Schlenkerla brewery has been around since 1678. The name originally comes from ‘schlenkern’, an expression from Franconia which meant ‘to not walk straight’. The legend has it that one of the brewers had a funny walk caused by an accident and that the name stuck and eventually became associated with the brewery. Schlenkerla is arguably Bamberg’s most famous brewery, producing the famous Rauchbier (or smoked beer) that Bamberg is renowned for. They make six smoked beers, pale and dark, and even though the taste might seem strange at first, it grows on you. If you go to the tavern opposite the cathedral you’ll get to sit in a former house chapel of a Dominican monastery.
Dominikanerstraße 6, Bamberg, Germany +49 951 56060
Mahrs – Bräu
This brewery was opened in 1670 and has been owned by the Michel family since 1895. They brew nine different types of beer, mainly pale, and their Weisse Bock won a gold medal at the European Beer Star competition. Their Heller Bock is another good option. Mahrs Bräu runs only on green energy and they buy all their ingredients locally. You can sit in their flowery pub garden in summer, or drink standing up like the locals or Stehgammler, as they’re called, some of whom actually have their own personal mug kept at the pub. They organize tours by reservation only, and if you become a real fan of this brewery you can buy a t-shirt or cap from their shop.
Wunderburg, 10, Bamberg, Germany, +49 951 915170
This brewery is the oldest in Bamberg. It was founded by the Prince Bishops of that region in 1333, from whom it only became independent in 1790. They specialize in five beers, two of which are seasonal. The two seasonal beers, pale Bockbier and Maibock, are especially good. You’ll have to hope to visit around October or April when these beers are available. If that’s not an option, you can still enjoy the brewery’s other beers, either on the terrace or in one of their vaulted rooms charged with hundreds of years worth of history.
Obere Mühlbrücke 1-3, 96049 Bamberg, Germany, +49 951 57722
Fässla brewery is one of Bamberg’s oldest breweries, dating back to 1649. They still use the same quality water, taken from a 60-meters-deep well, to brew their beer. They make six different types of brews, pale and dark, and the unfiltered dark wheat beer is especially good. Their trademark logo is a jolly dwarf rolling a barrel, which is quite memorable especially as it is carved into all of their chairs. They serve their beer alongside tasty local specialties in their pub restaurant, which can be found in the city center.
Obere Königsstraße 19-21, Bamberg, Germany, +49 951 26516 +49 951 22998
This Brewery specializes in smoked beer, which they have been making since 1536. The malt is dried for 24 hours by an open beechwood fire, which is what gives the beer its unique aroma. They produce five special beers, four of which are smoked, and their ingredients are mostly local and organic. Watch out for the Märzen, a dark smoked lager. It is important to make the most of Brauerei Spezial while you are there as they do not export their beer further than a 15-kilometer radius in order to keep their beer fresh and minimize their carbon footprint.
Obere Königstraße 10, Bamberg, Germany, +49 951 24304