I first made my way to the small hamlet of Nesselwang in 1997. Though nestled in the Allgäu Alps, I have no recollection of seeing them but to be fair, it was a bleak day in November and I was there entirely to sample the beers of the town’s then two breweries. In the interim, I met my wife and thought often about returning with her but with so many beery destinations closer to our home in Munich and in my favorite beer hunting grounds of Franconia, it just never came to pass.
the Allgäu Alps are an impressive range
When faced with choosing locations for my book Beer Hiking Bavaria, I was quite short in the area of Swabia. Since my publisher wanted a well-rounded collection of all of Bavaria, I scoured maps looking for hikes and breweries in their vicinity. I also consulted my old Good Beer Guide to Munich and Bavaria by Graham Lees. Lo and behold, there was Nesselwang. Though I hadn’t done any hiking there on my first very short visit, I knew there had to be an abundance of trails and with two breweries in town, I was set to expand my Swabian collection two-for-one stop.
the former Brauerei Bären
Sadly, since my first visit, one of the breweries, Brauerei-Gasthof Bären, had ceased brewing so one beer hiking entry would have to suffice. It was close enough to home to do as a day trip and as chance would have it, I wound up doing it during the week once again sans my wife. The train trip was fantastic with clear views of the mountain range the region is renowned for. Once in Nesselwang, it presented itself as a very pleasant place to base yourself if exploring the considerably beautiful area.
the charming hamlet of Nesselwang
The walk from the station to my lunch destination took me past the now defunct Bären brewery which is still open as a restaurant despite an absence of brewing and retains its name as well. Thankfully, I found the Brauerei-Gasthof Post very much open and serving up a full menu of hot meals.
the Brauerei-Gasthof Post
It was a gorgeous day but the little Biergarten in the courtyard wasn’t open for the season yet so I gladly seated myself in the cozy restaurant complete with green tiled oven. I loaded up on the carbs with a big plate of Käsespätzle and a very refreshingly tangy Weißbier.
a cozy lunch made for a great start
It was a good thing the weather was so stunning or I’d have considered having the Bock I noticed on the menu and the Weißbier was my planned beer for the hike in the book. So, I set off but popped in the church across the street to have a peek since it was the obvious focal point of the town.
old brewery sign & lovely church interior
In no time, I was strolling along the Maria Trost Allee with magnificent views of the Allgäu Alps before me…
views from the Maria Trost Allee
…and looking back and down at the Nesselwang Church I’d just briefly visited.
Allgäu Alps & Nesselwang Church
Since the hike was relatively short, so was this open stretch of the route. I soon delved into the forest and began the short but somewhat steep ascent to the small mountain church which was my first destination: Maria Trost.
into the forest & up
It may have been up but it certainly wasn’t overly hard and before I knew it, I was upon the little chapel at 1122 meters. It was simple and a lot better cared for than I’d imagined. It’s obviously very much in use and much-visited despite the effort it takes to get there.
first stop: Maria Trost
From there I headed through a still snow-laden forest to the closed skiing area which was still full of lots of the white stuff too.
Still tons of snow over 1000 meters
The descent was fun in the snow and despite the ski lift being closed, there were a few people walking their gear up and skiing down. I passed a funky snowboarders recreation area before setting eyes on the Nesselwang church. Would I have time for a beer? Only time would tell.
a fun descent
I made good time but it was still tight if I wanted to make the next train. I probably could have if I’d rushed but it was stunning light and much warmer that it had been when I arrived in town quite a few hours earlier. I snapped a few shots of the brewery and decided having their Bock was more important than getting home to make dinner.
a Bock worth being late for & views from the station
The Bock was excellent, much drier than those typically found in southern Bavaria. The server explained it was available on tap year round too, another unusual find. I was glad I’d stuck around but also that I’d had the Weißbier earlier. Hiking after drinking Bock is not a great choice in most circumstances and downhill in the snow, surely even less so.
I got back to the station to find a mountain waiting for me. My now old friend would follow me much of the way until I got back to Upper Bavaria. My wife would understand but dang, I better take her the next time I head to Nesselwang.
Nesselwang lies in Swabia (Schwaben in German). There are two hikes in this region in my book Beer Hiking Bavaria along with another 48 from all over Bavaria. Each includes detailed descriptions of the hikes as well as information on the breweries along the routes plus some tasting notes on my favorite beers at each establishment.