Earlier in 2022, before the 9€ Ticket had taken hold, I decided I’d waited long enough to explore some of Franconian Baden Württemberg. A friend from middle Franconia had mentioned quite a few small breweries but travel logistics made getting to them problematic. I turned my attention to two Häuser, what appeared mid-sized breweries in Distelhausen and Herbsthausen. Though my friend extolled the latter, the former looked to be the easier mark so I decided on a whim to write them to see if I could arrange a tour of sorts. I rarely do this and when I do, I do it in German. For some reason, perhaps partially thinking they wouldn’t do it anyway, I did it in English. Quite surprisingly, the Distelhäuser Brauerei wrote back in English and really rolled out the red carpet. Not only did they provide a free tour to me on a day generally not offering group tours, but also a fairly elaborate tasting with my guide in their charming Distelhäuser Brauhaus. To say they won me over is an understatement.
Distelhäuser rolled out the red carpet
I’d looked at getting to Herbsthausen from Distelhausen and with a car, it would have been an easy 28km half-hour ride but without one, it would have been more convoluted and I resolved to save the second Häuser for another day. When the 9€ Ticket came into play, all I needed to find was a place to stay. It wasn’t as easy as in Distelhausen; there didn’t appear to be anywhere to rest my beery head. Being a genius on Booking.com wasn’t helping so I started scanning Google Maps with every German search word I could think of and voilà, B&B Blüm appeared. They even had a website! Clicked on it and it was in Dutch. No, not Deutsch. Dutch like in wooden clogs. Though my German is limited, I can read an accommodation site and this one was most definitely not in German. I figured it would be kind of stupid to write them in German so I turned to my mother tongue once again. While I was at it, I dropped the Herbsthäuser Brauerei an e-mail and hoped to get treated like royalty again. I did that in English too since it had worked so well the last time. I heard back from Yvonne Blüm quickly with an affirmative on the room but no reply came from the other Häuser. I decided to go anyway. I had the ticket and a room. The one blunder I’d made in Distelhausen had been not realizing there was a Distelhäuser Bierwanderweg until it was too late. This time I had the appropriately named Herbsthäuser Bierwanderweg to fill my non-drinking hours.
downtown Herbsthäuser & my shady backyard
When I’d told Yvonne Blüm my arrival time, she mentioned she had a class in Bad Mengentheim which finished just about when my train got in so I could grab a lift with her, saving me the bus trip. It also saved me some time waiting for the bus and we got our pleasantries out of the way at the same time. She was from the Netherlands, at least partially explaining the Dutch website. Her husband had received a couldn’t refuse job offer so they decided to buy a property and convert part of it to rental units. With the proximity to her home country, they marketed themselves there as an affordable country getaway, bingo on the Dutch. Their daughter was in university “back home” and their younger son schooling locally. I noted the shady backyard and fan in my room, figuring I might need both after the hike. I dropped off my stuff and headed over to the Herbsthäuser Brauereigastätte for lunch.
a tasty if unwise pre-hike meal
It was just up the road but it was roasting out. I’d seen the forecast but when you live in Germany, you forget just how hot 36°C is and it had been cool enough in the car with the breeze blowing in the open windows. I’m not generally a Weizen drinker but in this heat, it was my unquestioned first choice. The menu was typical sauce laden meat centered fare and I instinctively opted for Roulade with Spätzle. Sometimes in villages, lunch is when big meals are offered and at night you get cold dishes. It’s a good way to eat and if I’d been planning on taking a nap in an air-conditioned room, it would have been a great choice. With a post lunch hike on my horizon, it was unwise at best. In this heat, it was just plain stupid. Being the good son of Depression Era parents, I ate every strand of Spätzle and if there’s one thing I’ve learned about food in Baden-Württemberg, it’s that they always give you more of that German pasta than anyone can finish. Challenge accepted. I’d at least had the sense to limit myself to one additional beer. I’d sat outside under a somewhat futile umbrella, sweat beading on my forehead. It was only when I went to use the toilet that I realized how much cooler it was in the old tavern. I knew where I was sitting for dinner.
the route to Rot
It was a circular route and I decided to save the what looked like the shadiest bit for towards the end. Also, though it was only 8.5km, I was having my doubts about actually completing it. My chosen direction would bring me to the village of Rot quickly, at which point I’d have a logical turnaround point. It was very well-signed and certainly a pretty country road. On a cooler day, it would have been a lovely stroll but as is the case with such routes, they are exposed and the sun was brutal. Rot turned out to be a cute little hamlet with a few half-timbered houses and a Milchhäusle. Man, I might have taken a wrong turn and wound up in Holland. A sign out front heralded cold drinks and I could only hope it wasn’t all dairy products.
the Milchhäusle in Rot
It was nice and cool inside, temperature-wise and in a kitschy kinda kool way, the decor. The best part was an old vending machine which sold…what else…Herbsthäuser beer! Okay, it also had Apfelschorle and any sane person would have opted for that in this heat but who could resist getting a beer, a good beer at that, from an old vending machine, at the same price as the other soft drinks? Well, not me.
dreams come true: a Märzen in the vending machine
It was an ice cold Herbsthäuser Märzen and I’m not sure a beer ever tasted so good. I don’t normally drink beer from a bottle but when you’re sitting on a milk can with a cow-hide seat covering, it just kind of feels right. I was in half a mind to get two more and head back to the small pond I’d walked past about halfway back to the B&B, sitting in the shade until the sun set but just like I’d finished the mountain of Spätzle, I was determined to finish the Herbsthäuser Bierwanderweg. After my beer, of course and I really didn’t get another as much as I wanted to.
grab yourself a milk can covered in cowhide!
The rest of the hike was actually really pretty but the heat hadn’t subsided. My beer wore off and seemed a rear-view mirage by the time I got to the very small shady bit.
the pretty landscape of Herbsthausen
The lake towards the end of the walk was a tease but not as much as the sign heralding the Herbsthäuser Brauereigastätte, as they were still on their midday break. That was okay, I’d have looked like I’d taken a dip in that lake, I was so soaked with sweat.
the enticing lake & brewery
After a shower and a quick lie-down in front of my little fan, I was ready to tackle the world. Ok, Herbsthausen would have to do and though little more than a village, it has a pretty good little brewery and a cold beer was about all I needed to make the day complete. Needless to say, I sat inside and much cooler it indeed was. The beer wasn’t quite as refreshing as that one in the Milchhäusle had been but that didn’t keep me from downing a few.
the Last Supper in Herbsthausen
The next morning, I sat out in the pretty backyard at B&B Blüm. Yvonne has created a nice little oasis and the breakfast spread was thoughtful and plentiful. She sat with me and I told her how I’d written the brewery in hopes of getting a tour to no avail. Before long, her son joined us and as it turned out, he was on summer break from school. To earn some money, he was working, you guessed it at the Herbsthäuser Brauerei. They assured me that the next time I was in town, they would arrange a tour. So, I not only have a connection in Herbsthausen, but one in Herbsthäuser too.
97980 Bad Magentheim (Herbsthausen)
In the mood for more off the beaten path Baden-Württemberg? How about Schwäbisch Hall?
Find breweries all over Franconia: Where the Brews are
Learn about beer styles in Franconia: ABeerC.
Food is half the fun in Franconia but what should you try? The ABCs of Franconian Food
Heading to Bamberg? Don’t leave home without The Pocket Guide to Bamberg’s Best Beer.
Don’t want to go it along, I’d love to show you the way: Guided Tours.