Dörflis is a small village nestled in the bucolic rolling hills of the Haßberg county of Lower Franconia, north of the Main river. Only 30 km from Bamberg, a half hour scenic car trip would bring you to the unassuming hamlet but if using public transportation, it is a complicated affair. The closest towns reachable by train are Zeil am Main and Ebelsbach-Eltmann but even those are a fair hike or cycle. The logistics of how to get there are just your first obstacle. How to get into the communal brewery is the harder part.
97486 Dörflis (Königsberg i.Bay.)
Ebelsbach-Eltmann 9 km/Zeil am Main 8 km (limited bus from Zeil)
Not open to the general public without prior arrangement
Output: Three 16 HL batches per year
Founded in 1998, Bräuhaus Dörflis is one of the newer and more private communal breweries in Lower Franconia. Publicly funded, they are not allowed to sell their beer to non-members. Though not obvious from the outside, the brewery within dates back to 1935.
wood-fired brewing kettle & refurbished museum piece brew house
Since these state-funded communal brew houses cannot legally sell beer, they are not generally open to the public. They hold occasional events where their beer and food are offered for donation, often tied to something else in the community to show its charitable orientation. These are open to those outside their membership but not exactly heavily advertised. A local friend, who recently became a member of a neighboring communal brewery, was invited to such a celebration and was kind enough to bring me as well. It included an informal tour of the brewery at intervals so they could inform people about how to they do things the old fashioned way. The beer princess of Haßberger was on hand for the festivities as well.
a rustic brew from the tank & the old brewing vessel
Of course, a festival like this without food wouldn’t be much of draw and there was some fine if simple things on offer. Along with the usual suspects like Bratwurst and steak sandwiches, there was a lovely Haxen and an amazing array of homemade salads. The whole thing really did have the feeling a family get together with each woman bringing her favorite dish. The salads were top notch and very tasty as was the Haxen. The people dishing out the food were super friendly and inquisitive as to where I was from. I guess there weren’t all that many people from outside the village and certainly not from outside the Lower Franconian communal brewing scene.
this sign on the barrel was the only inkling & the Haxen
Since this was a charity event, the “prices” were suggested donations and very good value. You simply went up to to a small table where a member sat and told them what you wanted. This was sometimes “manned” by small children with their parents, obviously learning some pointers on giving out change. You received a voucher for your chosen item. There was also a bunch of different cakes, again obviously each woman’s personal recipe specialty. The prices on the huge cake slices were beyond fair. Oh yeah, I’d come for the beer. That was pretty damn good too.
cake & beer? In Franconia, why not?
The atmosphere was that of a family gathering or small community event. People seemed to mostly know each other. Oddly enough, I found myself on a long bench at table where I knew about half those seated. Some I’d only met once and most I’d known for only about a week but they remembered me and that felt good. An old WWII gent sat directly across and told anecdotes much as my Dad might have. Though they were on opposite sides, I imagine their experiences and reasons for serving were likely not all that different.
the closed brewery door & homey atmosphere
This was one of my top beer experiences of 2023. I’d like to thank Bräuhaus Dörflis for their hospitality and José for not only driving me there but for also for opening the previously closed door to the communal brewing world of Lower Franconia.
These places are generally closed to the public so the best way to visit them is to find out when they have an event. The next one on the calendar is the Köslauer Rennweg Brauer Oktoberfest on September 30th & October 1st 2023.
Bock in winter