Wednesday 28th May 2014
This is a beautiful pub in a remote location. Not a problem if you are interested in country walking and cycling as many Germans are. I doubt if I would have got to this place on my own but I had a considerable helping hand. I have previously mentioned my interest in steam locomotives and that was the form of traction I and other friends used to get out into the hills of Rheinland-Pfalz (Rheineland Paltinate in English) close to the French border.
The occasion was a celebration of 25 years of operation for the Rheinland-Pfalz transportation authority. This may sound a bit boring, but let me explain. In Germany the responsibilities for all subsidies for local transport, but not InterCity, are handed over to the Länder (Provinces); in this case for the last quarter century. These states set the timetable and have almost total control of the buses, trams and trains in their areas.
This state alone organises a celebration every four or five years that runs for five days and consists of many special trains that are steam-hauled over many of the lines of the area of the its transport authority. This was the first day and there was a steam train from Neustadt an der Weinstrasse where we were staying for six nights. It took us up the branch line to Bundental-Rumbach, shuttled back to Daun, went up to the end of the branch line a second time before coming back to Hinterweidenthal Ort, almost at the bottom.
At this juncture the train then continued its shuttling up and down the line. However, it was now time to break for refreshments. We found a bar in a garden centre near the station. It was acceptable but will not be appearing in BeerVisits. This article is about our next port of call and the reason we did not go directly there was because it didn’t open till 16.00.
I was with a small group consisting of Russell, Steve, Punky and Carol; some regulars, others maybe not so.
So as the clock hit four we were in the garden and decided to remain there. The first thing that struck us was that this was an incredibly good-looking brew pub, both inside and out. Carol pronounced it as the best brew pub she’d ever been in. Well, it is definitely up there with the best, please see the photographs.
The building looks as it was once just a private house. It is in a classic style with the upper floors being half-timbered. There are painted murals on the walls depicting beer deliveries in olden times. We walked around the pub to get to our seats. The garden was truly in full bloom and so was very green. At the far end there were parasols shading wooden benches and tables.
Before that there was a pond containing Goldfish and Koi Carp. The paths were constructed of flat stones and cobbles. This garden was home to many other features including stone fountains, an arch of shrubbery, an old weathervane, several cartwheels and old barrels. It is not at all like your typical German Biergarten.
Inside it was also delightfully fussy. Walking in from the garden there was a room to the left and right. The one on the right led to the bar service area at the far end. Go to the left and it leads to further rooms at the front of the pub. I could liken the experience of entering and looking around as like going in to an antique shop to drink beer, it is quite remarkable. It must take an age to clean yet everything was spotless.
Most of the rooms had a mantle shelf just above head height that was a home to pewter pots, old bottles, wooden carvings and a lot more. At ground level there were many old sideboards and cupboards, some with glass frontages containing more of the same sort of stuff. There was a modern oven that was surrounded with red tiles that had a rather incongruous stainless steel chimney that seemed out of place with the remainder.
The floors are tiled and all of the usual furniture, i.e. tables and chairs, are made of wood, some traditional scrubbed pine and others of varnished dark wood.
Garlands of hops hang from the ceiling and there are number of old wood-framed mirrors on the walls. There’s also an old upright gramophone player and at least two grandfather clocks!
And what’s the beer like? Well, not at all bad actually. There are just three regulars: Hell (4.4%) (light), Dunkel (4.4%) (dark) and Weiss (4.6%) (wheat).
There are occasional seasonal specials but none when we visited. We didn’t try the wheat but liked both of the others. Both are unfiltered and the consensus was that the dark was the better yet with not a lot in it, they were both considered to be very good.
The brewery only supplies the house and produces around 250 litres per brew with an annual production of around 250 hl. The food is rather interesting as they specialise in Flammenkuchen. This is a thinly rolled out flat bread that has a base of Crème Fraîche, topped with many different ingredients in various styles. The classic is the Elsass (Alsace) which has onions (lots) and smoked ham. It tastes a lot better than it sounds! There are other dishes on the menu which includes many schnitzels, salads and steaks.
I realise that this pub is quite a way off the beaten track, unless you are a hiker, but it really is worth visiting.
Brauhaus Ehrstein, Im Handschuhteich 30, 66999 Hinderweidental. Tel: 06396 168 0000
Open: Winter (November-March): Monday-Tuesday Closed;
Wednesday-Saturday 16.00-23.00; Sunday/Holidays 11.30-22.00
Summer (April-October): Monday Closed;
Tuesday-Saturday 16.00-23.00; Sunday/Holidays 11.30-22.00
As mentioned before, this is not an easy place to get to by public transport. The nearest station is Hinderweidental and that is around 1 km from the pub.
On summer weekends there are a few trains that run up the branch line and stop at Hinderweidental Ort. This is quite close to the pub. Walk out of the station, turn left, turn left over the level crossing, continue for around 200 metres and you will find the pub on the left. This is really only of use on Sundays when the pub opens at 11.30.
Do not confuse this station with Hinderweidental Ost, which is in the middle of nowhere.
Please refer to full details on the DB website (www.bahn.com/)