Visited on: Saturday 28th July 2018
I was travelling with a group of like-minded imbibers when we arrived in the small town of Huppendorf in a chartered coach.
Although it is on a fairly major road the town is very poorly served by public transport. The bus service is entirely geared around taking children to and from school and so is of no use to anybody trying to travel to this brewery.
One thing we could not have anticipated was that we had arrived on the day of town’s Kirchweih. It is like a small Oktoberfest.
Whereas that celebrates the harvest, this is the annual re-consecration of the church, followed by a festival of eating and drinking. In the Franconian dialect it is known as “Kerwa”.
The consequence for us was that Huppendorf was closed to road traffic and we had to park our transportation in a temporary car park in a field above the town.
When we arrived outside the brewery’s buildings it was apparently obvious why we could not take our coach into the town as the main street was closed and completely laid out with biergarten-type benches and seating.
The brewery is a separate building on the opposite side of the road to the Gasthof. The usual car park was closed and there was more seating here, most of it under cover.
This brewery has astonishingly been in the hands of the Grasser family since its inception. That was way back in 1750 when it was founded by Pankraz Grasser, who owned the inn, so the history of family ownership goes back even further.
In 1899 Jacob Grasser constructed cellars for maturing beer. Yet, even they could not be used in the summers because of the heat. Shortly after the family purchased a copper mash tun and kettle from a bankrupt brewery in Zeegendorf to replace the worn out wooden equipment used previously.
As they were only providing beer for the pub, this was much larger than needed. When Jakob Grasser died in 1927 and the business was taken by son, Johann. They done well during the 1930s and they laid pipes from the well to the brewery and acquired a new grist mill.
Following the Second World War Michael Grasser was in charge. A cooling system was installed in 1953 and thereafter brewing could be performed all year round. Further improvements were made and beer was supplied all around the area.
Johannes Grasser took over in 1995 and a program of further expansion was undertaken, including more maturation capacity. He was later joined by his brother Andreas in running the company.
More replacement and modernisation continued and today the brewery is a completely ecologically sound operation. It was renovated and enlarged in 1996. In 1999 four new fermentation vessels were installed followed in 2006 by the complete replacement of the old aluminium lagering tanks with stainless steel versions.
All power for the brewing process and pub came from burning wood chip from the surrounding forests from 2007. In the same year a new warehouse was built.
A new stainless steel brew house arrived in 2010. Solar panels was installed in 2011 to supplement the wood chip plant. Finally, a new bottling plant was put during 2015. The annual production is now 12,000 of beer and 2,000 hl of soft drinks.
We took our seats at one of the many long tables outside. In fact all service was done there or in the street. There was nobody in the Gastätte itself so I was able to look around. There are several rooms there were in the traditional style. Wooden furniture with wood panelling half way up the walls. There was kackelofen in a corner. This is the classic wood-burning stove surrounded by green ceramic tiles.
One advantage of coming at Kerwa is getting the opportunity of drinking Export (5.5%). This is a special beer for this weekend only. The pub normally has four draught beers, sometimes five if a seasonal bier is served.
The four permanent offerings are Dunkles Vollbier (5.0%), a dark lager and the most popular of the range; Zwickel (4.6%), a light unfiltered lager; Pils (4.9%) and Hefeweizen (5.2%), a wheat beer.
Other beers are Winterweizen (5.5%), a wheat beer on sale from 6th January, Josefi (7.0%), a bockbier; Märzen (5.6%), offered in April and May; Kathrein-Bock (5.5%), a doppelbock; Weinachtsfestbier (5.5%), a Christmas beer; Öchsla (5.5%), a Whitsun beer; Grachäds (5.2%), a Rauchbier (Smoked) and the aforementioned Export. In 0.33l flip-top bottles is 1750 Vollbier, which I guess is a reproduction of their first beer. They also have a distillery and produce their own schnapps and other liquors.
As can be seen, this is a great selection of beers and I would certainly like to revisit this brewery when it is a little quieter.
Brauerei Grasser, Huppendorf 23, 96167 Königsfeld-Huppendorf. Tel: 09207 270. Web: huppendorfer-bier.de
Hours: Monday-Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday-Saturday: 09.00-22.00; Sunday: 15.00-22.00 *
* Every second Sunday and on Holidays the pub opens at 09.00 and serves a traditional Franconian lunch.
The only bus service is for school children from the village. It might get visitors to the pub, but not back.
See the website of VGN.