Monday 13th May 2013
Riegele is another of those breweries that is a claimant for the oldest in Germany with a founding date of 1386. Its earliest known name was Zum Goldenen Ross (Golden Horse) and would have been a small brewery at a pub of the same name. It gained its present name when it entered the modern age upon its purchase by Sebastian Riegele in 1884.
The present brewery was constructed by his son, also Sebastian on this, a new location, in 1911. The company remains family-owned, and is now in the hands of the fifth generation. Riegele is now the leading regional brewery in the Augsburg area. The last fifteen years have not treated the city well in terms of brewing, yet there is still enough variety.
For most of the 1990s and earlier it was a terrific place to visit for a great selection of beers but since a number of breweries have closed.
First was Bürgerbräu in 1997, closely followed by Goldener Gans (Golden Goose) in 1998. Their old brewery tap is still functioning and their beers are now brewed at Hasebräu (see separate BeerVisits article on the Weisse Hase pub). Finally the smallish Brauerei Augusta closed in 2010.
These closures were slightly balanced by the opening of three brew pubs. The first was König von Flandern (King of Flanders) in 1988, Charly-Bräu at Augsburg-Oberhausen in 1992 and the Bayrisch Brau Pub near the cathedral in 2010. Charly is now a live music venue and ceased brewing around 2012.
In the railway station there is a pub named Brauhaus 1516. However its title is totally false and the beers come from Brauhaus Traunstein, a large regional brewery east of Munich.
In 2013, possibly late 2012, the pub that is the subject of this article opened at the brewery.
Up till then the brewery tap was regarded to be the brewery-owned hotel opposite the station. It’s a lovely place, very smart and although no doubt a wonderful place to stay, its bar is not entirely suitable as a brewery tap.
The Riegele Wirtshaus (tavern) is a great place to eat and drink. Although it is modern there is a traditional feel about the main room. Entering the front door there is an extensive shop on the left. To the right are side rooms that are opened for functions and at busy times. Straight on and up a few steps you will find the long bar on the right side with the main part of the room in front of it. There are lots of stools fronting it and this is where I settled. Facing the bar are some tall tables that you can sit at or stand.
For the summer there is a really pleasant outside wooden terrace at the back which, train spotters please note, overlooks the main line at the north end of Augsburg Hauptbahnhof (main station). There’s an endless parade of freight and passenger trains of many varieties, this line is very busy.
This brewery brews a large range of beers and all of them can be found in this pub. The standard range referred to as “Klassik” consists of four: Augsburger Herren Pils (4.7%); Riegele Feines Urhell (4.7%), a standard light beer; Commerzientat Riegele Privat (5.2%), an export type and finally: Ein Riegele Aechtes Privat (4.9%), a dark beer.
There are two regular top-fermented beers which are Riegele Kellerbier (5.0%), an unfiltered beer, and Sebastian Riegele’s Weisse (5.0%), a wheat beer.
Then there are the strong ones, known as Specials, yet all permanent beers. These are: Speziator (7.5%), a double bockbier; Speziator Hell (7.5%), a light bockbier and Augustus Weizendoppelbock (8.0%), an immense wheat double bockbier.
All the above beers are available year round. Other seasonal beers and specials are made and there is a tap dedicated to them. A good time to visit is after 17.00 each day when they tap a wooden barrel of Commerzientat Riegele Privat, see above. There’s just one a day and when it is gone, you have to wait until the following day for a taste. When I visited it was advertised at a very reasonable €2.00 for a 0.4l glass.
They also brew a connoisseur range of eight bottled beers and these sometimes appear on the speciality tap in draught form. They have strange names and all include a number in their titles but I unaware of the significance of these. There are Amaris 50 (5.0%); Simco 3 (5.0%); Augustus 8 (8.0%) (also mentioned above); Dulcis 12 (11.0%); Auris 19 (9.0%); Ator 20 (7.5%); Noctus 100 (10%) and finally Robustus 6 (5.0%).
I have mentioned the outside terrace overlooking the railway line yet there is a much larger drinking area as there is a biergarten adjacent to the brewery that accommodates up to 500 drinkers. It was once the private garden of a mansion house. This was built by Santo Tessari (1759-1842), an art publisher, and is still there. See below for opening times.
The brewery bakes its own bread with beer yeast and the recipe includes real beer although they go to lengths to assure us it is not alcoholic.
Neither is their mineral water Mozartquelle, which is the same water used in the brewing process. It is also used to manufacture an extensive range of soft drinks. The pub offers a a complete menu including some dishes of the Swabian cuisine from nearby Baden-Wüttemburg. Mondays to Fridays they offer a buffet lunch for a reasonable price and it appeared to be very popular.
Riegele Wirstshaus, Frölichstrasse 26, 86150, Augsburg
It is also known as Riegele Bräu Welt or Brauhaus Riegele
Open: Monday-Friday 11.00-01.00; Saturday-Sunday 10.00-01.00
Biergarten: In operation May-October in fine weather
Open: Monday-Friday 15.00-23.00; Saturday-Sunday 11.00-23.00
The brewery is very close to Augsburg Hbf (main station). Once out of the station, cross the open area that is a car park, taxi rank and bus stops. Head towards the brewery’s Riegele Hotel (a really comfortable place to stay) but do not cross the road to it. Instead turn left past a modern building and keep on until you arrive at an intersection. Opposite you will see the brewery. Now cross the road and take the sloping entrance drive, bearing left for the pub. Should you want the Biergarten, then turn right after crossing.