Leups is a small unassuming village between Pegnitz and Bayreuth. It lies in the Fränkische Schweiz or Franconian Switzerland so it should come as no surprise that hiking trails cross through it. Most, however, even the hikers, come to Leups to call in at the little legendary brewery which brews up what many consider the best dark beer in all of Franconia.

Brauerei Gradl
leups gradle exterior
Leups 6
91257 Pegnitz
Tel: 09246-247

Pegnitz Station 8 km/irregular bus service

Opening hours:
Closed Monday & Tuesday
Wednesdy & Thursday from 15:00

Friday, Saturday & Sunday from 10:00

Output: 1500 HL

Founded in 1683, this is truly a classic small village local.  Often, you might arrive to a few locals playing cards but on busy hiking weekends, you’ll be lucky to find a seat. Expect mostly simple meals but the Bratwurst is great and the bread fresh.

cosy interior of Gradl & their elusive Maibock

First time there, it was packed with walkers. The old owner was still serving food, if a bit slowly. The house Leupser Dunkel was great and the Maibock was even better.

tasty homemade Bratwurst at Gradle & their legendary Leupser Dunkel

The second time, it was during the week and nearly empty. On this occasion, I was served by an 8 year old boy and though only marginally faster, I guess he’ll get better in a couple years. Nice to see the family getting him ready for the family business early! I had Bratwurst both times and wasn’t disappointed. Meals are simple Brotzeit but all homemade and locals come here to eat, as well as drink their renowned beer.

I’ve recently found some bottled Gradl beers which I’d not tried in the pub due to COVID-19 restrictions. The Pils is generally only in bottled form and the Weihnachtsbock has a very short window of availability on tap right around Christmas.

Leupser Weihnachtsbock & Pils are both worth seeking out

After a three year lapse, I finally made it out to Leups in mid-December for their Weihnachtsbock on tap when a friend offered to drive out. The brewer was running the show that day, serving food/pouring and serving beer so he didn’t have any barrel beer which is unusual for the little brewing legend.  The place was done up nicely with for Christmas decorations and think this visit has to take place more often.

enjoying the Weihnachtsbock & the Christmas decor

The Bock was absolutely gorgeous and it went well with their house-butchered smoked ham. The bread was excellent quality and fresh, something increasingly hard to find in village pubs with low prices. The only downside of Gradl is they don’t have overnight accommodation. Otherwise, we’d get there every year for this.


one super Bock & smoked ham

Beers: Leupser Dunkel, Leupser Pils

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