Wednesday 9th April 2014
When I visited this pub-brewery I wasn't sure what to expect as it had been reported that their brewery had ceased production in 2013. The pub was said to be selling beers from Schlossbrauerei of Reckendorf. Yet when I looked at the Wagner website in early 2014 it implied that they were brewing on site, thus my visit.
When I got to Oberhaid I went to the far end of the complex of buildings to the brewery itself and peered through the large glass windows. Well, it certainly looked like a working brewery. Buttons were illuminated on the control panel and there was a discarded newspaper on the console. I went back to the beautiful half-timbered pub and entered.
I asked for a helles (light) bier and one duly arrived. Without any questioning from me the lady placed it on the table and stated it was "hause gebraut" i.e. home brewed.
It struck me as a strange thing to say in a brewery tap unless she was making the point that they were brewing instead of importing another brewer's products. It is entirely possible that their own brewery had to close in 2013 for repairs.
Another point was that it arrived in a Wagner branded glass. In Germany there are very particular about this. Later I noticed that Fred Waltman on his excellent site: www.franconiabeerguide.com states they resumed brewing in 2014 so I am certain I was sampling a beer from the Wagner brewery although further confirmation would be greatly appreciated.
The beer I was drinking was Pils and this is the only draught beer available in the pub. It was pleasantly innocuous with slight bitterness in the finish. They brew three regular year-round beers. These are the aforementioned Pils (5.2%), Vollbier (5.2%) and Kellerbier (4.8%).
The latter is available on draught at their biergarten, the Hannla Keller, which is about one kilometre from town in an easterly direction towards Dörfliens. This is open: Monday-Friday 14.00-22.00; Saturday-Sunday 12.00-22.00, closed during bad weather.
They also brew a Bockbier (7.5%) on draught and in bottle. A big fuss is made of the first tapping of this beer at the pub. It normally occurs in early December. They previously brewed a Dunkel bier (dark) (4.8%) but this seems to have been dropped.
Their production per annum is 600 hl. A large amount of the brewery's business is done by home deliveries. They do not brew wheat beer. This is supplied by Will-Bräu of Motten.
I entered the pub through a covered courtyard and turned left into the main room. To the left I saw a room that was like a theatre with no seats. There was a stage at the far end and this ties in with the posters I noticed advertising forthcoming bands and festivals. Although there is no way through, the brewery is located beyond this large room.
The main room has a public bar feeling about it. After entering I observed the tile-fronted serving area on the right and took a seat facing it. Another thing I noticed was the juke box which was of the CD variety.
On the wall above, rather incongruously, there's a wood framed pendulum clock. There was a tiled stove beyond and after that there was another room. The tables are bleached wood and the chairs are also wooden, but varnished.
The brewery was founded as long ago as 1550 although nowadays the plant is fairly modern. I would guess at the 1960s and it looks as if its exterior dates from the same time.
The pub is considerably older and has now been placed on the Register of Historic buildings. It is believed that is was constructed about 1750 although the windows date from the 1880s. The impressive wooden door is much more recent; 1957 to be precise.
It's worth making the effort to visit this pub as its beers are rarely seen outside of Oberhaid.
Brauerei Wagner, Bamberger Strasse 2, 96173 Oberhaid. Tel: 0950 3229
Open: Monday-Sunday 09.00-01.00
The 952 bus serves the town but probably the best way to Oberhaid is by train from Bamberg. It takes just four minutes and is more or less hourly on all days of the week. Trains are run by DB Regio.
It's about 10 minutes walk to the pub. From the station go turn left into Bahnhofstrasse. At the end make a right turn in to Weide. This is has a stream running along the middle. The pub is on the left when this street meets Bambergerstrasse.