alcohol so you can call it a session beer.

I switched to the Drei Kronen (Gänstaller Bräu) Kellerbier. That was just what the doctor (who was sitting next to me) ordered.

The rest of the evening would be boring to see. Glass after glass of kellerbier, so I'll just leave it at that.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Bamberg Day Four (Wednesday)

Work intruded Wednesday -- that plus the late night before -- so I got a late start off. First stop was Cafe Abseits.

By the way, for those of you walking (or coming in on the train) the rear exit from the Bamberg station is open, which cuts a lot of time off the walk. 

My "standard" beer there is the Mönchsambacher Lager so I started with one.  This is one of my all time favorite beers, so do no miss it if you get the chance.

Soon after, Gerhard Schoolmann, the proprietor, joined me, bringing a bottle of tthe Weyermann Imperial Stout.

The week before I had drunk a number of Imperial Stouts at the Fred Bar in Atlanta. This held up well with them. The alcohol was "only" 8.7% and it was more along the traditional English Imperial Stouts (they did event the beer, after all) not the hoppy and stronger American cousins.

I had an appointment at Spezial so I just had time to try the Josephi Bock from Brauerei Grasser in Huppendorf.

I need to try it again without the Imperial Stout aperitif -- it was good but a little sweeter than I like. I would choose the Keesmann first, but this would be a close second.

A had some time for a couple beers with a friend at Spezial...

Then my ride came and we all headed out to Strassgiech, to the Zoiglstube at Drei Kronen.

This an Andreas Gänstaller's place -- he does the brewing and his wife runs the kitchen. Both are very good. He just had his kellerbier on that evening...

My standard dinner there is the Biertreberschnitzel - -a schnitzel breaded with spent grains. As always, it was wonderful.

And later came by with some glasses of his next beer, a "smoked Märzen" -- along the general lines of Schlenkerla. It was very nice, but I don't think Schlenkerla is in any danger.

Speaking of Schlenkerla, I didn't stop there on the way home for a beer or three. But in the Scheme the crowd wasn't the sort that encourage pictures, so you'll just have to take my word for it. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Bamberg Day Three (Tuesday)

I've been having internet connection problems. So just pictures for now of my visit to Greifenklau, Spezial Keller and Stöhrenkeller...

Late Night Snack

Bamberg Day Two (Monday)

A little too much the first day, so I took it a bit easier -- at least at the start.

I headed over to Fässla for an early dinner.

They have two beers on draft at the brewery, Gold-Pils and Lagerbier. The Pils is my go-to beer there, for for many it is the Lagerbier...

Fässla Gold-Pils

I had to wait a bit for the dinner menu. I started with a Zucchini-Mushroom soup. An interesting combination that was very good,

Main course was roast pork in a mushroom sauce with Kloss (a/k/a starch Tennis balls).

After a couple of Pils I gave the Lagerbier a try, Sometimes it has a bit too much diacetyl  (which can give it a buttery flavor) but this one didn't. A nice beer but I still prefer the Pils.

Fässla Lagerbier
When I was at Mahr's yesterday, Keesmann was closed. Their bucks are usually pretty good and I wanted to check them out.

Trying to pace myself a bit, I started with their Sterla, and amber unfiltered lager.

Keesmann Sternla
I was standing in the Schweme, where you go to the window and order a beer. Standing and drinking does have a self-regulating factor.

Then it was time for the Josphi Bock. This is a dangerous beer -- you can't really notice the alcohol, but it is there.

Keesmann Josephi Bock

Self control went out the window and I had a second. If I had been sitting I might have had a third.

On the way home Schlenkerla was still open, so I had to check that the Märzen was still in top form. It was.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Day Two in Bamberg

Sunday turned out quite nice, weather-wise. Warm and mostly sunny. There was supposed to be rain in the forecast (and I felt a few drops in the morning) but it didn't come to pass. 

I headed out to Spezial for a light lunch.

Soup and a beer (Leberknodelsuppe and Lagerbier). Just enough to take the edge off ones hunger.

After another beer for desert, I headed down to Mahr's Bräu, hoping to try Der Weisse Bock -- Mahr's Lenten wheat bock. When I got there I saw the sign and got my hopes up...

...but alas, they had sold out. It was to early for the "U" so I had the helles...

 ...which was quite nice. As you can see from the picture, I was sitting outside in the courtyard. The tables in direct sunlight were all full, but it was warm enough that the shady ones were also nice.

By the time I was ready for another beer, the "U" had been tapped.

Last year I was a bit disappointed in the U but this was up to the old standards. So I had another.

I was about to head out but I saw one of the regulars who I had spoken with many a time. He only drinks the regular Mahr's Weisse, so inspired by him, I decided to have one. It has been many years since I had the regular wheat beer. It was quite nice: a bit of estery banana in the nose but none in the taste and nicely tart and just enough phenolics ("clove") to make it interesting. I won't wait years for my next one, that is for sure.

One of the think that impresses me about Mahrs is they brew both very good lager and wheat beers.

Gotta run -- my bicycle is ready -- enjoy the pictures --- you can figure out the story, I'm sure.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Arrived in Bamberg

After a 30 minute delay on the ICE (causing me to miss my connection) -- you definitely can't set your watch these days by Deutsche Bahn -- I arrived in Bamberg.

I am staying at "Schloss Wetzel" -- Frank Wetzel's nice "Holiday Apartment" (Ferienwohnung) in the Bamberg Old Town. From the apartment is a very short walk to Schlenkerla...

Where I had my first beer, the Schlenkerla Fastenbier. This is a seasonal beer, served during Lent, is not as smokey as the regular Schlenkerla Märzen and a bit higher in alcohol. It is also unfiltered.

The Fastenbier was very good, but I think last year's was better. Of course, last years Fastenbier was the best one they ever brewed so that is a pretty high bar to jump.

Of course, I had to have a Märzen as well...

I have a new camera, Sony DSC-HX9V so I'm taking pictures of things of which I already have too many. These were taken from the Unter Brücke ("Lower Bridge")

The camera has a "wide screen" mode, so I took a similar picture using that...

After running some errands (groceries, getting a bicycle, etc.) I realized I hadn't really had anything to eat since breakfast on the plane. It was early for dinner, so I easily got a table at Schlenkerla. Of course, a aperitif was in order...

The soup of the day was "Forellencremesuppe"  or "Trout Cream Soup." That sounded interesting, so I had a bowl.

That thing in the center was a piece of trout stuffed with a vegetable puree. It was good but a bit unusual.

For the main course I had a Bamberg Onion -- one of my favorites. It is a large onion stuffed with a ground meat and mashed potatoes and a sauce made from the Märzen.

I was in the Dominikanerklause -- the room to the right as you enter. They recently did some renovations and discovered that under the decades of cigarette smoke was a beautiful inlaid ceiling. I thought I'd share some pictures of it taken by just setting the camera on the table, pointing upward.

That's it for the first afternoon/evening in Bamberg. Stay tuned for more....