Sulzbach-Rosenberg, Bayern (Bavaria):
Monday 14th April 2014
This very likable pub and brewery is located to the west of the main street of the Altstadt (Old Town) of Sulzbach-Rosenberg. Although it officially acknowledges its inception to be 1834, brewing and selling of beer had been taking place on the site for a long time previous to that.
The Fuchs family had for several generations been baking and brewing there. This is where the current name comes from, a combination of the family name with “beck”, which refers to the baking activity.
The importance of 1834 is this was when Johann Michael Orth bought the brewery. He also had a background of baking and brewing. The name of the business was retained as it was so well-known in the town.
The beer back then was produced on one of the Kommunbrauerei (Commune breweries), as was the case in many towns and villages in this part of Germany. Today, just five are still used in this area of Bavaria.
Johann Orth died in 1859 and his widow Anna Barbara continued with the business. By 1874 their son Johann Georg Orth had taken responsibility for the brewing. He rebuilt the bakery and the pub. When he died in 1909 the estate passed to son Johann (Hans) Orth. The pub is located at the bottom of the cliff that is surmounted by the town’s castle.
Back then they brewed just two beers, one for summer and the other for winter. They were both matured for a long time in cellars under the property. Hans Orth only arrived back at the brewery in 1920, having been in French captivity during the Great War. The beers were then being brewed at the Brauerei Iberer.
In 1927 Hans Orth re-exercised his rights to brew on the Kommunbrauerei. This was at the Vorderen Brauhausgesellschaft, literally the Near Brewhouse Society, one of two in the town and meaning that it was nearer the town centre than the Hinteren Brauhausgesellschaft, the Further Brewhouse Society.
They finally quit the Commune brewery in 1961 to move to their own premises next to pub and the old facility closed in that year.
During the Second World War production moved over to low alcohol small beer until proper ingredients were available after the conflict.
During the 1930s the brewery extended its trading area by contracting with other pubs to sell Fuchsbeck beers. Delivery was made by horse and cart right up to 1956 when their first truck was purchased.
Sometime post war the firm comes under the control of Armin Ertel although even to this day the holding company is Orth-Bräu. In 2008 he leases it to Erna and Willi Haller who provide considerable investment in the form of new brewery equipment. It is a good job that this happened.
On the occasion of my only previous visit I liked the pub, but the brewery buildings looked very run down.
Nowadays they look good with a fresh coat of paint. I feel that this brewery could have suffered a slow death, like so many others in the area, if it wasn’t for the new management.
I said I liked the pub. This it is because it is unashamedly “public bar”. There is only one major food item; three pickled bratwurst together with a bit of sauerkraut and onion in sauce. This is a traditional dish in the Oberpfalz province and I have been promising that I’m going to have it one day. I like pickled food and also bratwursts so it has got to be a winner.
The main bar room is on the left of the entrance door. It is quite small and there is low lighting from shaded lamps. The walls are bare brick and the small bar, really the service counter, is fronted by green dimpled tiles like those used on the traditional kackeloven stoves found in many pubs around here. The furniture is all wooden but the chairs do have cushions.
If I have got this right, there were two draught beers offered: Hell (4.5%), a normal light coloured lager with a little bit of bitterness in the finish, and Pils (5.0%) which I didn’t realise was on sale or else I would have had it, never mind. They also sell a range of their bottled beers. These were Export (5.4%), a stronger Hell beer; Hefe-Weissen (5.2%), unfiltered wheat beer; and Kristal-Weizen (5.5%), clear filtered wheat beer.
There was also Leichtes Weizen (2.9%) a lower alcohol wheat beer. They also brew three seasonal beers and some are available on draught in the pub at appropriate times.
These are Bockbier (7.0%); Primus (7.5%) and Festbier (5.5%). Bockbier is for Lent. Primus is a bottled-conditioned Weizenbock, presumably offered in winter. Festbier can be consumed in November and December and is their Christmas beer.
All in all, this is great little pub to visit should you be in or near this two-brewery town.
Zum Fuchsbeck, Hagtor 1, 92237 Sulzbach-Rosenberg. Tel: 0966 14518
Open: Monday-Tuesday/Thursday-Saturday 09.00-01.00; Sunday: 09.00-12.00
Sulzbach-Rosenberg is on the Nürnberg to Schwandorf railway line that continues to Fürth im Wald which is the German border station to the Czech Republic on the line which goes on to Plzeň (Pilsen) and Prague.
Schwandorf has connections to the city of Regensburg and northwards to Hof.
The trains are normally hourly on all days of the week. Please be wary if you are coming from Nürnberg as they often leave that city in three portions to different destinations combined in the same train.
It is essential that you ensure you are in the correct part of the train, to quote a phrase.
This pub is about 20 minutes walk from Sulzbach-Rosenberg railway station, mostly uphill.
There is a local bus network serving villages in the area and nearby beery town Amberg.