Steppach, Bayern (Bavaria):
Hotel-Brauereigasthof Reichsadler-Bräu Josef Fuchs
Wednesday 5th April 2017
Reichsadler-Bräu Josef Fuchs is yet another of those southern German breweries that have been around forever and are family owned. It is in the small town of Steppach which is about five kilometres (three miles) east of the Bavarian city of Augsburg. It’s pivotal to the life and commerce of the town, as a hotel, restaurant, pub, source of take-away beer and a butcher’s shop. This pub and brewery are often described as being at Neusäss, yet this is the administrative town of the area, not the location.
The inn was established in 1431 and had its own brewery, named Reichsadler, the national symbol of Germany which is the black double headed eagle.
From the onset it had gained a good name for its hospitality and accommodated many famous guests including Casanova and Emperor Napoleon III, who visited with his mother, Hortense of Holland. He eventually died in exile in England and is buried in the Abbey at Farnborough in Hampshire.
The brewery is a very imposing building that is separate from the Gasthof, yet only fifty metres away on the opposite side of the road. I have mentioned that this pub was the centre of town life.
There was serious fire in the kitchen during 1782. Then as now, a wedding banquet was being hosted. After, it was rebuilt and reopened the following year and the result of this is what you see today.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century Franz Josef Fuchs (II) came on the scene when he married the widowed owner of the inn, Karolina Steger. So, since 1890 the brewery and gasthof has been in hands of the Fuchs family and at the time of writing this was the seventh generation. Back in the 1890s they had their own farm (maybe they still do?) which produced the barley and hops used in the manufacture of the beer.
The pub and brewery are found just off the main street (Ulmer Strasse) of this small town. I guess that the location in Alte Reichsstrasse indicates that this was actually the old road through Steppach. The main entrance faces away from the town centre. So, I had to walk around the building to go in. This gave me the opportunity to take a good look at the brewery building.
I entered under a porch and then turned right into the main room. This is very traditional with lots of wooden panelling around the walls. The furniture is likewise all wooden with most of the table tops being of scrubbed wood with just a few varnished. There are no carpets so there are varnished floorboards.
Around three walls is a continuous bench with fitted blue cushioning that actually diverts around the brown kackelofen. This is the traditional tiled stove that is found in so many Bavarian pubs.
In this ultra-traditional pub I noticed a number of oil-painted portraits on the walls, no doubt of Fuchs family members. The serving counter is on the left of the room with a beautiful illuminated double headed eagle above it. At the back of this are the kitchens. There is a door here that leads down a corridor towards the facilities. This passes a room on the right that was all laid up with tablecloths. It has plastered walls hung with many paintings and has a superb wooden ceiling. There is also a stuffed fox standing on a shelf.
Continuing my quest deep into the pub I found another room on the right side of the building. This one has wood-panelled walls with no paintings and a wooden ceiling of a different design to the previous room.
Finally I reached the last room. This has panelling to head height and is larger than those I had passed. It has wooden cupboards displaying some old drinking vessels from the brewery.
Beers on offer were the usual trinity of Bavarian country breweries, thus Hell (Light), Dunkel (Dark) and Weisse (Wheat) were available. I liked both the dark and the light although I passed on the wheat beer. However, there was one more beer to try. This was a Spring seasonal: Josefi-Bock.
Rather neglectfully, I failed to record the abv of this strong beer but I do remember that it was in the light-coloured single bock style that is found in the Springtime. Elsewhere it is often known as Maibock, as it is sold in May.
I feel that this brewery is rather overlooked amongst the multitude of Bavarian family breweries. Why, is a bit of mystery as the town of Steppach is easily accessible, see below. It is open all day, every day and is a hotel with one, two, three and four bed rooms. It has a lovely beer garden under a canopy of trees and the food served looked superb.
It’s well worth the short journey out of Augsburg city.
Hotel-Brauereigasthof Reichsadler-Bräu Josef Fuchs, Alte Reichstrasse 10-19, 86356 Augsburg-Steppach
Tel: 0821 480920.
Hours: Monday-Sunday: 06.30-24.00.
There are three ways to get to and from this pub.
Firstly is the hourly 506 bus that starts from the forecourt of Augsburg Hauptbahnhof (main station).
It runs hourly Monday to Friday and operates via the city centre. On Saturday it goes direct to Steppach.
It operates until quite late in the evening. On Sunday it is roughly two-hourly and ends mid-evening.
At weekends it does not travel via the city centre.
Another way is to catch tram 3 from the city centre or main station to the end of the route at Stadtbergen. Here you catch the 641 bus to Steppach. It runs approximately hourly Monday to Saturday.
It does not serve Steppach on Sunday.
The third choice is to leave the city on tram 2 and alight at the terminus of Steppach West P+R (Park and Ride). From here it is around a ten minute walk to the pub. Alternatively you can wait for the 641 bus mentioned above which operates at roughly hourly intervals on Monday to Saturday, but not Sunday.
In the village of Steppach the bus stop to use is Steppach Mitte in Ulmer Strasse, the main road.
Near to the bus stops you will find a small open area. This is Am Dreieck. If you walk along it you will soon see the main building of the Josef Fuchs Hotel-Brewery-Restaurant-Pub. The main entrance is on the opposite side. However, if it is summer, you can enter directly into the biergarten.