Regensburg, Bayern (Bavaria):
Monday 14th April 2014
Some of this brewery’s publicity mentions that they have been a brewery since 1530; other items display the founding date as 1861. There are beer mats that show both dates. What’s the truth? Well, 1861 is definitely the year the Kneitinger dynasty bought the brewery, and also the earlier date is a little suspect. The first authenticated year that brewing was performed on the site was 1590. It is said that it had existed as a brewery since around 1530. It may be true, yet there is no evidence to support it. Nevertheless, it is an old site of brewing.
Although the brewery was situated in the Altstadt (Old Town) their main and possibly only outlet back then was at Galgenberg, which since the railway was built, is on the opposite side of the tracks to the city. It is open all year round and has a pub incorporated on the site. This was destroyed by bombing in 1945 and rebuilt in a traditional style, possibly as a replica of the original. I first visited it in the early 1970s and for almost 30 years I believed it to be the brewery tap! As a matter of interest, the location translates as Gallows Hill.
Most of their beer was still sold from the keller at Galgenberg following Johann Kneitinger’s marriage to Maria Islinger of the owning company in 1861. It continued much as before under his control apart from the obvious alteration of name. However, a major feature of his tenure was the introduction of Bockbier which was highly respected then and is still with us today. It is advertised in neon outside of the pub and a goat (bock) is immortalised on the company’s insignia including beer mats, drinking wort out of a brewing vessel, see above.
The real changes that brought the brewery into the modern age were enacted under the regime of Johann Kneitinger II, who inherited the brewery after his father’s death.
The most important move was to establish a city centre outlet and this occurred in October 1892 when a pub-restaurant was opened on Arnulfsplatz in front of the brewery premises and this is where I was visiting on this day.
The next generation of the family was represented by Joseph Kneitinger III who took over the running of the company in 1925 on the death of his father. Apart from the destruction of the Sommerkeller in 1945, the properties came through the Second Word War relatively unscathed. When Joseph Kneitinger died in 1975 his widow Sofie started the process of setting up a trust (stiftung) to continue the brewery after her own death. This was because the couple were childless. The trust foundation was active from 1985.
She died in 1991 and the trust took over. The main focus of its benevolent activity is directed towards the care of children and the elderly. Obviously the brewery is profitable and after the charitable work has been paid for, the remainder of the money has been invested in the brewery and the pubs. This includes purchasing properties. Apart from the two original pubs they have acquired a further eight. These are all of the traditional type and are located in Regensburg and in towns and villages in the surrounding countryside.
The brewery tap which is often referred to as Kneitinger am Arnulfsplatz, is on the corner of that square and Kreuzstrasse. This narrow road leads to the brewery buildings which are both behind the pub and also on the other side of the road. The pub is a very good-looking structure and is notable for its distinctive green neon sign which is actually in a traditional style.
Entering the building it is immediately evident that this was once the main entrance to the brewery as well as the pub. Before it was remodelled it must have been a very interesting with the brewery’s drays and other carts trundling their way down the cobbled lane. These would have all been horse drawn at the end of the nineteenth century.
Nowadays a glass roof covers this area making it more like an atrium, although the cobblestones remain in situ. I settled on one of the tall tables opposite the service counter that are specifically there for standing drinkers. This area is known as the Gang (Corridor) and is one of six distinct areas of the pub.
Further along the old yard there are tables and this is named Schwemm, a common name in Germany for corridors in pubs that are used by the patrons.
The kitchens are on the left of the yard and on the right is the Braustübl, a beautiful old room that looks as if it hasn’t changed since the pub was built. Walking back towards the entrance you can’t help but notice the serving area with its wonderful stained glass. Near the front door there is a lovely small room in traditional style know as the Schaffnersstüberl. There are more rooms on the floor above.
Surprisingly the brewery does not produce a great variety of beers yet the small range is extremely well made.
The two year-round staples of their range are Edel-Pils (5.2%) and a dark beer; Dunkel Export (5.5%). I had them both and thought the Pils was a good example, having the requisite amount of bitterness. Equally pleasant was the Dunkel, which had a little residual bitterness that is quite unusual for this style.
There are just two other beers: Bock Saisonbier (6.8%) for which the brewery is renowned’ that is as mentioned before, advertised on the outside of the pub. The other is a summer beer in the form of Sommerbier 1861 (4.9%). At the time of my visit the Bockbier was on offer but I declined because of its strength. Nevertheless I would like try it one day, maybe when I’m spending the night in Regensburg!
The menu is very traditional with many local specialities from here and other places around the country. Basically, the main part of the menu changes daily, with at least ten main course dishes being different from the day before. This is a wonderful pub and is recommended for both food and of course, beer!
Kneitinger am Arnulfsplatz, Arnulfsplatz 3, 93047 Regensburg. Tel: 0941 593020
Open: Monday-Sunday 09.00-01.00
The pub is just inside the Old Town walls and Arnulfstadt bus stop is in front of it.
From the Railway station the best way to get here is probably on the Altstadtbus (route A) which is a free daytime circular route from the station through the Old Town, running every ten minutes most of the time.
When it isn’t running the stop is served by other bus routes: 1, 2A, 2B, 4, 6, 11 and 17.
It is around 20 minutes walk from the station. Regensburg is served by many trains of different sorts from all over Germany. It is an important junction on the Frankfurt/Nürnberg to Vienna (Austria) main line where it intersects the Munich to Prague/Dresden route.