Wednesday, 8 August 2007

Josef Schneider, Essing

Josef Schneider
Altmühlgasse 10
93343 Essing.

Essing is a little down the river from Weltenburg. The village cowers at the bottom of a cliff. They must be trusting folk, building their houses under such seemingly crumbly rock.

I was relieved that the hotel part of Schneider (in a separate building from the pub). where we were staying, was a safe-looking 50 metres from the cliff.

Most of the evening flowed by in a river of beer. Unlike many of Franconia's small breweries, Josef Schneider (not to be confused with the wheat beer brewery a few kilometres away) makes a whole range of beers. You can't just try one, can you? Draught, they had Pils, Dunkles, Märzen and Heller Bock.

I eventually sampled all four. Put me on the spot and make me name a favourite and I would choose the Dunkles. Though they Märzen was might tasty to, though in a more subtle way. By the time I got to the Bock, I wasn't much in the mood for detailed analysis. Balanced is a bout as much as I can recall. Warming. That, too.

But the most enjoyable was the Pils. Because I did haven't to pay for it. Free beer always tastes best. Next to the pub we noticed a party in a marquee. Mr Schneider was celebrating his son passing his brewing exams. He was a very proud and happy man. In such a good mood, in fact, that he invited Andy and I to a few beers as chatted to us between serving the other guests. A very nice man. I was glad that I liked his beers. While we talked the scorchingly bitter Pils slipped down a treat. I haven't enjoyed a Pils so much for decades.

Enthusiastic enjoyment of Pils the previous night didn't seem such a great idea any more in the morning. It was a struggle to get out of bed for a brewery tour at 9 AM. I'm glad I took the trouble. Quaint, you could call it. Small but perfectly-formed. Some of the equipment is antique, but that just adds to the charm. Mr Schneider (possessor of a gut whose capacity I would estimate at 20 gallons) brews just once a week. Open fermentation is followed by 8 weeks lagering in horizontal tanks at around 0º C.

"Where can I get this wonderful, hand-crafted beer?". In Essing. Another brewery with zero distribution. You can drink their beer in the pub or buy crates at the brewery. Marketing costs must be minimal.


Anonymous said...

Wow, exceptional photos of the fermenter! Thanks!

Stonch said...

The beers there really were good, and the setting fantastic. As I said repeatedly at the the time, my favourite by a mile was the Marzen. I'm definitely going back to Essing.

Ron Pattinson said...

Now you mention the setting, I realise that I forgot to say anything about the beer garden on the water. A delightful spot.

I'm pretty sure I liked the Dunkles best, but my memories are quite vague. I couldn't be bothered taking any notes by the evening.