Friday 9th September 2016
For the beer enthusiast Mitterteich is a magnet because it possesses one of the last operational Commune breweries (Kommunbrauerei). These are open to citizens that have the ancient right to brew. However this small town is also home to a small commercial brewery, Hösl. It is found in the province of Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate), a part of the German state of Bavaria. This is probably the least known area in Germany, hard up against a mountainous border with the Czech Republic. It has lots of forests and a pleasant rolling agricultural landscape.
On 1st February 1906 the brewery was founded by Michael Hösl. It is not known if he formerly brewed on the Commune brewery, yet it is very possible. In August 1910 He adopted Gambrinusbräu as the marketing name. In the same year mains electric power was introduced to Mitterteich and this was installed in the brewery. During the First World War wife Margarete takes over the brewing of the beer as husband Michael is in the forces. In 1936 his son Hans graduates from university in Munich with a degree in brewing science.
During the Second World War Hans went away with the forces but in 1944 he returned as he was needed at the brewery. In July 1946 Hans marries Gertrud Stock and in September of the same year takes over the operation of the brewery on the death of his father. His first child, Michael was born in June 1947. From December 1950 they also produced soft drinks.
On 8th April 1957 there was an extensive fire at the brewery and large parts of the property were destroyed. It was soon rebuilt. In 1960 the brewery tap in front of the brewery was leased out to enable the family to concentrate on the brewing, which was expanding greatly.
The pub is today operated by the Helgerl family. On 27th January 1969 Margarete Hösl, the wife of the founder died.
1972 saw the first production of wheat beer (Weizenbier). The first Mitterteich Starkbierfest (Strong Beer Festival) was held in 1979 and Hösl brewed a powerful beer called Süffikus especially for it.
In 1985 Michael and Maximillian Hösl take over the reins from father Hans Hösl, who later died in April 1987. The first beer deliveries are made to the city of Zwickau after the Inter-German border is removed.
Demand for Hösl beers continued to rise and considerable investment was made between 1990 and 1993. However, this caused high debts and the company declared bankruptcy. A new company was formed by just Michael Hösl and there was thereafter a greater emphasis on saving energy. That, more or less, brings us up the present day.
The Brauereigasthof faces out over the Unterer Markt (Lower Market). The brewery is behind it and I could see its vessels as I entered the pub through the main door at the side of the building. There are a number of tables here for al fresco drinking and the small number of customers were seated here along with the barmaid (Ms Helgerl?) , who soon came into the bar room to serve me.
This room is quite small as most of the ground floor is taken up by a large room that was laid up for dining. That probably comes in to its own when the kitchen is open, see below for times. The bar room contains just three scrubbed wooden tables. There is cushioned bench seating continuously around all four sides including in front of the service counter where the table is the Stammstich, the place for regulars only.
The floor is tiled and the loose chairs are wooden. Plants in pots decorate the window shelves and it is all very traditionally Bavarian with a shelf of old ceramic krugs on a shelf above the bar. I had the basic Edelhell beer, they also serve a draught wheat beer and, I think, their Pils.
They produce a wide range of beers, mostly only found in a bottle. There are eight bottom-fermented types as follows: Edelhell (light) (4.9%); Edel Pilsener (4.9%); Hösl Urstoff (dark malty lager) (5.1%); Oberpfalzer Landgold (strong light lager) (5.2%); Zünftiges Wirthausbier (old style lager) (5.2%).
There was also Abt Andreas (old monastic style dark) (4.9%); Märzen (traditional strong Bavarian style lager, once brewed in spring and drank at harvest time) (5.6%) and Communbräu Zoigl (5.5%). The latter is in the Zoiglbier style but does not come from the Kommunbrauerei in this town; it is an imitation.
Then there are top-fermented wheat beers sold under the “Weissbier Resi” brand name as follows: Helles (light) (5.1%); Leichtes (lower alcohol) (2.5%); Dunkles (dark) (5.1%); Hochzeitweissbier (strong version) (5.5%) and Whisky-Weisse (flavoured with whisky) (5.6%).
There are two seasonal beers: Communbräu Winterzoigl (stronger version of the normal Zoigl-style beer) and Suffikus Starkbier (6.5%). This was initial brewed in 1979 for the first Mitterteicher Starkbierfest (Mitterteich Strong Beer Festival) that is now held on the last Saturday of February and is available throughout the Lent period.
So, should you by any chance be in Mitterteich, possibly to drink the beers of the Kommunbrauerei in one of the Zoigl houses, then please don’t pass Hösl by.
Brauereigasthof Hösl, Bahnhofstrasse 1 95666 Mitterteich. Tel: 09633 2166
Hours: Sunday-Friday 11.00-14.00, 16.00-23.00; Saturday: Closed
Food is served 11.30-13.30, 17.00-21.00 when open
Mitterteich can be reached by bus 6276 from Wiesau station with eleven journeys on a weekday, but just two on Saturday and none on Sunday. Alight at the Unterermarkt stop.
The pub is just twenty metres from the stops in both directions of travel.
Wiesau station is served by trains of Vogtlandbahn Railway Company and they operate
about every hour Monday to Friday, and two-hourly on Saturday and Sunday.
They run from Regensburg to Marktredwitz via Schwandorf and Weiden.
There is also an Alex Express train every two hours from Munich to Hof
via the same stations as above.