Wednesday 9th April 2014
I had just fifty-five minutes to visit this beautiful pub-brewery. But what if the other tap in this two brewery village had been open? I don't think I would have made it back on the bus in time, even though Brauerei Griess is only just around the corner. However, there is always another day to visit that establishment.
The brewery's buildings are all very attractive. The pub was once a house built in 1778 and only adopted its present function in 1820 when the brewery was opened at the rear.
It is still to be found at the end and right side of a yard and is separated from the pub by a barn-like structure that is used for the storage of wood. The house has four levels. At the road level is the cellar and to enter the building you have to climb up a flight of stone steps.
Opposite the main entrance is a small biergarten. It is at this level I found the main public rooms of the pub. The next floor up contains the family accommodation and is half-timbered on the outside. There are gable windows at roof level so it extends into there.
On the corner of the building there is a magnificent wrought iron sign depicting a lion atop an intricate casting of branches and leaves that incorporates a barrel and a hop cone. Beneath it is a lovely electric lantern that displays the brewery's name and location.
Once inside the pub I found it very crowded. Just inside the door there were a number of standing drinkers. I bypassed them and turned left into a room. I was lucky as there was a group who were settling their bill prior to a departure and I took a quick photograph of the empty table before settling in. The pub was so busy that I was soon joined by two other couples at the table.
I ordered the regular beer which is described as a Lagerbier yet it is an ungespundet beer. This literally means un-bunged because for part of the fermentation process the tank is open to the air as is the case in the UK. This produces an unfiltered bitter beer that here is served from a wooden cask and delivered in a ceramic krug, which is very appropriate given the surname of the owning family.
The krug is an iconic symbol of southern Germany and is the modern equivalent of the old vessels made from fired clay. The reason it has remained in use in this part of the world is that when vessels made of glass were coming into fashion in the mid 19th century brewers thought that drinkers would not like to observe the cloudy beer, previously unseen. So the new glasses were reserved for the clear Pilsener style beers. It remains that way over 150 years later!
The brewery produces around 650 hl of beer per annum, the vast majority is the beer described above. This is extremely popular and there is even an unofficial Krug Fan Club of drinkers from Nürnberg who visit often.
The brewer of the current generation is Stefan Krug and he is more progressive than you might possibly have thought. Although the vast majority of the beer is what I have described above, brewed to a very old recipe, there is often a special beer on offer.
On the occasion of my visit it was Indianer Bier. The small advertisement on each table showed an illustration of a North American Red Indian and is described it as the first German Indian beer. I suspect there might have beer some confusion here as it was an IPA although I would guess it was produced by bottom fermentation. Never mind, it was good nevertheless.
Previous specials have been a Hell (light), Rauchbier (smoked), Belgische Klosterbier (Belgian abbey beer) and Schwarze Scharf (Black Sheep), a dunkel (dark) bier.
Later I had a walk around the pub and discovered two other rooms that were just as busy as the one I was in. In fact the service area is an island with space all around it. The Lagerbier was superb, one of the best of this style that I have ever had.
The food is traditional Franconian cooking. There are plenty of reasons to visit this wonderful village boozer should you be in the Bamberg area, see below for bus details.
Brauerei-Gasthof Krug, Alte Dorfstrasse 11, 96129. Strullendorf-Geisfeld. Tel: 0950 5484
Open: Monday / Wednesday-Friday 16.00-22.00; Tuesday: Closed;
Saturday 14.00-22.00; Sunday 10.00-22.00
I got to Geisfeld on the 970 bus which operates on Monday to Friday working days only,
yet it is perfectly feasible for a visit here in the late afternoon / early evening.
Update October 2017. Hours: Wednesday to Monday: 16.00-23.00. Tuesday: Closed.