When it comes to cool ships, they say you can’t get enough of a good thing but two in one morning was starting to sound like a bit much to me. The advantage on my last would be I’d already enjoyed a few Zoigl with my guide Hans the day before and knew he was not only an expert on Zoigl but also on the Echter Zoigl association. That he spoke excellent English was another huge plus.
the Kommunbrahaus in Neuhaus
The tour started with something different and I was happy for the departure from mash turns and cool ships. There were some large wooden pails and a wooden device that the Zoigl brewers used to carry their wares from the Kommunbrauhaus to their Zoiglstube back in the day. I’d seen depictions of this, with two men on either side of the pail but seeing them in real life made me realize how heavy they must have been. There was also the larger metal tanks now used to transport the Zoigl. We then saw what looked like a Zoiglstube and for all purposes it is, it’s just a private one for the owners of the Neuhaus Zoiglstuben. Hans said he often was there on party days.
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some new touches to the Zoigl Kommunbrauhaus tour
We finally got to the now quite familiar brewing equipment of the communal brew houses of the Upper Palatinate Zoigl culture. This is where I got to ask some questions about the Echter Zoigl association. Hans’ good friend Kitty, who owns the Schafferhof Zoiglstube, is the head of it so he’s quite knowledgeable on the subject. It was formed to protect the name of these quite traditional Zoigl producers. Many breweries in the region have jumped on the boat and boast of making Zoigl but they do not follow the protocols that have been passed down for generations. While Echter Zoigl craftsman may no longer carry the large wooden pails on their shoulders, they do brew in a communal brew house in the Upper Palatinate and follow the six-sided star in their preparation. One triangle of the star stands for the three elements of air, fire and water so their heat is provided by fire. Four of the five Zoigl towns use wood, Mitterteich uses coal. The second triangle stands for the three ingredients of barley, hops and water. Yeast is not mentioned and appropriately enough, what is made in the brew house has no yeast added until it is brought to the individual Zoiglstuben, where fermentation takes place.
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the brewing equipment of the communal brew house in Neuhaus
I think the Echter Zoigl association is a great idea. They even tried to get an appellation designation for Zoigl but it didn’t seem possible. I think it deserves it easily as much as Cologne does for Kölsch. Even without such a designation, the Echter Zoigl symbol shows that the members follow certain protocols and helps the consumer differentiate between their product and what can be imitation. Their website is invaluable for understanding Zoigl and for finding real Zoiglstuben. What I like is they do not say that other Zoigl is not good but that it often does not follow the strict protocols of what they think Zoigl is.
Zoiglstuben of Neuhaus
I’d been to Beim Käck’n and the Teicher Zoiglstube on two previous trips and got to enjoy a Zoigl with Hans at the Bahler Zoiglstube after our tour. I’d say the Zoigl in Neuhaus is some of the hoppiest and the Zoiglstuben have been uniformly charming. Another good thing about Neuhaus is all the Zoiglstuben are members of the Echter Zoigl association. There are six in total and I look forward to getting to the other three soon, especially Schafferhof. I owe it to Hans and Kitty for all the information they’ve provided and also for giving me the okay to use the Echter Zoigl symbol in my book, Beer Hiking Bavaria. There is not only great Zoigl in this area but great hiking as well. I hope my book promotes both. It’s a region that deserves to be discovered.
If you missed the rest of the Cool Ship Series, start with Part One.
Details on Zoigl and hiking in the area available in my book Beer Hiking Bavaria.