You can’t tell the dorfs without a scorecard

They say necessity is the mother of invention and as cliché-ridden as it may sound, it’s only because it’s so true. The 13-Brewery Trail was a wonderful idea, linking some amazing small breweries outside of Bamberg but it’s too long to do in one day if you want to do some beer drinking with your hiking. It’s also logistically impossible to visit all of the breweries in one day due to their opening hours. Speaking of opening hours, two of the breweries are now closed so you’re not getting into them unless you’re looking to buy one.

some of the remaining breweries on the route

I’ve managed to do the full hike twice, always with a night or two spent at one of the brewery towns and I can happily say I did get to all 13 breweries before they became 11 as well. I’ve been running tours on the 7-Brewery Trail (the latter part of the full route) for a few years and even that has become problematic due to reduced hours of some of the remaining pubs. It can still be done but it’s a long walk and it doesn’t have as many beer breaks as it used to so it feels even longer.

 the sadly closed Krug & the late opening Hölzlein

Last year, I had an inquiry about doing it but the group was a mixed lot fitness-wise. The leader felt a few of the people would have a hard time covering the full distance of the 7-Brewery Trail. They were to be staying in Bamberg so doing a hike from there made the most sense for them. They wanted a maximum amount of breweries in the least amount of hiking. I’d never looked at the first part of the 13-Brewery Trail as a standalone hike but it seemed to fit the bill.

dry run of the Dorf Breweries Express

I scrutinized some maps and found a connecting trail between the last and first brewery and voila, The Dorf Breweries Express was born. It packs five breweries into a little under nine kilometers.

a pretty gentle route & friendly breweries

The route is gentle and the opening hours of the pubs are very friendly.  There’s some excellent regional food on offer and some fine gravity dispensed beer at a few. A bonus is there is a fair variety of beers, something you don’t find in many small regional breweries. The last time out there, Wagner had a killer Jubiläumsbier on.

 some excellent beer & food awaits

Another nice thing is a mix of potential Biergarten/Keller stops in the warmer months and cozy pubs when the weather is less than perfect.

 fortification before the climb of the Walberla

If you’re looking to get a taste of the Franconian countryside and to visit some small regional breweries, the Dorf Breweries Express is for you. Join Beer Hiking Bavaria author Rich Carbonara for a hike on the 13-Brewery Trail, visiting Brauerei Wagner, Brauerei Hummel, Brauerei Drei Kronen, Brauerei Höhn and Brauerei Göller.

Beer Hiking Bavaria is available in both English and German:

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