The first time visitor to Bamberg usually has their hands full, especially if they unwisely plan only two days to explore the UNESCO World Heritage Site. Let’s not even mention that there are fourteen breweries for the beer-oriented tourist. That’s a lot of beer to squeeze into a few days.
so many beers, so little time
For the repeat offender or those who wisely plan more time in the Beer Mecca, there are a few hundred breweries dotting the countryside surrounding Bamberg. Some are easily reached by public transportation and some require some of your own steam, whether on foot or cycling. If traveling to a few Dorfs on your own sounds daunting, it’s really not and even the language barrier can be breached with a smile and a sense of humor. If you’re interested in taking some of the guesswork and logistics out of the mix, I’ve put together a five-mile hike which takes in five breweries in three Dorfs. That’s villages to the uninitiated. Since my wife of 20 years comes from Ulberndorf, I learned about such things a long time ago.
some typical Dorf scenes
Last year, even slowed by COVID restrictions, I had the pleasure of taking a few groups of adventurous Americans out into the Franconian countryside and it was a resounding success. A fun group of husbands hailing from Nashville, on a beercation without their wives, said unequivocally that the day spent roaming from one brewery to the next was the highlight of their two-week trip to Bavaria.
impressed with the breweries on the Dorf Tour
What struck them as unique was the genuine nature of the people and authentic atmosphere of the Biergartens. They not only learned about beer from the barrel and styles previously unheard of but they got to try them on the spot at the small breweries making them. A favorite was the Wagner Jubiläumsbier, brewed to commemorate the village’s 850th anniversary. These aren’t beers you’re going to find at the supermarket back home. They were also happy to have some help deciphering the menu and getting meals they probably would have passed over in favor of something that sounded vaguely familiar.
a Biergarten is something to not miss out on
The landscape beguiled them too and they all found it not overly physically challenging. It’s a gentle route and the few hills you’ll climb aren’t tough. The reward of a great beer is always on the not too distant horizon as well.
a gentle landscape awaits
Just in case you think this a guys-only kind of thing, one of the nicest couples I’ve had the pleasure to host found the hike equally eye-opening even though I’d had them out the week before on the Bierkeller Extravaganza out of Forchheim. The home brewer husband was super impressed with the quality and variety of beers. He was particularly intrigued with the idea of an Ungespundetes Bier once he got the gist of pronouncing it! This is an unusual area in that even these small village breweries produce a fairly large range.
walking from brewery to brewery is a joy
While there’s nothing wrong with wanting to see all the sights when you’re traveling around Bavaria, you’ll miss something if you don’t take a moment to experience some of its unique culture. Franconians pride themselves on their small regional breweries and one of life’s great joys is sitting in a leafy Biergarten and sharing a meal and beer with friends. I’ve made some great friends doing these tours and sharing some of my knowledge with them has been a highlight of founding Beerwanderers.
new friends enjoying the road less traveled
Heading to Bamberg for the first time? Don’t leave home without The Pocket Guide to Bamberg’s Best Beer.
If going in the warmer months, consult The Guide to Bamberg’s Best Biergartens.
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. Book now to ensure your spot.