When the conditions are right, beer hiking in winter can be not only possible but spectacular. Our recent New Year’s Day hike to the Kranzberg in Mittenwald was perhaps the best of the many times we’ve done it. Though not what most would consider warm, it was sunny with no wind. Dressed properly, it made sitting up top a joy, especially with snow-capped mountains encircling us. Down by the lakes, on the shady side of the peaks, it was frigid. It was gorgeous to see but lingering was out of the question. And that’s on a good day.
New Year’s Day on the Kranzberg & at Fenchensee
Good days come in the mountains in winter more often than elsewhere in Bavaria but they aren’t all that common, especially if you factor in when they fall on a weekend. So, if you want to get outside for a walk and enjoy a beer afterwards, it sometimes behooves you to head to one of the great old towns in Bavaria, such as Regensburg. While many might argue there can’t be a hike in such places, the popularity of urban hiking is unquestioned. Dating back to the Stone Age with both Celtic and Roman settlements along the way, its Old Town center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. So, wandering its cobblestone streets is a pleasant and requisite option but one thing I always like doing is venturing across the river from these low-rise towns to get a view of their quaint “skylines.” When researching Beer Hiking Bavaria, the publisher had requested some urban hikes so I immediately thought of this one.
Regensburg is charming in winter
While autumn is our favorite season to visit the town only 90 minutes north by train from our home base Munich, it’s also a great and less busy place to wander around in winter. If you get some snow dusting the array of architectural gems it’s a bonus, even if the sun doesn’t shine. If it pops out, savor that too. It’s a perfect spot for some winter urban beer hiking either way.
a little snow never hurt anyone
Of course, it wouldn’t be much of a beer hike if there weren’t some fine beer at its conclusion. Regensburg has four breweries and countless places to enjoy a beer but for my money, you can’t beat Brauerei Kneitinger, which dates back to 1530. Their Mutterhaus on Anulfstraße is a timeless old inn with lots of dark wood. It oozes Gemültlichkeit. There’s no good translation for that most beloved of German words but you’ll know it when you “feel” it. What’s the best thing about beer hiking in winter in Regensburg? Kneitinger Bock. Sure, it’s available from early October until spring but this is a dark beauty best experienced on a cold winter day. You won’t want to leave but be careful, it’s a deceptively powerful and quaffable brew at 6.8%. Be sure to eat something hearty when imbibing. I can highly recommend the Ochsenbackerl. That does translate but if I tell you what it is, you might not get it so I’ll just tell you it comes in a rich dark beer sauce and goes magnificently well with the dark Bock. Zum wohl.
the Mutterhaus & their culinary delights
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