Friday 4th April 2014
The beginnings of this company were in 1731 and it is now in its twelfth generation of family ownership, a remarkable achievement. Back then, the pub which later became Meinel's Bas was supplied by the Kommunebrauerei, the town's commune brewery. A significant development in the pub's history occurred in 1861 when Johann Georg Meinel married Barbara Herath.
She extended the pub, attracting more customers. She was apparently a well-liked landlady and coined the present day name for the pub.
In 1873 the property is listed as a beer house that offered beer from the Kommunebrauerei. In 1897 they constructed new cellars with modern cooling methods.
By 1902 it was realised that demand was such that they would have to build their own brewery and the then-present owner Georg Karl Meinel began construction of a new plant powered by steam just over the river on the site of old quarry workings.
Georg Karl Meinel died in 1949 and his son Johann Georg Meinel, a trained brewer, took over the company. In turn, his daughter Gisele Helene Meinel-Hansen became the boss and with her husband, Hans-Joachim Hansen, naturally a brewmaster, developed the company further. They introduced five new beers and modernised the pub.
Already their daughters are involved as Moni Meinel-Hansen achieved her brewing diploma in 2009 and another daughter Gisi Meinel-Hansen has graduated in Beverage Business administration. So the future looks good for this small brewery.
The pub itself is a wonderful place. The public rooms ramble throughout the building. When I visited some were open and others were closed, but I pushed open all of the doors to have a look. The main corridor leads through to the biergarten, where I eventually settled.
Along the corridor are a few upturned barrels acting as tables for standing drinkers. After coming through the main door there is a room on either side. That on the left is very traditional with lots of dark wood. The one on the right is more light and airy. Strangely it contained a piano on which there was a very large fox, of the soft toy variety.
There are some beautifully carved wooden bench seats and some wonderfully engraved mirrors.
The main bar room was on the left and there were the normal sort of locals that you would expect in a pub like this, all men and over 60. They are probably there every day at the same time!
In here the service area is on the right and the room continues on to the right and then right again so there is a seating area behind the bar from which it is separated by a glass "window".
Out the back is the aforementioned biergarten and it is quite large. It wasn't by any means full so there was waiter service, yet I noticed there was a self-service kiosk so that is where you get the beer when it is busy.
There is a food kiosk further down the garden. There was also an odd wooden carved statue of a strange looking man in a trench coat getting in your way as you carry your beer to your seat.
Yes and to the beer; I have to say there was a very good selection and I wish I could have tried them all. This was what was available: Pils (5.2%), Dark Lager (4.6%), Hefeweizen (4.7%), Zwick'l and Mephisto. The latter is a medium dark beer that is slightly smoked. Seasonal beers are available at the appropriate times of the year.
I had Pils and thought it very good having more bitterness than you would usually associate with the Southern German style and it didn't possess that dry saltiness that usually comes with this sort of beer. However the stand-out beer was the Zwick'l. It was quite possibly the best version of this type of beer that I have ever had. The balance of malt to hops was more or less bang on with a slight excess of the latter. A brilliant beer!
This is a great pub to visit, especially as the beer is so good.
Meinel's Bas (Meinel-Bräu), Vorstadt 13, 95028 Hof. Tel: 09281 141366
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-24.00 (Thursday: Closed in winter)
Buses 3 and 4 pass by and they come from the Bus-Bahnhof (Bus station). However that is some way from the railway station so if you are coming from there you must catch a 5, 6 or 8 to the bus station first.
There is one exception to this and that is the regional bus 21 the starts at the railway station and goes to Plauen. This has a brief stop at the bus station and then continues to the pub but be warned; it is not very frequent.
The stop to alight at is Stadtpark. When you get off walk back in the direction you have come from. Cross the river and the pub is on the right. Don't do what I did and follow the signs to Brauerei Meindel. This will lead you to the brewery but not the pub!
Update January 2020. Hours: these are now: Monday-Friday: 11.00-23.00; Saturday-Sunday 09.00-23.00.