Brauerei Wolf had escaped me not just in a physical sense but in my very consciousness of it. I had mistakenly used an admittedly great site when searching for breweries in Franconia. The problem was its sole focus being Oberfranken. It wasn’t like it was trying to hide this, it was the name of the site. Rüdenhausen, where Wolf is located, is in Unterfranken. I stumbled across mention of it on another site when one of the members listed his favorites and it seemed nearly all of them no longer existed. Of course, that was because they were all in Lower Franconia, where he lives. Now, if you think Lower Franconia lies south of Upper Franconia just because North Carolina is above South Carolina, you not only need a geography lesson but also one in German. I’m not going to get into it as showing you a map is much easier.
Franconia is the red part
Arriving in Rüdenhausen on a drizzly Friday wasn’t the most auspicious beginning but with Brauerei Wolf opening in 15 minutes, we wandered around the small and charming-in-a-quirky-way old town. If you like places with its layers of pantina peeling off, this one’s for you. You can feel the town’s one time importance and see its fading glory but it’s part of the attraction of places like this.
charming in quirky way & on a rainy day: Rüdenhausen
Brauerei Wolf is no exception and perhaps exemplifies it with a fading facade of an exterior, somewhat-seen-better-days interior but beer from the highest stratosphere. Sure, you could drink in prettier places but it’s unlikely you’ll find a beer like this and definitely not this exact beer. This is an in situ kind of drinking experience that you don’t find every day and for some, one perhaps as well left alone. For those yearning for such things, by all means go as soon as you can. The Wolf may not be around forever.
quirky but charming Brauerei Wolf
We’d made a reservation but it was obvious it wasn’t necessary, surely due to the COVID-19 situation. The owner was friendly but a bit exasperated by the restrictions and not comfortable wearing a mask. She wore it none-the-less despite it being just her, her brewer husband and us in the pub. Mr. Wolf was also quite talkative, especially once he found out how far we’d come and saw how admiring I was of his pouring of the beer we’d come for. It was a majestic dark beauty. I noticed he was enjoying his Urtyp Dunkel every bit as much I was. Once we settled into our meal, they also had lunch at a table quite far from ours. It looked to be a daily ritual and the whole place took on a visiting relatives feel. Nothing fancy, just good down home cooking.
Mr. Wolf’s lair & his wares
After lunch, it would have been easy to head up the road to Theinheim, our next stop, but the weather seemed to have eased up and there was a hike to be done. Once on the trail, we were glad we’d persevered as the forest was lush after the rain and the hilly path invigorating. It was a good way to work off the meal and beers, as well as see some of this pretty mostly known for wine countryside up close. In fact, we walked along a vineyard when we occasionally exited the largely treed route.
images from the trail near Rüdenhausen
It was a good thing the trailhead was about 20 minutes by car from Rüdenhausen or I’d have had a dilemma about having another of the Wolf wonders. There wasn’t any more time for the Wolf, if we were to stop on the dime in Theinheim.