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Saturday, November 01, 2008

Where Are the Monks?

With a name like Brauerei Klosterbrau, which means Monastic Brewery, you would expect monks to have been running the place for centuries. The reality is quite different for this riverside brewery in Bamberg’s Mill District, along Obere Muhlbrucke.

Bamberg’s Prince Bishop established Klosterbrau in 1533 at the site of a brewery that dates back to 1333. There were no monks then and the only monk you will find today is painted on the side of the building. What was a good marketing idea fro the Prince Bishop is still a good way to sell beer. In 1790 the brewery was privatized and in 1851 the Braun family took over the operation. Today it produces 3,500 hectoliters consumed primarily at the brewpub.

Brewer Christian Kaiser gave us a quick tour around the brewing plant after we had tasted four of the beers. The compact operation has a comfortable tavern and a fantastic beergarden for the warmer weather months that overlooks the river.

Klosterbrau Gold Pils is a crisp golden beer with a frothy head. The 4.9 percent alcohol by volume beer has a good solid level of hops. The Brown Beer is a malty and lively beer that is more amber gold than brown. The Schwaerzla is a 4.9 percent alcohol by volume black beer that had a nice level of caramel roasted quality. The 7.0 percent alcohol by volume Bock beer is worth searching out if you are in Bamberg during the fall months.

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