Don’t Look Back at Kloster Kreuzberg

We’d arrived before the swelling legion of pilgrims had become out of hand. We were at Kloster Kreuzberg for the first time in fifteen years. While true it’s popularity had grown, much of the quagmire was due to COVID-restrictions and barriers in place to help enforce them. Still, having to wait in line for the Biergarten seemed an added hoop to jump through just to check into our room.

some images of early visits

It was only natural to think back fondly at previous visits. I met and fell in love with a German girl in 2002 and she’d been taking me on lots of beery excursions into the Franconian countryside. Many of the villages were uninteresting but this excursion had included a stop in pretty medieval Seßlach, which she found charming. Though she wasn’t Catholic, the the overnight stop at a hilltop monastery sounded allluring. The room turned out to be quite spartan with a rather large-for-such-a-small-room crucifix its only adornment. We were a couple years from getting married so I felt a need to tuck it in a drawer for the night. It was a fun evening in the atmospheric bustling ceiling pub. From memory, the Klosterbier was heavenly.

a fun first night at Kloster Kreuzberg in 2003

We made our way through to find the hotel check-in surprisingly empty. We soon found out that was because you couldn’t actually check in for another hour. My wife talked the receptionist into letting us pay, saying we’d pick up the key after having lunch. We got a parking pass and went to put it in the car. We then found out we had to wait in line again to get a table in the Biergarten. Of course, the line was much longer as it was time for lunch. No sooner had we secured a table and I found myself first waiting in the food line and then in the drinks line. This is stupidly typical in such places but made doubly irritating by all the other lines, not to mention all the COVID-barriers. Back at the table, we were finally able to partake.

some tasty treats at Kloster Kreuzberg

It wasn’t the greatest weather but the forecast had been for showers and they hadn’t shown up so I went in for another beer and made sure to get a liter mug this time. After waiting, I could see why most people were drinking them. While it would have been easy to just sit there drinking, one of the reasons for the trip, besides a stroll down memory lane, was to do a full hike. We’d only walked up to the big crucifix on the hill on prior visits and I’d had some hikes picked out for Beer Hiking Bavaria, but had not been able to return in time for its deadline. First, we had to check in but with COVID restrictions in place, only three people were allowed in the reception area. Despite our having paid, we still had to wait in line to get our key. This could have been avoided by giving us the key earlier but that would have been too easy. Keys in hand, we headed back to the car down in the parking lot and dragged everything back up to the room. The room had been updated but it was still fairly unadorned and in no way worth 130€. Now we were stuck with the dilemma of whether to return our table token. We decided we’d waited long enough and that by staying in what was truly an over-priced room on the premises, we “deserved” our own table. Off we trudged on the hike, token in tow.

a pretty walk on the Kreuzberg

We started off with the familiar climb up to the Kreuzberg. Everyone does it and we’d already done it twice on previous visits but any hike I’d include in a future edition would have to integrate it. I had two loops scoped out and with time dwindling there was no question the shorter of the two would have to suffice. We made our way towards a Biergarten I’d spotted on the map but when it was apparent it was not open despite it being a Saturday in August, we decided to turn back. It was down a fairly steep hill and my knee had been acting up. We made our back via a very short loop, enjoying the views despite the ominous looking weather.

  strolling back to the Kloster

We now had wristbands designating us as hotel guests so we could skip the queue, well since we’d kept the token. Otherwise, we would have had to go through that whole mess again. Our table was still open and since I’d never checked out on my Luca App, I didn’t have to re-check in. According to the log, we’d been sitting there for over five hours. We’d managed to check into our room, do a short hike and squeeze in a couple beers and a snack. It still sure seemed like a lot of hours but I guess times flies when you’re waiting in lines.

just in case there is a second edition

I got us both big beers this time and I snapped a shot of the book with the beer in case it ever gets included. It was already colder and eating outside didn’t seem the wise move. We’d come all this way and had paid a lot for the room so we wanted to ensure we could drink right up to the 8 PM curfew. My wife went up to exchange our outside table for one inside. I’d had a look and there were plenty of tables in the same cozy room we’d sat once upon a time. She was there longer than I’d expected and returned obviously irritated. The woman had told her all the tables inside were reserved, to which my wife replied that seemed odd since the hotel had told us there were no reservations allowed. My wife rarely lashes out but I guess she’d given her a good dose as the woman soon came to our table with a seat token for inside. It wasn’t in the cozy room. It was in a big cavernous conference room with absolutely no atmosphere. In a visible room off to the side was a much nicer row of tables with lovely views. That there were open spots in there too only added to the insult of our placement as hotel guests.

 Obazda & Klosterbier

We weren’t super hungry but enjoyed some Obazda, perhaps the best accompaniment to such a beer anyway. After we finished eating, I got us another beer and suggested we just sit in the nice room at a table with view. The worst they could do would be to kick us out. We could always bring the beer back to our room. It’s not really in my wife’s German nature to flaunt the rules but I think she’d had enough too. So, we did just that. I think for the first time all day, I could finally enjoy the beer for what is was, a good if not mind-blowing Franconian session beer. Expectations are a funny, the higher they are, the harder they are to meet. I’d had this beer for the first time in the very early stages of my Franconian beer explorations. Since that time, I’d had about seven hundred others. Some of those weren’t as good as this one but many of them were far better. This included the previous night which we’d spent at Brauerei Bayer in Theinheim. No, the Klosterbier was no match for those beers. We were also dealing with chasing an experience, a first time one and a return. Spread out by so many years and you’re comparing a time when you are in your early 40s and early 60s. Well, for me. You can knock off 20 years for my wife. I don’t know whose gap makes more of a difference but I do know your ages changes your perception, perhaps making you more critical. Looking back is probably best avoided, especially when it comes to beer experiences, but it’s an exercise many succumb to and I guess this won’t be the last time for me. My wife said we can come back to Kloster Kreuzberg when I’m 75. Hopefully by then, COVID will be a thing of the past and I won’t have to wait in so many lines.

Next up, we stopped at Brauerei Schmitt in Thuringia.

Beer Hiking Bavaria is available in both English and German:

beer hiking bavaria book coverbierwandern bayern buch

2 thoughts on “Don’t Look Back at Kloster Kreuzberg

  1. Janet and I have returned to places after years have gone by and I think, in general, you are probably correct with your premise. We returned to eat at the San Francisco restaurant we dined at after we got engaged in 1979 about ten years later and it was terrible.

    I guess the key is not elevating expectations.

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