Leipzig, Sachsen (Saxony):
Brauerei an der Thomaskirche
Saturday 12th April 2014
As can be seen this brew pub is named after the church opposite. Yet this is no ordinary church as it is fundamental in the geneses of Lutheran Protestantism. It was built during the 12th century and thus began its eventful life. The University of Leipzig was established at the church's monastery in 1409 and in 1496 the nave was altered into its present form.
In 1519, at a service in the church, the Leipzig Debate began between Martin Luther and Johannes Eck. This eventually culminated with the implementation of the Reformation at this church by Martin Luther in 1539. The monastery was destroyed in 1541 and the church has remained Protestant of the Lutheran variety ever since.
Johann Sebastian Bach was the choirmaster here from 1723 to 1750. After extensive bomb damage to the Johanneskirche, the burial place of Bach, his grave was moved here to the Thomaskirche in 1950.
Composer Richard Wagner was baptised in the church in 1813 and in 1828 he returned to study the piano with the church's renowned choir. Incidentally, this was founded in 1212 and has remained in continuous existence ever since. Between 1835 and 1847 the composer Felix Mendelssohn was a resident of Leipzig and in 1841 he performed a reprise of Bach's "The Passion of St Mathew" in the church. His statue is outside on the square.
So, as I sat in the pub opposite there was a lot of heavy history on my mind; actually no there wasn't, as I was just enjoying a beer. Nevertheless I always find it quite uplifting to be in the actual place where these momentous events have taken place, as I was taught some of it at school, a very long time ago. The pub has quite an extensive biergarten and this partially extends across the square towards the church. It goes without saying that this is extremely popular in summer, especially among the many tourists visiting the city.
As it was only April when I visited, there were just a few hardy souls braving the elements outside. I entered and immediately noticed the brewery on the left. Directly in front there was the bar with the service area behind it. I could see that there were some stools at the bar but I made myself comfortable at a tall table near the main door.
As I looked around I could see that the area to my right was one of the main dining areas with large windows on two sides and this was where most of the patrons were.
Later, when I was checking out the facilities I walked through another room that was very opulent and not unlike a swish restaurant with mirrored walls, lots of old paintings, drawings and other artefacts on display, please see photograph above.
The pub, along with the brewery, was opened in 1998 and currently produces around 2,500 hl per annum. Their normal beers are bottom-fermented and these undergo a primary fermentation of 7 days followed by secondary fermentation of 4 weeks. Sometimes they brew a top fermented seasonal Weizenbier (wheat beer). In this case it is initially fermented for 4 days followed by 2 weeks final maturation. The fermentation vessels can hold 36,000 litres at a time.
The two year-round beers are Pils (5.1%) and Schwarzbier (4.6%) (black beer). I thought the Pils was a fairly good example of the style yet a little too sweet for my liking. The Schwarzbier was better, in my opinion, having a good roast malt taste yet with a fair amount of bitterness. I looked around the pub for evidence of a seasonal beer but could see none. I would have expected a strong fasting or lent beer at this time of year. Then I thought and remembered this was a Protestant city, so I wasn't going to get anything like that.
The cuisine is Italian and this pub is worth a visit especially regarding its excellent location in the city centre.
Brauerei an der Thomaskirche, Thomaskirchhof 3/5, 04109 Leipzig. Tel: 0341 2126110
Open: Monday-Sunday 11.00-24.00
The easiest way to get to the pub is to get the new S-Bahn suburban railway service to Markt station. It is served by lines S1 to S5 and there is a five minutes frequency of service through most of the day.
Leave the station by the southern exit, take the right hand steps to the Market place and at the top you should be able to see the pub across the square.
Tram route 9 serves the stop of Thomaskirche and Bus 89 calls there and the Markt stop.