Sunday 1 July 2012

More Zoigling

If day one had been all about Zoigl, day two was even more so. First the look around Falkenberg's communal brewhouse. Then on to Windischeschebach and Neuhaus, separated only by a piddling little stream and a dirty great hill.

My hotel is in Neuhaus, only a monstrous climb away from Windischeschenabach railway station. I thank Stalin that I was offered a lift. Don't want to throw a thrombie so early in the trip. Especially not while there's more Zoigl to drink.

There's a whole row of Zoigl Stube on the Marktplatz in Neuhaus. It's not really what I'd call a market place, more of a wide street with pretensions of grandeur. Doesn't look like it ever sees any market stalls. Then again, there is all that Zoigl. That stuff I'd crawl over broken glass naked to get my hands on.

Happily the Stube whose turn it is to be open today, "beim Käck´n", I haven't been in before. Like many, it's in the courtyard of a house. Long before I get to the archway leading to it, I can hear the buzz on conversation and the occasionally clink of a glass or plate. The tell-tale sounds of delight.

Thankfully there's a seat in the shade. The sun's already reddening my face. Especially my nose. Making me look even more of a pisshead than I am. The Stube's about half full. Not bad considering noon has not yet nooned.

Prices in the big city of Neuhaus are more than in Falkenberg. At 1.70 euros the Zoigl is a full ten cents dearer. The robbing bastards.

The landlord stops for a chat when he brings my beer. Filling me in on the local Zogling scene.

Six of Neuhaus's Zoigl brewers sell their beer. Another 17 or 18 just brew for themselves. Specific houses - the older ones in the vicinity of Marktplatz - have brewing rights*. Zoigl brewers pay the normal tax on beer they sell. For someone brewing so little, that won't be a stack. Germany has a sliding scale of duty.

The landlord tells me that he brew 42 hl eight times a year. I make that 376 hl. Peanuts. The beer is served directly from the lagering tank**.

This particular Stube is quite old, having been around 28 years. The whole Zoigl Stube thing, according to the brewer/landlord, only started after WW II.

Slurping the sense of social cohesion along with the beer, I glanced at the menu. Bits of cold meat and bread, most of it. Right down my Strasse in this heat. I bet you're expecting a description of the beer, aren't you? Here goes. Might not be the one you wanted.

Discrete and friendly as the surroundings. Satisfying but undemanding, like a short stroll through the countryside to a thatched pub***. Bitter and spicy, if you want flavour words. I don't have more. My intellect is lying down on the back seat, letting emotion take the wheel.

A woman, well past pensionable age, the brewer's mother I guess, drops by my table for a chat. She's very friendly and chatty. Just one little problem. Her accent is so thick you'd need a ton of semtex to blast through it. I nod and mumble "Ja." when it seems appropriate. It's a humbling experience. I thought I could understand spoken German. If only Tatort were more often set in the Oberpfalz.

A few hours slide away. Like the locals after getting their bottles filled with to-go Zoigl. Soon it's time for me to slide away. Not back to the hotel for a kip. Better than that. Down the big hill. To the bright lights and bustling streets of Windischeschenbach. See you there.

"Grüss Gott." Remind me to tell you more about that.

* I want one of those houses. Dolores agrees on retiring to Bavaria. Why not go the whole hog and Zoigl?

** That's the one area where Zoigl disappoints. No-one seems to do it Bayerischer Anstich any more. Too much fiddling about, I guess.

*** Other words came to mind. But I'm no Swiss Tony.

View Bavarian trip June 2012 in a larger map

Zoiglstube "beim Käck´n"
Marktplatz 18,


Bryan the BeerViking said...

The Star of David on the menu - is that a local symbol, or house-specific, I wonder?

Ron Pattinson said...

Bryan, er, it's Zoigl. That's the symbol of zoigl - a six-ponted star.

Bryan the BeerViking said...

Ah-ha, you live and learn! I'll put it on my list of places to visit, at least we'll be in the right country for it from next week, even if it's at the opposite end. (Probably nearer you than Bavaria!)