Saturday 18th May 2013
Zoigl beer is an ancient traditional beer brewed on a village commune brewery. Although these breweries were once found in many parts of Bavaria, it is only in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) region that it lingers on with the particular style of beer known as Zoigl. Oberpfalz has been part of Bavaria since 1620, when its ruler Frederick V, led an abortive attempt to claim the throne of that country and ended up forfeiting his own. It was just absorbed as another region after that.
The name Zoigl comes from the word for sign; "Zeichen" and this was corrupted in the Oberpfalz dialect as "Zeigl" which later morphed into "Zoigl". The word "Zeigl" first appeared in 1508 in reference to beer brewed in nearby Neuhaus an der Waldnaab. The sign is, of course, the six pointed star, often referred to as the star of St David, which is the symbol of a brewery throughout a large part of Europe, including the UK. As an aside; there is a leaded-glass window at the rear of the Shepherd Neame brewery in Faversham, Kent, England, depicting the self-same star.
As far as Zoigl beer is concerned, the star is displayed outside the premises when beer was on offer. In Windischeschenbach I noticed the sign was not necessarily a star, often a beer mug. As mentioned above, the beer comes from the village commune brewery. After its primary fermentation of ten days in the brewery it receives its secondary fermentation in the cellar of the house that is to sell it. This can take any time between two and six weeks, depending on the recipe of the owner. Then, according to a pre-ordained timetable, the house will offer it for sale over a weekend.
On this afternoon I was visiting Schlosshof-Zoigl and consider myself very lucky as this was the second house I visited that day. Sometimes the calendar throws up two simultaneous outlets over the same weekend. It is run by the Weiss family who have lived in the house for around twenty years. This was my third visit to this particular premises and it was the first time it wasn't actually packed out. I entered the main room and there were just a couple of personable old boys there.
The walls are decorated with old farm implements, as are several buildings outside. In fact the surroundings are very redolent of a farm yard and this got me thinking about my first visit here in the 1990s and if my memory is not playing tricks, then that is exactly what it was.
When I left I paid close attention to the yard and noticed that it had been completely resurfaced with grey gravel and everything looked shiny and new.
Unusually amongst Zoigl pubs is that on the weekends when Schlosshof-Zoigl is open, it is from Friday to Tuesday, an extra day! Food is in the solid style of the region with the main menu being sausages, hot and cold, even pickled! Of course, there are the usual Brotzeit (bread time) plates with succulent cold meats and cheese. I have to hold my hand up and admit I love this. However there is an additional speciality hot dish offered on Friday, Sunday and Tuesday and this could be roasted pork shoulder, goose breast, venison ragout or grilled pork knuckle, amongst many others; but only one on each day.
This is a lovely and welcoming place to stop for a drink and is commended for its Zoigl beer and food.
Schlosshof-Zoigl, Schlosshof 13, Windischeschenbach. 92670. Tel: 096 812660
Note: when open, the house begins service at 10.00
Closing time is normally 24.00 but on Tuesday it is 22.00
Buses to Windischeschenbach are infrequent and usually run only Mondays to Fridays.
The station is served by trains of Vogtlandbahn railway company and operate about every hour Monday to Friday, and two-hourly on Saturday and Sunday. They run from Regensburg to Marktredwitz via Schwandorf and Weiden.