Many years ago I planned a trip to do the 13 Brewery Trail. I saw the 33 km/13 brewery route as a three-day trip with two overnight stays in villages with breweries, ideally spread out evenly. Even though it was November, I found out it wasn’t all that easy to secure said rooms. I wound up finding an apartment in Litzendorf, which wasn’t even on the trail but set centrally. I didn’t really have a good map, no Smart Phone, no Google Maps and the weather was dismal. We still had fun but I vowed to return for a more full experience.
our first trip on the 13 Brewery Trail was fun if not perfect
Years later, I wound up doing tours on the route but it’s always been the second part of it and always done in a day. I know the route now and smartly have a Smart Phone too. So, though I’d returned often, it wasn’t exactly like I had vowed. When researching Beer Hiking Bavaria, I wanted to include something from this amazing area but the full hike was outside the scope of the book so I found a circuit route that took in Schammelsdorf, Tiefenellern and Lohndorf. I also managed to get a room in Schammelsdorf and thus Knoblach became the chosen featured brewery for the hike. We hiked in on the 13 Brewery Trail from Memmelsdorf just in time for a great Rauchbieranstich at Knoblach.
the route in & the Rauchbieranstich
The next morning was a bit fuzzy after the previous night’s festivities and to say we were glad to not be hiking out to Strullendorf but doing the Blue Diamond circuit is an understatement. After a nice breakfast, we set off on a crisp morning and were happy for the hill before us to warm up. The trees were mostly bare, it was still February after all.
the Blue Diamond route proved scenic
The Blue Diamond trail followed the 13 Brewery Trail for much of the way, along with a few other long distance routes but by continuing on it rather than following the shorter path to Tiefenellern, we got a great view of Lohndorf below before dropping down to Brauerei Hönig for our first and much needed beer of the day.
the small village of Tiefenellern & its Brauerei Hönig
We kept ourselves to one Lagerbier and though tempted by the Knochla, we decided to make our way to Brauerei Reh before it closed at noon. They don’t have a pub so I’d never managed to get there in time but I wanted to at least finally check out their Stehauschank. The hike over was familiar but it was a fine day for February so we enjoyed it, especially after getting fortified.
the stroll to Lohndorf
Though Reh is mostly just a place to pick up cases, the owners were quite friendly and happy to have people stop in for a beer. There was a cooler full of an assortment of their beers and you went up to the office to pay for whatever you drank on the honor system. I asked for a glass and they had no problem with providing one. We had a very tasty Rauchbier and the brewer seemed happy to see me take my time pouring my beer with a big impressive head.
having a Rauchbier at Brauerei Reh
They were ready to close up and we were more than ready for lunch so we wandered up the street to the equally elusive Brauerei Hölzlein. I’d finally made it inside the previous summer after a few times being thwarted by early closings or the dreaded Betriebsurlaub. We had sat in the shady Biergarten out back the last time but as good as the weather was for February, it was still too cold for that. It was nice to enjoy the cozy interior. The Schnitzel and Cordon Bleu were spot on. The Vollbier was in great form too. The chatty owner was pouring and serving the beers, lamenting the closure of nearby Brauerei Krug and hinting that another might soon go by the wayside.
a great lunch stop at Brauerei Hölzlein
After lunch and a few beers, the hike back to Schammelsdorf was fun with some creative photos taken, Vollbier-inspired no doubt.
the walk back to Schammelsdorf
We were pretty tired by the time we got back to our B&B but after a quick shower, we were back out, off to Brauerei Knoblach for dinner and a few celebratory Rauchbiers. I’m sure I had one too many but it was an early-ish night despite having a room just up the street. We’d have a long walk to Strullendorf in the morning. There would be a stop or two, a brewery or two, a beer or two, and we’d have finally completed the 13 Brewery Trail. A vow kept would be a dream come true.
Schammelsdorf 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.
Guided Beer Hiking out of Bamberg: