This highly accessible circuit features five breweries and some fine scenery, not to mention one of the nicest Bierkellers in Franconia. There is also some great beer along the route and some options to shorten the considerable length.
Breweries: 5 (Kraus, Weber, Barnikel, Hennemann and Müller with its Schmausenkeller)
Distance: 32 km
Starting Point: Hirschaid is the most logical choice if you are going to spend the night somewhere along the trail but if doing it as a day hike, it’s best to make your way to Frensdorf as buses out are not frequent later in the day. It’s a lot of ground to cover in a day and with such fine beer, it’s a shame to try and rush through it.
Stage 1: Hirschaid to Röbersdorf (5.8 km). The views from the bridge just past Brauerei Kraus look inviting but the initial part of the trail is not all that scenic until you get off the bike path that runs along the main road. Once you go through the small village of Erlach, there’s a nice stretch all the way to the Brauerei Weber. If you time things well, you can get a bus in Hirschaid to Röbersdorf. Not a bad option if time is a factor. Brauerei Weber has a simple menu during the week and larger one on Sundays along with a fine Dunkles.
Röbersdof church & my wife, father & I enjoying a snack at Brauerei Weber
Stage 2: Röbersdorf to Herrnsdorf (4.2 km). Though the main road is about a kilometer shorter, this route passes through a more rural setting and a couple small villages before you arrive at the classic Brauerei Barnikel.
Barnikel’s Vollbier & mixed meat plate await you in Herrnsdorf
Stage 3: Herrnsdorf to Sambach (4.9 km). This is a similar stretch as the route to Herrnsdorf, passing through a couple small villages before arriving at the Brauerei Henneman. This is part of the larger circuit. You can cut 11 km off the hike by walking from Herrnsdorf to the Schmausenkeller directly on a very nice trail (only 3.1 km). That said, Hennemann has great beer and is worth the excursion. Rooms available in its home village of Sambach.
rural backroads & Hennemann in Sambach
Stage 4: Sambach to Schmausenkeller (8.9 km). This is a longer, more scenic route but it’s possible to backtrack to Barnikel and walk from there. It’s a bit shorter. The Schmausenkeller used to be the summer home to Brauerei Müller in Reundorf, a kilometer or so north, which served as the winter eatery. The Keller became so popular, they’ve decided to utilize it year-round and it appears the one in Reundorf is no longer open though the beer is still brewed there. No worries. The Schamausenkeller is a great venue with fantastic views, food and most importantly: beer. Not to be missed.
Scenic Schmausenkeller, Kellerbier with snack & Bockbier with Schäuferla
Stage 5: Schausenkeller to Hirschaid (7.9 km). This is a nice forest walk until you meet back up with the trail between Erlach and Röbersdorf. The walking around the Schmausenkeller is the prettiest part of the area. Brauerei Kraus is a great place to end things. They have a full menu all day and a nice assortment of beers. It’s close to the train station to boot.
Fellow beerwanderers my wife & Scoats enjoy the wares of Brauerei Kraus
Places to stay: Brauerei Kraus is the only brewery on the trail that has rooms but the Gasthaus Wurm in Röbersdorf as well as the Gasthof Wiesneth in Sambach offer nice good value rooms. There are a few in Reunsdorf, as well. The route warrants an overnight stop and spending the last night at Kraus is well worthwhile, too.
How to get there? Numerous trains serve Hirschaid. It’s only 5-10 minutes from Bamberg so super convenient if pressed for time. Buses serve the various villages along the route with Frensdorf the best connected. Check your timetables and be sure you have one coming back, especially if late afternoon in darker months. Best to bus in and walk out.
D enjoying a rented Mini Cooper
If you have any questions about access, please drop me a line.
If you’re not up to doing it on your own, I’m available for guided trips into this pretty valley with timeless breweries.
Not your kind of walk? How about the Burg und Bier Pfad?
If you’d like to find out more about beer hiking around all of Bavaria, please consider consulting my book, Beer Hiking Bavaria oder auf Deutsch: Bierwandern Bayern.