The 2nd Annual Looking for Mr. Good Beers & Breweries Top 5 Awards 2023

2023 was another breakout year for Beerwanderers with both locals and travelers fully back in the swing. In fact, it was every bit as good as 2022 especially considering I was much busier with tours as well. Germany ushered in a 49€ monthly ticket with a yearly subscription and I took advantage of it to expand my horizons into a big chunk of Lower Franconia. Beerwanderers got to 27 new-for-us beer places (15 breweries, 8 restaurants featuring beers on tap from breweries with no pubs and 4 Bierkellers/Biergartens) and sampled 209 beers we’d not had before.These are strictly places in and beers from Franconia. I did a lot in Bavaria too. Obviously, there were lots of bottled beers in the mix. Some friends helped out with car excursions and bringing back beers from their beery exploration. I sure couldn’t have covered so much ground or tried so many new beers without them. To help make all this new information on Beerwanderers more easily found and to commemorate the momentous year, we’re giving out virtual awards to the best finds of the 2023. Please note, to be considered it has to be a beer or place we’d not had or been to before 2023. In instances where a beer was had on tap when it had previously been only sampled in bottled form, it was considered a new “beer experience” and included. Links go to the entries on the site for further elaboration. Here goes:

Top 5 Restaurants (not a brewery but a pub featuring a particular brewery’s beer when they have no pub of their own):

1. Taube “Kette” Hotel/Zorbas Restaurant (closest thing to a brewery tap for Spessart even if across the river in Wertheim)
brewpub sign, restaurant exterior, bridge with brewery sign

2. Keiler Brauhaus (Würzburger Hofbräu brews most of the beers but the small onsite brewery does their Kellerbier/excellent food)
brewpub, beer, bar
3. Kommune Benaburger (Brunnhuber) (formerly part of communal brewing group but now serving a contract beer by Kaiser-Bräu/good rustic food)
zoigl sign, beer with coaster, old restaurant interior
4. Landwehr-Bräu am Turm (good place to sample Landwehr beers in Rothenburg proper/tasty vegetarian fare)

5. Schwarzer Adler (former brewpub with contract beer/excellent food)

Top 5 Bierkellers (a weak year so I’ve included Biergartens):

1. Scheubel-Keller (only true Keller in list and one of the very best)
bierkeller view, beer in krug, bierkeller
2. Krautheimer Biergarten

3. Martinsbräu Biergarten
biergarten, beer, biergarten
4. Unter den Linden
biergarten, dark beer in mug, biergarten
5. Sadly, even with the inclusion of Biergartens, Beerwanderers did not get to five new venues. I’m running low on this shrinking group of places but have my eyes set on some for 2024.

Top 5 Breweries (ones with pubs next to or with official brewery taps/beer, food and pub all considered in ranking):

1. (tie) Strecks Brauhaus
beer in logo mug, brewpub exterior, schnitzel with white asparagus

1. (tie) Brauereigasthof Zum Löwenbräu

2. Martinsbräu Bräustüble
sign of brewery, old german restaurant, half-timbered house
3. Rother-Bräu Braüstuble

4. Zum Roth
brewpub exterior, brewery sign, brewpub interior
5. Häffner Bräu


Top 5 bottled light colored Bock beer:

1. Greif Bock

golden beer in pewter lidded mug with bottle
2. Dorn-Bräu Doppelbock

golden beer with huge head in pewter lidded mug
3. Kesselring Doppelbock

golden beer in glass with bottle
4. Nothhaft Starkbier Hell

deep golden beer in glass with bottle
5. tie Hütten Bock/Düll Krautheimer Heller Bock

Top 5 bottled dark-colored Bock beers:

1. Pax-Bräu Pacifator

unfiltered amber beer in glass with large swing top bottle
2. Felsenbräu Felsator

deep golden beer in pewter lidded mug
3 Penning Zeissler Bockbier

amber beer in glass with bottle
4. Kürzdörfer Bockbier dunkel

5. Wurm Jura Quell Doppelbock

dark beer with huge head with bottle

Top 5 Weizenbocks:

1. Held-Bräu Weizenbock

black weissbier with bit tan head in glass with bottle

2. Mahrs Dunkler Weisser Bock

dark wheat bock in logo mug with bottle

3. Hummel Weizenbock

weissbier in glass with bottle

4. Meinel-Bräu Weizenbock

weissbier in glass with bottle

5. Maisel’s Bajuwarus Weizenbock

dark honeycomb beer in weissbier glass with bottle

Top 5 Festbiers:

1. (tie) Wagner Oberhaider Mühlenbier/Roppelt Trossenfurt Festmärzen

2. Schwanen-bräu Weihnachtsfestbier

unfiltered amber beer in logo glass

3. Ott Festbier

deep golden beer in glass with bottle

4. Stöckel Bräu Festbier

amber beer in glass with bottle

5. Hönicka Hönicklaus Festbier

amber beer in glass with bottle

Top 5 bottled light-colored non-Bock beers:

