Easter is a great time in Germany. Both Good Friday and Easter Monday are still national holidays so people are understandably in a good mood. Factor out the resultant traffic and Germany is also a great place for tourists to spend Easter. In this regard, it’s hard to argue that Franconia just might be the best spot of all. The Osterbrunnen tradition of colorfully decorating town fountains with Easter eggs may not date to the middle ages but its not new and seems to be gaining steam from the looks of our recent outing in the area.
Osterbrunnen or Easter fountain in Heiligenstadt i. OFr.
True, we did hit an insane amount of traffic on Thursday evening, making a 2.5 hour trip a little more than 4 but it’s all about the end game and we wound up with a lovely room at yet another fantastic Franconian brewpub: Pfister. It’s been in Weigelshofen since the mid-1800s but has undergone a nice renovation since our last time there in the 90s. It still retains all of its old world charm but small touches make all the difference.
The atmospheric Pfister brewery in Weigelshofen
Our room was spotless and modern but the food and especially the beer was what made the long trip more than worthwhile. More details here. We hope to return in summer to enjoy their fabulous Kellerbier in their cute little Biergarten out back.
Great food & beer at Brauerei Pfister
After breakfast the next morning, we drove up the road to Brauerei Först in Drüggendorf to snap a few photos. We’d planned on going the prior evening before dinner at Pfister but the 1.5 hour delay made that an unreasonable stretch. Unfortunately, it doesn’t open until late afternoon and with no time to wait around for that, it will have to be part of a future Franconian foray.
Sadly not open yet but the still cool looking Brauerei Först in Drüggendorf
No worries, not only was the brewery a scenic old half-timbered house but there was a lovely Osterbrunnen in town as well as on the edge of it.
Osterbrunnen in Drüggendorf
Though our final destination would be my wife’s family in Saxony, we had the day to play en route so made our way to Heligenstadt in Oberfranken to do a short hike and check out a couple more Franconian brewpubs along its path. On our way, we were greeted with the hilltop Castle Greifenstein acting guardian to the Oberleinleital, a pretty valley in the Fränkisches Schweiz or Little Switzerland of Franconia.
The Greifenstein Castle looming over Heiligenstadt i. OFr.
It was a busier than expected with two big tour buses filled with senior citizens come to gape at the large impressive Osterbrunnen in the old town center.
The impressive Osterbrunnen in Heiligenstadt i. OFr.
We grabbed a quick Aichinger Spezialbier at the Drei Kronen. It was a great refreshing brew but with a 10 km section of the Tummler Brauereienwanderweg to do, we pried ourselves from the cozy pub and out on the trail. It rose steeply but we were afforded even better views of the castle than we’d had coming into the valley.
Greifenstein Castle from the Panoramaweg
In fact, it was quite a scenic trail and in no time, we were dropping down to the small village of Oberleinleiter, home to Brauerei Ott. It was absolutely packed but my wife’s disarming charm secured us a spot at an otherwise jammed table. We enjoyed a great Good Friday fish meal despite the servers’ obvious inability to deal with the crowds. Their beer was a notch below the Drei Kronen but their Hellerbock went well with the excellent food.
Hellerbock & a very nice salmon meal at Brauerei Ott
The route back was relatively flat and a lot quicker with a few Osterbrunnen thrown in for good measure. I’d have loved to have another beer at the Drei Kronen but knew better than to push my luck. We were already a good two or three hours behind schedule and my wife still had that many hours left of driving.
Osterbrunnen outside Oberleinleiter & war memorial
I did, however, utilize the need to use the brewpub’s toilet as a way of buying a six-pack of their tasty Spezialbier. I have a very understanding wife and she really enjoyed the hike and meal, albeit the wait time, but she hadn’t had a beer all day and I knew when we got to her Mom’s, that six would come in handy.
My very understanding wife on the Panoramaweg to the next brewery