Friday 4th April 2014
This brew pub advertises itself as the 1st Zwickauer Gasthausbrauerei (First Zwickau Pub Brewery) and that is quite true. Yet it is a bit of a hollow claim when you think about it, as it is the only brew pub in town!
The only other brewery in Zwickau is the Mauritius Brauerei, a large regional operation that was founded in 1859 and supplies over two hundred pubs.
The Brauhaus was founded in October 2001 and despite its lack of history as a brewery it is nevertheless housed in the oldest preserved residential building in the state of Saxony.
The complex is partially located in four former priest's houses (Domplatz 5-8) that are said to date from 1466. There was once a row of twelve. Also contained inside is the local Historical Museum. The houses came under the control of the city council in 1880 and were lived in till 1977. From 1994 they have protected by a preservation order.
The Brauhaus is entered through a more modern building with a small arcade. The inside is large with many different rooms. To the left of the entrance is a large room with decor in a modern style. I thought the best area to sit was the large space around the brewery itself as it is decorated in a very traditional style with a number of old metallic signs of defunct breweries.
It was to be remembered that Zwickau was in the territory of the former DDR (East Germany) and the communist state had nationalised the brewing companies or imposed a majority holding for family firms. Many were closed down, basically when the equipment wore out, as there was little or no investment in breweries, unlike nearby Czechoslovakia. Because of this, I find it remarkable that so many artefacts have survived.
There is much more to this pub that what we could see, as there are more rooms upstairs and some of these are used for functions. In the old priest's houses there is the Destille which is another pub interconnected to the Brauhaus although it also has a separate entrance from the street. This is decorated in a traditional dark wood style and is so named because it accommodates a schnapps distillery. This is also where the six bedroom hotel can be found.
I was with fellow imbiber Patrick and we settled down and ordered some beer, starting with the Dunkel (Dark), which I thought possessed a medium maltiness and similar bitterness; I thought it was quite drinkable. The Hell (Light) was a bit like a South German Pils and was fine without being outstanding in any way. They also produce a Weizen (Wheat) which for once Patrick didn't try so I can't relay any tasting notes on it.
They advertised a Saisonbier (Seasonal beer) which is, in alcoholic volume, lighter in summer and heavier in winter. Well, there wasn't any. Obviously I was disappointed by this but also by the small selection of beers offered. For such a large pub they could produce a greater range.
Nevertheless it is well worth visiting and possesses a nice atmosphere and the food is good. We ate here and I had Schweinshaxen (slow roasted pork knuckle) with suet dumplings and it was superb with the meat falling off the bone.
Also bearing in mind that it is probably the only place in town with good beer so shouldn't be missed if you are in the area.
Brauhaus Zwickau, Peter-Breuer-Strasse 14, 08056 Zwickau-Innenstadt
Tel: 0375 303 2032
Open: Brauhaus: Monday-Sunday 10.00-24.00
Destille (Distillery): Monday-Sunday 17.00-02.00
The pub is in the middle of the old part of the city and is close by the Cathedral (Dom).
As this is to be seen on the skyline throughout the city it is a useful reference point for navigation purposes.
The pub is over a mile (1.5km) from the railway station and although there is a tram route to near the old town (Georgenplatz) it operates Monday to Friday and then, only to 19.00.
Otherwise there are several bus routes.