Tuesday 23rd April 2019
There has been a tragedy unfolding in Southern Germany over the last thirty to forty years. No, it is not life-threatening, yet there is an important part of the Bavarian culture being imperceptibly lost and it is still happening. I refer to the demise of the village and small town breweries. Typically they are hundreds of years old and have served their customers well.
There are a number of reasons why this should happen. In some cases the equipment has become worn out with the owners unable to afford to replace it. In some family-owned breweries the next generation is not interested in continuing with the business. When a brewery’s closure also involves its tap then the effect on a village can be catastrophic as they are the centres of community life. A general drop in the pro-capita amount of beer consumed doesn’t help either.
However the real threat is the large regional brewers who often purchase small country breweries to secure the business for themselves. Their marketing is aggressive and they offer beers to the supermarket chains at knock-down prices.
Most of these brewers are from Munich and are well-known names internationally. Whatever the reason, there is a crises and these small village pubs should be visited before they all go.
The subject of this article is an example of this trend yet it is tempered slightly. Kalt-Loch means “cold cave” and that refers to the brewery’s location. It was situated on Hauptstrasse (Main Street) in front of a rocky cliff, the caves in which were used to store the beer as it matured. The brewery opened in 1580 and in 2000 there were celebrations for its 420 years anniversary. Who could have thought that ten years later it would close.
The last brew was in March 2010. Since 1918 they had brewed Engelberger Klosterbier for the Franciscan monastery Engelberg at Großheubach in Lower Franconia.
When Kalt-Loch closed the equipment was sold to the monastery retaining the integrity of their beer. This is one piece of good news. Another is that the pub is still with us. It would have been a tragedy if this beautiful building had been lost.
I was with Linda and we settled into a comfortable seat in the traditional main room. It was mid-afternoon and the sun was shining through the ancient stained glass windows. Looking around we could see the wooden bar counter opposite and in fact, pretty well all the furniture is dark wood.
The following beers were brewed at the time of closure: Lager (unfiltered), (abv unknown), Export (5.5%), Pils (4.8%), Hefeweizen Hell (light) (5.0%), Hefeweizen Dunkel (dark) (5.0%), Doppelbock Hell (light) (7.0%) and Doppelbock Dunkel (dark) (7.0%). The last two beers were available in winter only.
The only regular Kalt-Loch beer still brewed is Fränkisches Landbier Dunkel (5.5%) and it is produced by the Eder & Heylands Brauerei in Grossostheim. They also produce a Bockbier (actually a Doppelbock) (10.0%) to the Kalt-Loch recipe in winter. This is the third bit of good news as a couple of the beers are still with us, but for how long? Eder & Heylands also brew under the Schlappe-Seppel name and there were three of these beers on draught in the Bräustüble: Seppelchen Spezial Export (5.6%), Pils (5.1%) and Kellerbier (5.5%).
A full menu is offered and if you are in or around Miltenberg you should visit.
Kalt-Loch Bräustüble, Hauptstrasse 201, 63897 Miltenberg. Tel: 09371 2481
Hours: Thursday-Tuesday 11.00-21.00; Wednesday Closed
Miltenberg railway station is at a junction of three rural branch lines.
These go to Aschaffenburg, Lauda and Osterburken, where there are further connections.
There are RB trains (local) and some RE (regional express).
To see how this connects up with the rest of the DB network use the journey planner on the DB website.
To get to the pub leave the station and cross to Berliner Platz and continue along Brückenstrasse.
Cross the river and turn right. The approach road continues down to Mainstrasse parallel to the river Main.
Keep walking until you reach Löwengasse on the left.
Turn into it and pass the Faust Bräustüble on the right.
At Hauptstrasse turn left and you will find the pub around 100 metres on the right.