Friday 9th September 2016
If you have read my other articles on the traditions of the last remaining commune breweries you will realise that I like them and their beers very much indeed. So here I was again in the small market town of Mitterteich, located in the Oberpfalz (Upper Palatinate) province of the state of Bayern (Bavaria). In Mitterteich the houses that sell the Zoigl beers are never open on the same day(s), except on the Kummunebrauereitag (Day of the Commune Brewery) once a year.
One of the major reasons why this system of staggered opening days is used in all of the five towns and villages that still have commune breweries is that the beer that is produced is unpasteurised. This means its life is limited.
If you ally this to the fact that the amount of beer emanating from the brewery and the capacity in the outlet is also limited it all makes sense, and of course, it is the traditional way!
In this town each house is open from five to eight consecutive days, six to eight times a year.
Mitterteich is slightly different to the other Zoigl beer towns inasmuch that any householder can use the brewery as long as he / she owns an estate, which I take to mean a property. In fact, there are only three in this town that sell it publicly. However it is not known how many take beer in a private capacity. There are quite a few in other towns.
The community here employs a brewer. He mashes the beer and boils it in the copper where the hops are added according to the customer’s specifications. It then spends one night in cool ship (kuhlschiff) at the brewery where it cools down.
The following day this non-alcoholic wort is pumped into one of two different sized tank-trailers. It is then towed to the appropriate house. See a separate article in BeerVisits (Brewery visits) on the Mitterteich Kommunbrauerei.
In the owner’s house the beer is pumped into a primary fermentation tank. It further cools and then the yeast is added according to the recipe of that house. The main fermentation then lasts for one to two weeks. After which the yeast is separated out.
The beer then undergoes a secondary fermentation of four weeks before being sold in the house above the cellar. Because the sediment is left in the tank the beer is visually clear despite not being filtered.
An alternative title for this house is Original Mitterteicher Zoigl im Boozhaus. Although it looks an eminently suitable name (in English) for a place to drink beer, the last word is actually a boathouse in the local dialect. Why a boathouse? Who knows! The premises is on a small hill with only a small stream at the bottom.
That the house is very old there is no doubt. It has an off-centre arched entrance that once led to stabling. Above it dangled the evergreen branch that signifies the house is open to the public. Sometimes in other towns it is a six-pointed star; yet in others it is a bit of greenery.
This can be traced back to Roman times when a Taverna would indicate it was open by displaying a bushel of hay. The term Zoigl itself is a corruption of the old word for a sign and its derivation in Britain is the hanging inn sign.
Turning into the flag-stoned archway I could see it was a depositary for many bicycles whose owners were no doubt drinking in the biergarten at the rear. I noticed the toilet facilities were on the left opposite the entrance to the relatively small bar room on the right. I could see that it was decorated in traditional style with bench seating around the walls.
The other furniture was also wooden. I noticed that the windows are curtained and the window ledges contained many pot plants as well as some sunflowers in vases. The floor is flagstone and there are hops dangling from the ceiling. The serving counter with a small sink was on the left of the room against the wall and the beer is dispensed from a fount.
Of course there is just one type of beer, this house’s interpretation of Zoigl. This was ever so slightly gassy but nevertheless very pleasant. There is a basic menu of cheeses, cold meats and hot sausages served with bread.
This is a nice pub to visit and as mentioned, it has a biergarten out the back.
Zoiglstube Lugert, Bachgasse 12, Mitterteich 95666. Tel: 096 3391 9207
Fri-Fri: 09.00-23.00. On advertised days only.
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.