Sunday 6th April 2014
About 25 years ago this was the very first Zoigl house I ever visited. It was a very cold and misty night when I walked into the yard and turned left up the steps. It was this entrance that I remembered as I repeated the process on a much more pleasant day. The place was packed on this visit and that wasn't the case the first time. I think this is indicative of the resurgence of the Zoigl tradition.
Neuhaus has the oldest Kommunbrauerei (commune brewery) in the Oberpfalzer Wald region. It was established on St Luzien's Day (whenever that is!) in 1415. Any registered household has the right to brew at the brewhouse. Here are some interesting statistics regarding Zoigl brewing in Neuhaus. Way back in 1843, 27 households exercised the right to brew yet there were only 15 brews per annum.
The present brew house was constructed in 1876 and by then there was a Brewmaster employed to do the hard work. In 2014, 25 households still had the right to have beer brewed. Of these, 5 exercise the right for private consumption and another 7 offer it to the public. Nowadays there are about 50 brews per annum.
For me, the really interesting fact is that when I first visited there were only three outlets and it was possible to turn up on a weekend when there were no houses open. During the 2000s another three houses have re-activated their rights to brew and some times there are even two open!
There is one normal hotel and pub in the village, the Hotel zum Waldnaabtal and they also have beer from the Kommunbrauerei and I don't think they used to. Please see separate article on that pub.
Back to Käck'n, I managed to get a seat at the end of a long table and enjoyed a beer. Compared with the one I had just consumed in nearby Windischeschenbach it was lighter in body and had a dry aftertaste yet was not particularly bitter. But it must be remembered that it came from a completely different brewery. The rather strange name of the pub comes from the nickname of Ernst Schönberger whose family still own and run the house. He was Chairman of the Commune Brewery Committee and was also the Braumeister.
As more people came in they opened a small room at the front of the house but it soon filled up. I had also noticed that the seating outside in the yard that doubles as a biergarten was also full up. The menu is typical Zoigl house rustic fare; cold meats and cheeses and sausages including the Sauer Bratwurst, a local speciality. It is a pair of bratwurst that have been marinated in vinegar. I still haven't had them, but I will one day!
Beim Käck'n, Marktplatz 18, 92670 Neuhaus (Windischeschenbach). Tel: 09681 2769
Open: not published but assume a latest opening time of 14.00 on the appropriate weekend which are between four and six weeks apart. See www.zoiglbier.de for exact dates.
Buses are infrequent and usually run only Mondays to Fridays.
The station of Windischeschenbach is served by trains of the 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.
The station and town of Windischeschenbach are about a kilometre away but is severely uphill to Neuhaus.
It can take up to 30 minutes in that direction.