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Pub Visit - Germany

Frankfurt (Fechenheim), Hesse:
Gastätte Zum Mainkur (Brauerei Bier-Hannes)

Monday 21st December 2015

Bob Thompson

Hannes1I had wanted to go to this pub on my next visit to Frankfurt, but time dragged on and I never got round to it. This time I was determined to go there as I had a late afternoon flight out of Frankfurt Airport and it was a straight choice between doing some more of the city’s cider houses or this pub and the pub won. The cider houses are great and I will go to some more in due course.

In my mind I had a picture of this pub and it was of a large modern brew-pub on the grassy banks of the River Main in a sylvan setting. Apart from the mention of the river I was wrong on all counts. The Main at this point is very industrial, even though it is further up-river from the docks. It is on an extremely busy road that is full of trucks and difficult to cross. There are many car showrooms here, yet not many trees.

Hannes2I was also incorrect in thinking that it was a newly-built pub, as it is actually an old house on an ancient main road, Hanauer Landstrasse, from Frankfurt to Hanau. Most of this confusion was corrected when I approached the pub from the tram stop on a rather drizzly sort of day. Yes, it is a normal pub and yes, it is traditional, and none the worse for that.

It is said to date from 1788 although I doubt if the current building is that old. It has more than likely been rebuilt on the site of an earlier pub at this strategic location.

Hannes3Part owner Hannes “Johnney” Zimmermann was in the family drinks distribution trade. He learnt brewing in 1969 as an apprentice at Schwindbräu in Aschaffenburg. He wanted to be chef, but his mother could not afford the cost of the equipment. After, he returned to family business before going to university to obtain a Master’s degree in brewing.

In 1989 the “Mainkur” was offered on to the market and it was bought by Johnney Zimmermann and his half-brother, Peter Kaminsky, who now is the manager of the drinks market.

Hannes4A small brewery was installed and its first brew was started on 31st August of that year with the first serving occurring on 8th October. The brewery now turns out over 150,000 litres per annum, a considerable amount of which is bottled and sold through their beverages business.

These days Jan, son of Johnney, does most of the brewing. The father and son team like to promote their beer on price, a very laudable thing in these days of “craft” beers at premium prices.

However, even this brewery produces a few beers that are described as craft, I shouldn’t be too disparaging. These are brewed at the instigation of Jan and are British / American styles.

However father Johnney comes from a different perspective. He believes everyone should be able to afford beer every day, and that's. He says of expensive craft beers. "I think this is a fashion show".

At the Craft Beer Fair, the people had come to his booth because they were longing for a normal beer. "They were just thirsty and wanted a normal beer at a normal price."

Hannes5Over the course of a typical year they brew eight varieties of unfiltered beer. All are bottled to be sold in their store in Alt-Fechenheim and other outlets. They are found on draught only at the pub. The brewery is alongside in a separate building (please see photograph, below left) with big glass windows so the shining equipment can be seen from Hanauer Strasse. In the yard are no less than fourteen fermentation and maturation tanks, which indicates that this brewery correctly lagers their beers for a month or more. In fact they can hold 54,000 litres at any time.

Inside I found a very traditional pub. The main room is fairly small with the service counter being on the right of the entrance door. The floor is surfaced with bricks and there is wood panelling almost to the ceiling. The furniture is of varnished wood with fitted stuffed cushions on the loose chairs and also the fixed wall benches. There was a small tablecloth on each table along with a potted plant.

Hannes6There were three beers on offer but sadly no seasonal or special offerings. The three regulars were Zwickel Pils (5.5%), a cloudy Pils; Export Dunkel (5.0%), a dark beer and Hefeweizen (5.4%), a dark wheat beer. For the record the seasonal beers are: Maibock (6.5%); Fassenachtsbier (5.8%); Fischerfestbier (5.8%); Märzen (6.0%) and Krolle-Bock (7.5%). It is not known exactly when these beers are available.

There is a full menu and the pub offers special weekday lunchtime dishes at good prices. For the summer months there is a biergarten.

The pub is easy to reach from central Frankfurt and shouldn’t be missed if you are in the area.

Important Information:

Bier Nannes Brauerei Gasthof “zur Mainkur”, Hanauer Landstrasse 568, 60386 Frankfurt. Tel: 069 412890

Mon-Sat: 12.00-24.00; Sun: Closed.

The pub is easy to reach using the 11 tram from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof (Main station) via the city centre. You alight at the Frankfurt-Mainkur stop. The tram makes a sharp right hand turn after the stop.
Keep walking in the “straight on” direction. You will soon see the pub on the crossroads.

Another possibility is to catch a Regionalbahn (RB) train from Frankfurt Hauptbahnhof or Ost stations.
This runs every thirty minutes and you alight at Frankfurt-Mainkur station.
From here follow the signs towards Alt-Fechenheim. The pub will be easily found at the crossroads.