Thursday 16th May 2013
Merkendorf is around ten kilometres from the city of Bamberg and, unlike some of the villages in the locality that still have a brewery, this goes one better and has two!
On this visit I was with some of the respected members of the Brewery History Society. We had earlier been on a tour of the Brauerei Göller in the nearby village of Drosendorf and whilst relaxing in the biergarten afterwards we met Fred Waltman who owns and operates the excellent web site: www.FranconianBeerGuide.com. He was cycling around the area and had just been to Merkendorf and had a bit of bad news to impart. The Brauerei Wagner was closed on this day because of a family celebration.
So we were down to one, but needn't have worried, as Brauerei Hummel had a huge list of beers for our degustation. First, let me provide a little background information. There has been a pub on this site since 1556 and it is thought that the present building dates from 1797. The brewery is in a separate white-painted building next to the pub and can be seen beyond it in the photograph. The pub and brewery have been in the hands of the Hummel family from 1846 to the present day.
Entering via the front door at the top of the steps one turns left into the main room. Beyond is another room opposite the small bar area. At busy times they open another room to the right of the entrance. As it was a pleasant afternoon, there were a number of patrons in the biergarten at the rear of the pub in the brewery yard. It is worth mentioning that they also have a bier-keller that is 300 metres from the pub, see below for the somewhat complex hours of opening. There is a directional sign on the road between the brewery and the bus stops. At the Keller they appropriately sell Kellerbier and Rauchbier or Hefeweizen.
There are no less than nine regular beers and these were all available when we visited. They were:
1162 Jubiläumsfestbier (5.6%), a light-coloured smoked beer brewed for the 850th anniversary of Merkendorf village in 2012.
Pils (4.9%), a typical south German version with medium bitterness.
Kellerbier (5.0%), this was unfiltered and naturally cloudy.
Märzen (5.4%), a mid-brown version
Rucherla (5.5%), a dark brown smoked beer.
Cowboy Schwarzbier (5.0%), this is a black pils!
Weissbier Hell (5.2%), a light fruity wheat beer.
Weissbier Dunkel (5.2%), dark wheat beer.
Leichtes Hefeweissbier (2.9%), a lower alcohol wheat beer.
There are also several seasonal beers as follows:
Festbier Hell (5.6%), a strong light beer available at Easter, Whitsun and Christmas. Also to be found at the local church festival (Kirchweih).
Festbier Dunkel (5.6%), a dark festival beer, on sale at the same holidays as above.
Zwickelbier (5.5%), a cloudy, unfiltered beer that is served from a wooden cask in the pub. It is on offer from the Three Kings festival (Drei Könige) in early January to Lent.
Raucherator Doppelbock (8.0%), a double bock smoked beer available over the period of Lent.
Heller Maibock (7.0%), a bock that is light in colour although not in strength, on sale in April and May.
Weizenbock (7.0%), a wheat bock that is available from November the Three Kings festival in early January.
Heller Leonhardi Bock (7.5%), a light-coloured bock offered from November the Three Kings festival.
Dunkler Bock (7.5%), a dark bock beer also on sale from November the Three Kings festival.
Festbier Dunkel and Raucherator Doppelbock were both available on this visit. I had the Festbier, Kellerbier and Cowboy Schwarzbier and liked them all. They also distil light and dark bierschnapps along with Bockbierlikör, also light and dark. The pub offers a full menu, and judging by the number of tables reserved for later on, is extremely popular. They offer special menus at certain times of year for various seasonal specialities such as Asparagus in May and Carp in the late autumn.
Brauerei Hummel, Lindenstrasse 9, Merkendorf. 96117
Open: Tuesday to Saturday 09.00-23.00; Sunday 10.00-12.00; 15.00-23.00.
Bierkeller (at Austrasse 12): Monday and Tuesday / Thursday and Friday: from 17.00;
Sunday and Holidays from 15.00. Wednesday and Saturday: Closed.
The village is served by bus route 917 infrequently on Mondays to Fridays only. This is a circular route and operates through Merkendorf in one direction only (anti-clockwise). Sometimes it is a through service from Bamberg. At other times, especially in the afternoons, it is an extension of route 927 from Drosendorf.