Sunday 23rd October 2016
After the hubbub of the nearby Brauhaus am Kreutzberg it was quite a relief to visit this bierkeller. It is to be found under the stone walls of the pilgrimage church “Zum Heiligen Kreutz” or in English the church of the Holy Cross. The church was consecrated in 1463 and ever since there have been bierkellers here to slake the thirsts of the pilgrims that have climbed up the hill to visit it.
This particular example was established in 1707 by the Rittmayer family of Hallerndorf, about two kilometres away. Their pub there is the subject of another article in BeerVisits. The keller was located here for all the usual reasons inasmuch that the beer casks could be stored in a cool place throughout the summer with the forest trees providing shade to help with this.
Of course it became an outlet in its own right, especially as there was a ready-made source of customers to the church and this keller is the nearest to it, being located amongst the trees just below it.
On this particular visit it certainly wasn’t busy which, even though it was a nice day for the time of year, was nevertheless the end of the bierkeller season. This was all too apparent by the amount of fallen leaves that covered the ground and peppered the tables and benches.
The garden itself is only of medium size compared with some. The main building is painted white and is built in the hill on which the church sits. There is a veranda along the front and here I found the “Ausschank”, the service point. In reality a hole in the wall with a small counter. I can imagine there could be a long queue of customers here in the summer.
I settled with my beer at one of the tables underneath the porch awning looking out onto the empty biergarten. At busy times this can accommodate 350 patrons.
I had earlier taken a look around and noticed there were steps up the side of the building that lead to a small terrace are. From this there is access to a room that I presume is in use during the winter months. This belief is reinforced with the sight of a “Kachelofen”, the traditional tiled wood-burning stove found in so many Franconian pubs.
Two draught beers and two bottled beers were offered, all from the Brauerei Rittmayer. First of the draughts was Landbier Hell which is light and unfiltered in the country Zwicklbier style.
The other was Kellerbier Dunkel, dark and also unfiltered. These two are served in ceramic “Steinkrugs”, also common around here. The beer comes as the standard 0.5 l but also in a 1.0 l “mass”.
The bottled beers were Rauchbier (Smoked) and Hefeweissbier (Wheat). As well as the beer there was red and white Franconian wine and a selection of schnapps.
The food menu is very extensive for a bierkeller. It included beef, Schnitzels, goose breast and Schäuferla, a local favourite that is slow-cooked pork shoulder.
It would be worth climbing the hill just to visit this keller but when you think there are another two here, the half hour walk from the bus stop Schnaid is completely justified.
Rittmayer’s Keller, Kreuzberg 18, 91352 Hallerndorf. Tel: 049 9545 4554
Hours: April: When 20C or above: Tuesday-Sunday: 11.05-23.00; Monday: 15.05-23.00.
May-September: Tuesday-Sunday: 11.05-23.00; Monday: 15.05-23.00.
October-March: Sunday and Holiday: 11.05-23.00.
Bus 265 is from Forchheim ZOB (Zentral Omnibus Bahnhof-Central Bus Station) next to the railway station. Monday to Friday it is approximately hourly until 20.00. Saturday it runs hourly to 19.00.
On Sunday there are five journeys every two hours from approximately 10.00 to 18.00.
At the end of its route it does a circle through the villages in an anti-clockwise direction.
Schnaid is the first stop after Hallerndorf. From the stop walk back in the direction the bus has come from. Go out of the village and take the first right turn. By now you will see your destination on top of the hill. Continue to the valley bottom and turn left and then right. You are now on the climb up the hill.
At the top pass the chapel on your right, cross the car park and all three bierkellers should now be in view.