Amberg, Bayern (Bavaria):
Brauerei Gasthof zum Kummert-Bräu
Monday 7th April 2014
Not to be confused with the larger city of Bamberg, Amberg is also a brewing town. Until the 1970s there were ten breweries in this town, quite an amount considering that it is not a large place. For a comparison there are nine in Bamberg today but sadly, Amberg was down to just five on the occasion of this visit. It's located in the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria and is situated to the west of Nürnberg towards Schwandorf.
Unlike most other breweries in this area, Kummert is not particularly ancient with its story beginning in 1903 when the pub was opened as "Zur Heimat" which loosely translates as "at home", implying comfort and security.
In 1907 it was acquired by Franz Kummert who was a farmer and butcher. The beer sold was brewed by his brother in Vilseck at the Brauerei Georg Kummert.
The logistics of transporting the beer on carts pulled by horses over bad roads proved to be very daunting. This, combined with the increased popularity of the pub after the First World War, led to a brewery being opened behind the pub in 1927. Franz Kummert was succeeded by his son Andreas in 1938.
Up to 1948 the beer brewed was just a Hell (light) and Märzen, a strong spring beer. In that year a wheat beer was added to the range and as this is top fermented it marked a radical change from the previous beers.
A new brew house was opened in 1956 and in 1994 the pub building was completely renovated. Franz Kummert, the son of Andreas Kummert, took over the operation of the brewery and tap in 2009, thus ensuring the company remained in family control for a third generation.
This was a first time visit as on all previous occasions I went to pubs in Amberg that were within the town walls. As can be seen from the exterior photographs it was dusk when I arrived at the brewery tap. I must say it looked very inviting in the early evening light.
It is a handsome building and once inside I could see how large it was. You enter in to what can best be described as a reception area with the serving counter on my left. Opposite there were a couple of upturned barrel-tables with stools and I settled there. To the right of this area there is a large room leading to another. This is the main room of the pub as is decorated in traditional style with polished wood tables and chairs.
I went off exploring in the other direction and I found another big room on the right that lead to a biergarten in what was once the brewery yard. This was probably the original main room as it had dark wooden panelling to above head height. There was a smaller, more intimate room next with similar panelling. I would guess this would used by private parties.
The corridor itself is beautifully decorated with framed bottle labels of past times.
I went further along it and went right in to a huge room that was not in use. On one side there was a gleaming mash tun and copper with chimneys extending up through the ceiling. In front of these was a bar with stools. The rest of the room had conventional tables and seating. Like the entire pub, it was spotlessly clean.
At first I thought this was the brewery itself but once I had learned a bit more about the place I realised that this was the brewery that was replaced in 1956 when a new brew house was constructed behind the pub. If you look at the photograph of this (above left) the building in the foreground is the old brew house where I was standing, with the newer brewery behind it.
I perused the menu and discovered there was quite an extensive beer list. On draught there was a choice of Hell (light) (4.7%), Pils (4.9%), Hausbier (4.7%), 27er Urtyp (4.8%) and Kurpfalz Hefe Weisse (wheat) (4.9%).
Also, on the daily menu only, there was Doppelbock (7.6%) on draught and that mustn't be missed as this massive beer is normally only brewed for lent.
I started with a small glass of the Doppelbock and it was exactly what I thought it would be like; thick, malty and intense. Being presented with a choice of six different beers made me want to try as many as possible.
So next it was Hausbier which is only found in this tap and is never bottled. It was a medium brown colour and fairly malty but nothing special. Then it was 27er Urtyp, a beer in the Kellerbier style. I liked this as it was true to the type and had medium bitterness. Finally, I ended with Hell which was also good, being fairly bitter.
This brewery specialises in wheat beers and other than Kurpfalz Hefe Weisse, these are offered in bottled form, the traditional and original method of serving.
The first three are described as "Weissbiere in der flasche gerieft" or matured in the bottle. I am not a devotee of wheat beers so I don't know whether Kummert treats them differently than other breweries.
They were Altbayerische Weizen Dunkel (Old Bavararian dark wheat) (4.9%); König Friedrich Weisse (King Frederick wheat) (4.9%) and Vilsthaler Leichte Weisse (Vils Valley light wheat) (2.8%). There was also Kristallweizen (4.7%) which is a filtered wheat beer.
The menu features a number of local specialities. In conclusion, this pub is recommended because of its good range of Kummert's beers on draught that are not available in other pubs, and is worth the short walk out of town to sample them.
Brauerei Gasthof zum Kummert-Bräu, Raigeringer Strasse 11, 92224 Amberg. Tel: 0962 113232
Open: Wednesday-Monday 10.00-24.00; Tuesday: 17.00-24.00
It takes about 15-20 minutes to walk from Amberg railway station. The no 8 bus also passes the door.
Amberg station is served by an hourly RE (Regional Express) from Nürnberg to Schwandorf with trains continuing to either Fürth im Wald on the Czech border or Regensburg.
Update October 2017. Hours: Thursday to Monday: 10.00-24.00; Tuesday to Wednesday: 17.00-24.00.