Saturday 21st February 2015
This is an ancient but progressive little brewery in the Offenhausen district of Neu-Ulm. To explain, the city of Ulm is on the West bank of the River Donau (Danube) and is in the state of Baden-Wüttemburg. The other side of the river is in Bayern (Bavaria) and its town is Neu-Ulm (New Ulm). Despite being in different states the Transport Authority covers both sides of the river.
Although not as old as Ulm, Neu-Ulm is not as young as its name may suggest and our subject, Schlössle is one of its most venerable buildings.
The foundations once supported a knight’s castle that was built in the Middle Ages. Schlössle is a dialectic word for castle.
This was knocked down (fell down?) and in 1555 the present building was constructed as the summer residence of a patrician named Balzheim from Ulm.
It became a pub in 1678 and in 1690 was licensed to brew beer, one of the very first small privately-owned breweries to be established in Bavaria. Most of the beer produced back then was brewed in monasteries, so this was quite unusual. It has now been under control of the Zoller family for around 140 years. It has unusual bay windows on its corners and is now Grade II listed.
It is possible to get to the pub by public transport at certain times, but on this evening myself and fellow drinkers arrived by taxi. This was because we had arrived at Ulm main station at about 20.30 and the buses had finished. I was with the usual suspects, such as Patrick, Vaughan, Steve and Russell.
I must admit it looked very welcoming when we got out of the taxi. I had decided that as it was so cold I would take the exterior photographs before I went in as I knew I wouldn’t want to come out when I was ensconced inside.
This proved to be true as this is a very comfortable pub indeed. One advantage was that my beer had already been ordered and everybody was perusing the menus.
I entered the building under a beautiful wrought iron sign but after the taxi ride (and the effects of the cold weather) I needed to use the facilities. So I then took the opportunity to look around. On the way in I walked through a sort of lobby where there were fridges containing beers to take away in bottles or small casks.
I kept on walking, past the bar / service area on my left and observed that there were two stools. I suspect these are for staff use rather than for the public as I think anybody drinking here would just get in the way. I went into the Theke, the main room where we were seated, it holds 55 customers. Turning right at the serving area would have taken me to the side room that can accommodate a further 25 or so.
In the main room the white-painted ceiling was vaulted and the usual wooden wall panelling extended only up to chest height. Naturally the furniture was wooden with varnished table tops. There was a fitted wooden bench around three and a half sides of the room. The remaining half a side was taken up by the entrance door and a green kacheloven. This is the traditional tiled wood burning stove.
What makes this small brewery different to many is its beers. They have a standard range of draught beers that are available in the pub.
Please note that there is not a conventional Hell (Light) beer. They are: Märzen Spezial, the nearest thing to a Helles bier; Georgbier Dunkel, a dunkel (Dark) beer, Zwickel, an unfiltered cloudy bier that has some hop taste and Hefeweizen, a wheat beer. All of these beers are available in flip-top bottles (Bügelflaschen). This brewery does not use conventional crown cap bottles.
Then there is range of what they call Craft and Gourmet beers only available in flip-top bottles. The first, introduced in 2012 was Shock, a dark Bockbier with a chocolate flavour. This was followed by IPA, they give no indication what hops and malts are used, then there was High Five Hop Ale which is said to be an interpretation of an English Ale, yet contains five different hops from around the world.
Triple is an interpretation of a draught Belgian Monastic Triple using Champagne yeast. According to them none were produced after the Second World War, strange. Urbock is an unfiltered version of this style. Amarillo uses American hops of the same name and it appears to be dry hopped. Simcoe-Mandarin is a mix of American Simcoe hops and Bavarian Mandarin hops from the Holledau (?) region. Apparently Mandarin is a new hop that has the flavour of that citrus fruit.
All of these beers are available in bottle at the pub. The brewery is to be commended for branching out in this direction, maybe this is the route that some other small German brewers need to go? Although it is imperative that the customer knows that the beer is available.
If so, then I think this approach could be successful, we certainly don’t want any more small German breweries going down the pan. Hundreds have disappeared since I started taking an interest.
Back to the comfort of the pub, the menu has many traditional Swabian dishes on offer. The beer list is good, the food likewise, they have a large biergarten that has been voted the best in the Ulm area in the past, so what is there not to like?
Brauerei und Gasthaus Schlössle, Schlössleweg 3, 89231 Neu-Ulm. Tel: 0731 77390
Hours: Monday-Wednesday 17.00-23.00, Thursday-Sunday 10.30-23.00
Full menu: Monday-Wednesday: 17.00-21.30, Thursday-Saturday: 12.00-14.00, 17.00-21.30
Cold menu and sausages: Monday-Wednesday: 17.00-23.00, Thursday-Sunday: 12.00-23.00
The 89 bus serves the Schlössle stop. It’s from Neu-Ulm bus station (ZUB), outside Neu-Ulm station. It operates Monday to Friday only at a half hourly frequency, nothing after 19.00, nor at weekends. The pub is about 25 minutes walk from Neu-Ulm station and there are other bus routes that get you a bit closer.
Update January 2020. Hours are now: Monday-Tuesday: Closed; Wednesday: 17.00-23.00;
Thursday-Sunday: 11.00-23.00. These are the Winter hours. In Summer please check with the brewery.
Full menu: Wednesday: 17.00-21.30, Thursday-Saturday: 12.00-14.00, 17.00-21.30.
Cold menu and sausages: Wednesday: 17.00-23.00, Thursday-Sunday: 12.00-23.00.