Just one sip, that’s all it took. Elation and regret all in one go. It was Schroll Landbier, a Franconian beer I know pretty well. I’ve been to the brewery’s pub in Nankendorf a few times and pick up bottles when I’m lucky enough to see them. I always enjoy it but this was different. It was from the barrel, gravity dispensed without additional carbon dioxide. The malty chewiness shone, not in the least sweet and supremely dry for a malt forward beer. Oh, it was fresh. Freshly tapped from the barrel in fact. That it was in my hometown of Munich is where the regret came in. Though Hop Dog has been in Munich for two years, this was my first visit.
Schroll Landbier & Gregor in action with his beloved barrels
Two years ago, just before the first wave of COVID shuttered pubs in Munich, Gregor Einar Fransson, a Slovenian transport, made this unlikely pub a reality. He’d been integral in not only the then fledgling Craft Beer scene in his native country but also in importing Franconian beers there as well. His love of Franconia and the small breweries which dot its gentle landscape led to his moving to Bamberg where he secured a job at famed malt producer Weyermann in 2015. Always looking to better himself, he completed the Doemens Biersommelier qualification while there.
learning new skills at Weyermann Malt
Another love, though this one not beer-related, led to his moving to Munich in 2019 and his desire to open a bar featuring Franconian beer in Bamberg shifted south. With an eye towards keeping the kitchen simple and the emergence of burgers as the new trend food in Germany, the idea of higher end hot dogs was tossed around as not only their counterpart but also the perfect accompaniment to Franconian beer. From the renowned hotdog state of Connecticut, Avery and Janet Glasser stepped in as lead investors, making the venture viable. A location was found just prior to and opened just after the first wave of COVID in June 2020.
HopDog is born
I “met” Gregor online when he was promoting his HopMonkey beer/food pairings at the Ambar Bistro in Munich. I never managed to get to one as enticing as they sounded and before I knew it, the Monkey had disappeared only to resurface as a Dog. With COVID still hampering most people from going out full force, I never managed to make it to his many events, generally featuring barrel beer from Franconia. I always felt a kinship, though. Whereas my mission has been to bring more people to the small breweries in Franconia, his has been to bring their beer directly to the people. This is no small feat in Munich, a city not only dominated by a handful of large brewing conglomerates but also largely inhabited by people who think Augustiner Helles is the only beer worth drinking.
Beerwanderers finally makes it to HopDog
With its 2nd birthday on the horizon and an amazing array of barrel beers on deck, how could I resist finally making it to the now iconic HopDog. As chance would have it, while in Bamberg for a Beer Hiking tour, I bumped into Gregor at Brauerei Spezial where we discussed the event and I promised to attend. I invited some friends who’d also never been and all were super happy they stopped by. The dogs, as heralded, were killer and the beer was even better than the advertised damned good.
happy 2nd birthday HopDog!
It took me two years to get there and I’ll be sure it doesn’t take so long to return. I don’t think I’ll have to twist any arms to get friends to join me either. While he doesn’t have seven gravity beers every day, he does have a large array of hard to find Franconian lagers on tap along with a few Craft Beers you’re not likely to find elsewhere. He also does gravity barrel events throughout the year. To find out what and when they are, Follow the Dog.
my friends love HopDog
It was packed and all the tables were reserved so thanks to Gregor for making space for us. Here are some images from HopDog’s 2nd Birthday Bash.
If you enjoy Franconian beer at Hop Dog, you might want to go to the source on a guided beer hike with Beerwanderers.