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Pub Visit - Germany

Friday 21st October 2016

Schlossbrau6Bob Thompson

It was a rather dreary morning with rain in the air as I walked the short distance from the railway station at Reckendorf to the Schlossbrauerei. Where are we? Well Reckendorf is a small town with a station on the rural branch line that runs northward from Beitengüssbach to Ebern. Still none the wiser? Well if I said that the single car train that operates along this line begins its journeys once an hour from the beer capital of Bamberg, then I think it places it into geographical perspective.

Schlossbrau2Reckendorf is yet another of those blessed small towns and villages that surround Bamberg that have not one, but two breweries, it once had six!. I had previously visited here and was thwarted in my quest by this pub opening later than advertised on that day. Nevertheless I visited the pub of Brauerei Schroll and even received an impromptu tour of that brewery conducted by the owner. Please see article in BeerVisits.

On this day I had made sure that both of the brewery’s taps would be open. Schlossbräu is the larger of the two operations. It often describes itself as brewing Reckendorfer Bier.

As I walked past the imposing tower of the brewery I could see the gleaming copper and mash tun through the large windows. The brewery is built on the site of the former castle (Schloss in German), hence its name. Under the trees in front of the brewery there is the Schlossgarten, a biergarten that is open from 1st May to end of August. Hours are given below.

Schlossbrau3The castle’s origins lie in the mid fourteenth century when it was constructed by the Lord of Schöfstall, the local ruler. It was completely destroyed during the Peasant’s War in 1525 and rebuilt.

The Schöfstall line died out in 1544 and the castle became the responsibility of the Barons of Wiesenthau. It is recorded that, by 1597 the castle had a brewery. It appears that apart from the brewery and its associated restaurant, the castle was in slow decline as a structure.

As a result of the Napoleonic Wars the town passed to the Duchy of Würzburg in 1810 and subsequently became a part of Bavaria in 1814. A community town council was formed in 1818 by edict.

During the middle part of the 19th Century the remains of the castle were destroyed with the brewery and its tap surviving. Today this small town has a population of around 2,000.

Schlossbrau4In 1926 the brewery and tap were donated to the Bishopric of Würzburg. From 1938 a local man Georg Dirauf had been running the pub and brewery at the request of the local priest. Back then, just 400 hl of beer per annum was produced. (Its yearly production now is 25,000 hl!) He had learned his trade at the Brauerei Zeck in Reckendorf. In 1952 Georg Dirauf purchased both the brewery and Gasthaus from the church and both are now in the ownership of the third generation of the Dirauf family.

Since the 1980s there has been a lot of investment and the brewery has been completely rebuilt, both in the sphere of production but also for keg washing and filling as well as a new bottling plant. In 1997 finance was directed towards the Gasthaus and this was also rebuilt and updated.

In the same building there is the Wursttheke, with a fantastic range of sausages, some for cold consumption, some for hot. It is open on Thursday to Saturday and was incorporated when the structure was rebuilt. I entered the pub just before 11.00 and took a table close to the service bar. I had almost turned right into the sausage shop!

Schlossbrau5There was one table that was occupied by the village faithful. They are always there in Franconian pubs; gentlemen of a certain age chatting away. How they can find something new to say every day is quite beyond me!

I noticed that the furniture and other décor was extensively made of light coloured wood, no doubt dating from the 1997 refurbishment. The bar room is quite small but there is a might larger room to the right of the building that you walk through on the way to the facilities. The bar counter is carved in an art deco style with the front looking a bit like a 1830s radio. Please see photograph. The floors are covered with flagstones.

There was a choice of three beers on draught: Edel-Pils (4.8%), Keller (5.0%) and Heller Freude (5.2%). I had the latter which was their normal light beer. This is my normal choice when I only have time for one. I feel it provides a good comparison with other breweries, as they all brew a beer in this style.

Kellerbier is also common around here. It is an unfiltered beer in an old-fashioned style that is served in a ceramic mug.

Schlossbrau7The vast majority of beer production here leaves the brewery in bottles, as is normal in this area. All the above-mentioned beers are also bottled Additionally there a further eight: Weissbier (wheat) (5.2%); Weizenbock (strong wheat in a Bock style) (7.2%); Lagerbier (another Hell) (4.8%); Dunkelbier (dark) (5.3%); Lightbier (low alcohol) (2.8%); Schlössla (a Märzen) (5.3%); Henrici Bock (a winter Bock beer) (7.0%) and Alt Hausbrauerbier (in a home-brewed style) (4.6%).

Lots of good reasons to go to Reckendorf, not forgetting Brauerei Schroll as well, especially in the Biergarten season.

Important Information:

Gasthaus Schlossbräu, Muhlweg 8, 96182 Reckendorf. Tel: 09544 94950

Hours: Mon/Thu-Sat 10.00-13.30, 16.00-23.00; Wed 16.00-23.00; Sun/Hol 10.00-23.00. Tue: Closed.

Schlossgarten (Biergarten in front of the brewery):
Hours: May to August Monday/Wednesday-Saturday 16.00-23.00, Sunday/Holiday 14.30-23.00.
Tuesday: Closed.

Trains to Reckendorf from Bamberg are run by the Agilis company and are hourly from Monday to Sunday.

From the station walk a short distance along the station approach. Turn left into Bahnhofstrasse. It crosses a bridge over the River Baunach. At this point the brewery is seen in the distance on the right. Turn right into Mühlgasse and head directly towards the brewery. Here is the Schlossgarten in front of it. Visit if open.
If not, you will see a small alleyway to the left of the brewery. Go up this and turn left.
You will immediately see the Gasthaus on the left, which is in Mühlweg.

To go on to Brauerei Schroll continue along Mühlweg and turn right into Eidelsgasse.
At the end of this short street turn left into Hauptstrasse (Main Street) and will soon see Schroll on the left.

A quicker way to get back to the station is to turn right out of Schroll and walk towards the bank.
Go past it with it on your left and turn left to Bahnhofstrasse. This will take you back to the station.