Nördlingen, Bayern (Bavaria):
Brauerei-Gasthof zum Fuchs (Anker Brauerei)
Monday 7th January 2013
This is the brewery tap of the Anker brewery, which is actually located just inside the ancient wall on the other side of town. Nördlingen is one of three historic towns that still have their enclosing town walls completely intact, and it is possible to walk around them.
The other two, Dinkelsbühl and Rothenburg ob der Tauber are not far away and all three are connected by the so-called Romantishe Strasse (Romantic Road).
The town is over 1,100 years old and in 1215 Emperor Frederick 11 granted it Free Imperial City status. This situation continued until 1802 when it became part of Bavaria during the period of secularisation in that state. This was important because Nördlingen was a Protestant town in the Lutheran faith and, at one time, you had to be of that persuasion just to live within its walls. There were major battles here, in 1634 and 1645, during the thirty years war.
Soaring above the town is the huge church of St Georg with its massive tower known as Daniel. However the biggest tourist attraction for me is the Brauerei-Gasthof zum Fuchs (The Fox pub).
Although the brewery was established in 1608 the pub was not mentioned until 1783 although it is probably older than that. It is a classic two-roomed Bavarian market town pub with many original features.
You enter in to what you would loosely call a Public Bar with the actual serving area. This is where most of the locals hang out and where we sat on our first visit here on Sunday night as some of our fellow customers played cards. Let me explain that I spent five nights in Nördlingen and visited the pub three times. I would have come in on all five nights but it was closed on two of them! I have dated this piece for Monday night as that was when I spent the most time and the photos were taken.
From the outside you see the huge extent of the building which is traditionally half-timbered. The sign is notable as it depicts a fox about to grab a chicken and is made of wrought iron.
Inside, there is a lot of dark wood panelling and all the furniture is also wooden yet fully cushioned. The second room is slightly larger and is more like a restaurant although the two are actually interchangeable.
This is a fabulous pub and has a genuine care-worn appearance and feel. It's like stepping back in time. The windows are leaded with stained glass motifs including many foxes, of course.
I was with compatriot imbibers Russell, Patrick, Steve and Vaughan. In the pub we met Andrew, Ian, Pete and June. There were five beers on offer and the choice was Grandl Lagerbier Hell (5.0%), a good example of the style with a little bitterness.
They normally do a Festbier according to the season and of course at this time of year it was Weinachtsbier (Christmas beer) (5.7%). This had that warm, malty and slightly sweet taste you associate with the time of year. Premium Pils (4.7%) was suitably dry in the Southern German style. These three beers had no additional carbonation; the remaining two did, as that is the style. I didn't try these two wheat beers, Rieser Hefeweizen (5.5%) and Dunkles Hefeweizen (5.5%), a dark version. However Patrick and some of the others tried them and pronounced the results satisfactory.
There were a number of bottled beers available and one came with a recommendation from the staff. This was Daniel Trunk (Daniel drink) named after the tower of the church. It was a dark organic Keller-bier and we noticed that there was little or no added CO2 in it. Strangely, it wasn't cloudy as one would expect from this type of beer.
Considering the staunchly traditional nature of the brewery's tap it is surprising to hear that the brewery is very progressive. They have designed a beer-in-the-box a system that is finding favour on cruise ships. The advantage over conventional kegs is that the boxes can be stacked on pallets and are non-returnable. Before you rush off to book a cruise please note that there is still a need for CO2 to be used during dispense although it can be very low in pressure.
Ships already serving Anker beer are the Brilliance of the Seas (Royal Caribbean Line), Mein Schiff (TUI Cruises) and the latest convert MSC Magnifica (MSC Lines) which has 20 bars!
Food is from a limited menu with specials and is very Bavarian. I ate three nights and had respectively; Schweinebraten von Saubuckel mit Semmelknödel (roast pork with a suet dumpling), Bayerische Schweinshaxe mit Kartoffelknödel (roast pork knuckle with a potato dumpling) and Schweineschnitzel "Wiener Art" mit Kartoffelsalat (pork Wienerschnitzel with potato salad). The last two were exceptionally good. They also specialise in duck, game and in season, carp.
So that's it, an absolutely wonderful pub with very good beers.
Brauerei-Gasthof zum Fuchs, Bei den Kornschrannen 20, Nördlingen 86720. Tel: 0908 14471
Open: Winter: Wednesday to Monday 09.30-24.00. Tuesday: Closed.
Note: On this visit the pub closed additionally on Wednesday. This may occur at holiday times. It is best to check regarding Wednesdays.
Summer: Daily 09.30-24.00
The railway station is served by a more-or-less hourly service running from Aalen to Donauwörth. Connections from the former are to from Stuttgart and Ulm and from the latter to and from Augsburg and Munich. From the station turn right and then left and through the Deininger Tor (fortified gate). Continue to the pedestrian area. Turn right and Zum Fuchs is on the right. It should take around ten minutes.