The Fox out of the Bocks

Sometimes even good plans just don’t pan out. I’d found a great little hike called the Rundwanderweg Fuchs (Fox circuit) which was only 8 km and passed through what appeared a dense forest. My publisher had requested circuit hikes which ended at a brewery and the Fox did just that. The authentic countryside Adler-Bräu Bräustübla was set in a cute little Franconian village resplendent with half-timbered houses to boot.

 the cute little village of Stettfeld

There were a few problems with the plan, which became apparent when looking for a room and also public transport to the village. Both were limited. When looking at a topographical map, I noticed that the Fox coincided with the 7-Flüsse Wanderweg, a 200 km long distance route which takes in a large chunk of this area. It looked to be the easiest way to get to Stettfeld and while I initially planned to keep the Fox as the hike for Beer Hiking Bavaria, staying in Bamberg and using this section not only to get to the village but as the book hike now made more sense.

 the Fox & 7 Rivers meet

Starting at the Ebelsbach train station, the route offered views of the Ebelsberg before passing a funky old castle with a murkier present than past. Its somewhat decrepit state fit the dreary day I’d chosen and soon I found myself hiking by old disused Bierkellers and over the hill I’d just seen.

 Ebelsbach castle and Ebelsberg

After the initial climb through the forest, it was a flat open walk before descending with views of Stettfeld in the distance. I saw the sign for the Fox and thought about doing it too but the weather was less than stellar and more time to drink beer sounded the better option.

the views of Stettfeld as you drop into the village

According to the village welcome sign, the little settlement dates back to 1225 but Adler-Bräu has only been there since 1730. That’s still given them plenty of time to perfect their beer and that they have. I first had their Altfränkisches Lagerbier at Bamberg’s Sandkerwa a few years ago and it was our favorite new find of the weekend. I later learned they had a Bock and made immediate plans to visit the pub when it would be on tap. We pulled up on a icy cold but sunny Friday only to find a Betriebsurlaub notice on the door. It was only to be closed one extra day but it just happened to be the day we stopped by. Thankfully, I remembered there was another Schwarzer Adler just up the road and in the direction we were headed no less. Eichhorn was on my ever growing places to go anyway and as chance would have it, they had an amazing Bock on tap that day. Sometimes you just get lucky even on an unlucky day.

a closed pub & lucky find

On this day, the old Bräustübla might not have looked as pretty as that first visit but when I pushed the door, it opened and the interior sure looked cozy. The brewer was manning the taps until he was called away to lunch by his wife but not before serving me one perfectly poured Lagerbier. The wife soon appeared and explained I could have what they were having, but I opted for an ample plate of Dosenfleisch since it’s not something I see in southern Bavaria, where I live.

having a Lagerbier in the cozy Schwarzer Adler

The brewer was back in time for my next beer, their popular Stettfelder Pils and now asked me where I was from and how I’d made my way to his little corner of Franconia. I told him about my upcoming book and he was happily intrigued to be included in it. I also reiterated the story about coming for his Bock some months prior only to find the pub closed. He shrugged and said I’d have to come for his Bockbieranstich in November but I said it wasn’t easy to find a place to stay in the small village, to which he explained he’d find a place for me if I made it there. His eyes drifted up towards the ceiling as he said it so I assume he meant above the pub.

Dosenfleisch & the Stettfelder Pils

After another Lagerbier, I bid him farewell and went outside unsure of my course of action. I could have done the Fox but I knew I’d wind up back at the pub in a couple hours and still have to make my way back to Bamberg. No, the Fox and the Bocks would have to wait for another day. I could have walked back the way I’d come, pleasant enough but no real adventure in that. So, I walked up by the main square and waited for the bus, always an adventure in small village Franconia.

my companions while I waited

If it hadn’t shown up, I’d have walked back to Ebelsbach but it was timely and I jumped aboard, feeling a little smug about my successful outing and even potential room for the Bockbieranstich, managed amazingly enough to me in German. I’d like to tell you I went directly back to Bamberg and enjoyed perhaps my favorite town but as the bus approached Dörfleins, I got the brilliant idea to jump off and grab a beer at the Eichhorn Schwarzer Adler. When I went to enter, on the door was a sign. Wouldn’t you know it, Betriebsurlaub.

Stettfeld lies in Upper Franconia (Oberfranken in German). There are twenty-five hikes in this region in my book Beer Hiking Bavaria along with another 25 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.

It’s available in both English and German:
beer hiking bavaria book coverbierwandern bayern buch

Guided Beer Hiking out of Bamberg:

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