1. (tie) Rhönbrauerei Dittmar Pils/Hölzlein Rauch

2. Rother-Bräu Oko Urtrunk

unfiltered golden beer in logo glass with bottle
4. Strecks Brauhaus Zwickel

unfiltered golden beer in logo glass with bottle

5. (tie) Kesselring Landbier Hell/Rhönbrauerei Dittmar Hell

Top 5 dark colored non-Bock beer bottles:

1. Rhönbrauerei Dittmar Urtyp Dunkel

dark beer in glass with huge head and bottle

2. Raab Zeilberg Dunkel

dark beer in glass with bottle
3. Jurgens Rotbier

dark red beer in glass with bottle

4. Roßfelder Brauhaus Kellerbier

unfiltered amber beer with bottle and coaster

5. (tie) Häffner Schwarzberger Gold/Strecks Ostheimer Dunkel

Top 5 Weizens on tap or bottled:

1. Schlenkerla Rauchweizen on tap

dark weizen in glass
2. Köslauer Rennweg Brauer Weißbier on tap

white sausage breakfast with beer
3. Zum Löwenbräu Karpfen Weisse on tap

weissbier in logo mug
5. Spessart Hefe Weizen on tap

Weizen in logo glass

5. Schroll Weizenbier

weissbier in glass with bottle with pretzel and weisswurst

Top 5  light-colored Bocks on tap:

1. Zehendner Maibock from gravity pour

unfiltered golden beer in logo mug

2. Ulrich Martin Josephibock

unfiltered golden beer in logo glass
3. Hummel Maibock

golden beer with huge head in logo mug
4. Wagner (Merkendorf) Hellerbock

golden beer in logo mug
5. Keesmann Josephibock

light amber beer in logo mug with sign

Top 5 dark-colored Bocks on tap:

1. Forstquell Bock

unfiltered dark beer in logo mug
2. Bayer Dunkler Doppelbock

black beer with tan head in logo beer testng
3. (tie) Schrüfer Fastenbock/Düll Gnodstadt Bock

4. Klosterbräu Maibock

unfiltered amber beer with huge creamy head in logo glass
5. (tie) Greifenklau Roter Bock/Zum Goldenen Alder Doppelbock

 

Top 5 Best Looking Beers:

1. Roth Helles

goldne beer with huge head in logo glass

2. Spessart Gold Specht

golden been in logo glass

3. Häffner-Bräu/Hopfenstopfer Incredible Pale Ale

unfiltered golden beer in brandy snifter with bottle

4. Martinsbräu Weizen Hefe Hell

wheat beer with big head in logo glass

5. Wittelsbacher Turm Bräu Vollbier

unfiltered golden beer in logo glass

Top 5 light colored beers on tap:

1. Stern-Bräu Vollbier gravity

beer in logo ceramic mug
2. Hummel Zwickel

unfiltered golden beer in logo mug

3. Roth Pils

golden beer in logo glass

4. Strecks Brauhaus Burgherrenpils

golden beer in logo mug

5. Göller Sommerbier

unfiltered yellow beer in logo mug

Top 5 dark colored beers on tap:

1. Zum Löwenbräu 1747 Dunkles

dark beer in logo glass

2. (tie) Schlenkerla Weichsel /Schlenkerla Erle

3. Spessart Räuberchen Dunkel

dark beer in logo glass

4. Martinsbräu Landbier Dunkel

dark beer in logo glass

5. Köslauer Rennweg Brauer Kellerbier

unfiltered amber beer in mug with beer coaster

Top 5 Adventures:
1. Something’s missing in Spielbach


2. The Main thing about Unterfranken
biergarten, beer, brewery
3. (tie) Salty Patch on the Unterfranken Express
old medieval town, beer in logo glass, small village
3. (tie) A Münchener goes to the Oktoberfest… in Köslau

small beer fest, weisswurstfrühstück, table decoration
4. A military assault on Rothenburg ob der Tauber

5. The Häffners and the Häffner nots

I know I have a tough job but someone has to do it. It does cost money visiting the various breweries, especially as Beerwanderers goes further into Lower Franconia. Hopefully, this information will be helpful for your future planning. Please consider buying me a beer 🍺!

Beerwanderers was busy not only exploring new beery locations but also showing 152 people new to the area the wonders of our beer hiking paradise. I won’t even try to pick a Top 5 of the wonderful groups I’ve had the pleasure to get to know but I will post a few photos to show the good times we had:

Want to learn more about Franconian beer styles: Try ABeerC.

Heading to Bamberg. Don’t leave home without The Pocket Guide to Bamberg’s Best Beer.

Looking for someone to take you there? How about me?

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