Friday 29 June 2012

Straight to Zoigl

That's the way to start. Straight into the heart of darkness of Germany's beer Urwald. Only pausing to pick up a couple of bottles of beer and some impulse schnapps on the way. Just to make the train journey go that bit quicker. Medicinal, really.

Falkenberg isn't just exceptional because it's one of the handful of towns in the Oberpfalz that retains its communal brewhouse. Nor only because of the three Zoigl Stube that sell beer brewed in that brewhouse. There's an amazing castle. One of the most impressive I've seen. And I've seen a lot of castles. It's stuck on a  huge rock, right in the middle of town. (It is technically a town, depite only being home to 750 souls.) At its foot is that brewhouse.

I was surprised to learn that all the Zogl Stube had opened in the last few years. Where I headed that first evening, hasn't been open two years yet. I'd never have guessed.

People go on about family businesses. In many, a family may own, but not actively participate in, the business. Zoigl Stube aren't like that. They're proper family businesses. Two or three generations divide the work. Family members, proud of their beer and their traditions, are happy to pause at your table and chat. Friendly, relaxed, domestic almost. It's hard to think of a better place to while away a few hours than a Zoigl Stube. They're dirt cheap, too. Pay more than 1.70 euros for a half litre and you're being robbed.

There's only one beer. But that doesn't worry me a bit. One good one will do me. Which is what Schwoazhansl has. A hazy golden delight of a beer, that slips down as effortlessly as the sun behind the garden's trees. This is exactly what I've dreamt about the last few months. Me, a defenceless beer or two, a few lumps of pork and a mountain of rest.

No music, no TV, no drooling drunks nor obnoxous nerds. Just calm and simple pleasure. No, something even greater than pleasure: delight.

It would be hard to beat day one. Nought to delight in 8 hours.

Zoiglstube Schwoazhansl

Tirschenreutherstrasse 7
95685 Falkenberg
Handy: 0172 / 9106756

Opening Times:
17:00 Friday, 14:00 Saturday. (Obviously only the 50-odd days a year they open .)


Arctic Alchemy said...

Brilliant photos Ron, looks like a storybook town that time forgot, but beer did not.

Arctic Alchemy said...

Upon a second look (at the second photo) , always interested to see the ancient German Zoigl brewing star adorning the brewery.

Here's more on that history:

Ron Pattinson said...

Chris, that's not the brewery with the star hanging outside. It's the Zoigl Stube. That's what shows it's open: when the star is hung out. The communal brewhouse itself doesn't have a star.

Lovely place Falkenberg. I can highly recommend it.

Arctic Alchemy said...

Ah, then it would be a tapping sign I guess, thanks for the correction, great history and tradition. Now on my visit list.

Martyn Cornell said...

Interesting to see that the Bavarian German for "to go" is "to go". (!)

And that menu - mein Gott, I'm drooling all over the keyboard ...

Rob Sterowski said...

One beer? Lame. These guys need to realise that they need to offer more choice to compete in the craft beer market. They need at least a sour ale on tap and something from Mikkeller, and a German ale for when people get tired of lager.

Unknown said...

I've been drinking at the Wolfadl Zoigl since 2006. As of late, the Echter Zoigl. My wife was born and raised in Falkenberg. I love that village and I love that sweet, sweet Zoigl...