Vollbier. Perhaps the most confusing of all beer names and mostly no longer used outside of Franconia. It’s not a full beer as in twice as much as a half beer. That would be too easy. Breweries use the term to refer to their full strength and thus full-flavored beer. It would contrast with say, their Schankbier, a weaker and surely less flavorful beer. Unfortunately for me, even though I’d read books saying as much and that it meant nothing with regard to color, I took that to mean a dark beer. It probably didn’t help that many of the first I had were on the darker side but I can’t use that as an excuse because the very first was Witzgall Vollbier, a decidedly golden brew. Two classics are Huppendorfer Vollbier and Lindenbräu Vollbier, both amber nectars of the gods and ones best sampled at their respective brewpubs. Also, head to Hetzeldorf to try the marvelous Penning Vollbier or Ebing for the hoppy Schwanen-Bräu Vollbier, two more in the darker fold. Slighly lighter in color but not flavor is Frauendorfer Vollbier. Golden ones I’ve found to be very tasty include: Hölzlein Vollbier from Lohndorf, Stern-Bräu Vollbier from Schlüsselfeld, Alt Vollbier Hell from Dietzhof and Schrüffer Vollbier from Priesendorf. When I got a dark beer at Schrüffer, I assumed it was the Vollbier but later found out it was a special Festbier. That shows you I still have my preconceptions despite knowing better.
Vollbier may be just a name but full in flavor just the same
What’s a Vollbier. They can be pretty much any color but hover around 5%. The amber ones seem to be maltier but not sweet in any way. The best are on the dry side and are very much full in flavor. How do you know when you get a good one? You want another.