Friday 18th December 2015
The rain had stopped as I walked from the Münsterplatz (Cathedral Square) through the narrow lanes of the Altstadst (Old Town) down to this brew-pub. Many of the streets had small canalised streams running along them, a notable feature of this city. I was a little surprised when I got to the pub. It looked very modern compared with the surrounding buildings. I thought it appeared not unlike the type of brew-pub you might find in Russia or the USA.
However, all is not what it seems, as this brewery has a history stretching back to the nineteenth century. Its story began on 1st December 1877 when Julius Feierling, a master brewer, founded a brewery with a pub attached. This was located in a very old building dating from 1460 which was known as “Zur Ilsen”. This was because it was located on an island formed with a small river on one side and another of the aforementioned streams on the other.
Julius Feierling brewed the first light lager beer in Freiburg and his pub became very popular. He later moved the brewery to a nearby location on Grünwälderstrasse am Augustinerplatz. From here he built it up to become quite an enterprise, serving the city and surrounding area.
Sadly the brewery closed in 1981. It is said that this was because its well water was compromised by the construction of an underground car park in Augustinerplatz and also the difficulty of getting delivery vehicles through the narrow city streets.
So, I suppose, that would have been that if it wasn’t for Martina Feierling, from the fourth generation of the family. She was a master brewer educated at the Weihenstephan University near Munich.
She graduated in 1978. She and partner, economist Wolfgang Rombach established the new Hausbrauerei Feierling and it opened its doors in 1989.
Although this a very big pub, I got the impression that it could do with being even larger.
When I visited in the early afternoon on a Friday, it was absolutely packed. The only seating places were at stools by the bar counter. It extends upwards to three floors. I visited the first storey as this is where the facilities are located. It must have been even busier that evening as live bands play on Fridays.
Obviously this was the wrong time of year, yet it is worth noting there is a very large biergarten, shaded by traditional Horse Chestnut trees, that is extremely popular.
Unusually there is only one year-round draught beer and that is Inselhopf (5.2%). It’s an unfiltered pils and is one of the best I’ve sampled in a modern German brew-pub. There was also a seasonal beer, Brunhilde (6.0%). This is a dunkel bock and I thought it was also a great beer. Both were served using minimal gas and this improved them considerably.
The menu reflects local dishes of the area, especially those from the local Schwarzwald (Black Forest). So, this pub is well worth visiting for both food and of course, beer.
Hausbrauerei Feierling, Gerberau 46, 79098 Freiburg (Breisgau). Tel: 076124 3480
Hours: Sunday-Thursday 11.00-24.00; Friday-Saturday 11.00-01.00
To get to the pub from the railway station you need to catch the tram No 1 from the overbridge at the south end of the platforms, follow the signs. Alight at the Oberlinden stop and walk back in the direction you have arrived from. Turn left into Augustinerplatz. At the bottom of this small square, go left and you will see the pub on the right.
Freibourg railway station is well served by local trains (RE and RB). There is also an hourly Inter-City Express (ICE) train going north alternately to Berlin via Frankfurt or Hamburg via Frankfurt Airport and Cologne. In the southerly direction these trains go to Basel in Switzerland and normally go forward to cities in Switzerland such as Interlaken via Bern.