They say becoming one with nature requires sacrifice but after a few beers at Sonnen-Bräu in Mürsbach, you can be excused for feeling impervious. If you haven’t heard of Mürsbach, I can assure you it’s worth investigating. The quaint hamlet is chock-a-block with half-timbered houses and while it wouldn’t perhaps warrant an hour bus journey from Bamberg sans Sonnen-Bräu, that world-class brewery is very much the center of the small unassuming village.
Sonnen-Bräu in Mürsbach
We first ventured there via canoe and that trip remains perhaps our favorite of all Franconian excursions. I’d read not overly flattering and surely old reviews of Sonnen-Bräu so to be honest, the canoe part of the trip was the real draw.
the canoe trip to Mürsbach
I couldn’t have been more wrong about the beer and Sonnen-Bräu proved to be a more than a worthy destination in itself, with not only excellent Franconian standard beers but also one of the best IPAs I’ve had in Germany. Toss in tasty food and a surprisingly charming Biergarten and a favorite was born.
That winter, I discovered a bus from Bamberg which afforded a 90 minute Mürsbach visit window and I enjoyed an excellent Friday lunch in their cozy pub. It, however, sadly didn’t work as well on weekends, generally when we’re in the smoky jewel.
a cozy winter visit
We’ve tried to do the canoe trip again a few times but have never managed to book early enough. So, we decided to head out on the one bus available on a Saturday, later in the afternoon than we´d have liked. It meant walking back but the route would largely follow the river so similar scenery-wise than the paddle. Of course, not paddling had the advantage of being able to sample more beers, including their new to the regular line-up Lager. My wife fell in love with their Zwickel Pils.
an afternoon visit did the trick
Another reason for the excursion was to check out a friend’s suggestion, the Goldener Adler. This is the former Brauerei Feiler, which sadly closed in 2002 after 244 years of brewing. Thankfully, the museum-piece Gasthaus remains open with excellent beer from Wattendorf’s Brauerei Dremel. The Biergarten out back is also particularly atmospheric.
a walk back in time at Goldener Adler & a new friend
We should have probably left after our beer there but the lure of the gravity-dispensed Kellerbier at Sonnen-Bräu beckoned. It hadn’t been tapped earlier and it was a glorious summer day, a rarity in Franconia in 2021. It was worth the delay and it led to our meeting a new friend who bid us farewell as we walked out of Mürsbach.
say hello to our little friend
It also appeared to be great timing for photos, with the sun going down and everything man- and nature-made aglow. It seemed a befitting great end to an amazing day until a familiar whining whispered in my ear, followed by the sight of a few black specks on my wife’s dress. Mosquitoes. They love dusk light too.
pretty as the sun goes down
Needless to say, the walk back was a lot quicker than we had planned. The photos taken came at a price but we escaped with only a few bites thanks to a brisk pace.
Mönchsambacher Lager at the Obere Mühle
Oddly enough, at the Obere Mühle Biergarten in Rattelsdorf, which is set on still water, there were none of our winged adversaries. Perhaps we’d already paid the price of admission to paradise. And when you’re talking about a beery paradise like this, it’s well worth paying even in blood for such barley nectar worthy of the gods.
If you’re looking to get a taste of the Franconian countryside and to visit some small regional breweries, join Beer Hiking Bavaria author Rich Carbonara for a beer hiking adventure:
Beer Hiking Bavaria is available in both English and German: