Summer 2022 Tour Recap
Greetings Beer & Travel Lovers!
We have exciting news to share in this blog article - after a three-year pandemic-induced hiatus, we returned to Bavaria in July to lead our first tour since 2019! Read on for highlights of our tour.
Our five-day tour started on July 26th in Munich and finished up in and around the town of Bamberg. And for the first time, we ended our tour with a full day at Annafest, a beer festival set in the Kellerwald (Forest of Trees) above the town of Forchheim.
We had a large group for this tour - 18 people - half of which work at Woodwright Brewing Company in Dunedin, FL. Woodwright owners, Eunice and Grant Painter, organized this tour for their employees and significant others, and perhaps because most of the group are associated with the brewery, this crew set a new record for beer consumption!
The beer never stopped flowing, even on the bus
As mentioned above, Eunice and Grant Painter are the owners of Woodwright Brewing, which they founded in 2016. Eunice is an award-winning brewmaster and focuses mainly on brewing German-style beers to keep their taps flowing. If that’s not a fulltime job already, she also looks after accounting, office management and staffing. Grant in turn focuses on running the taproom and beer garden, events and entertainment, merchandise, staffing, facilities, and all of the other things they need to keep the brewery running smoothly. Needless to say, they both keep very busy.
Eunice and Grant first joined one of our tours as a couple back in 2018. They enjoyed it so much that in early 2021 they approached us about putting together a private tour for their employees and significant others to reward them for their dependability, hard work and loyalty, especially through the lean years of Covid.
They also felt their employees would be able to speak more confidently about the German-style beers they serve by experiencing and learning about German beer and its beer culture in situ. Unfortunately, things didn’t work out in 2021, so we moved the tour to this year when the risk of Covid lessened and Germany opened up.
After a walking tour of central Munich, we headed out to Weihenstephan, “The World’s Oldest Brewery” (founded 1040) for a leisurely lunch and our first beer of the tour.
Woodwright crew in front of the bear that helped Brother Korbinian become Saint Korbinian.
But the fun really got started that evening when we visited Die Bierothek München, a bottle shop opened by the founders/owners of Munich Brew Mafia. Our friend Dario Stieren, co-founder and brewmaster of Munich Brew Mafia led us through a discussion of the craft beer scene in Bavaria and guided us through a tasting. Everyone was free to choose from hundreds of different beers and Dario was available to describe the brewery, the style and many other interesting aspects of each beer.
Dario leads the beer tasting
Not sure about the beer, but the ladies definitely enjoyed Dario’s company
Our second day began with a “warm-up” at Klosterbrauerei Andechs, founded in 1455 and situated on the “Holy Mountain” in the town of Andechs. Starting the day with a few good beers helped set the tone for a fun day ahead.
"Breakfast” at Kloster Andechs
From there we headed deeper into the Alps to the quaint town of Bad Tölz which dates back to the end of the ice-age! After lunch we toured the Tölzer Mühlfeldbräu brewery led by head brewmaster, Max Liebhart. The current incarnation of the brewery is about 15 years old, but brewing at the facility dates back 600 years when beer was brewed there (and at other breweries in town) due to its proximity to clean water. Barrels of beer would be rolled from the breweries down to the Isar River, loaded onto ships, and carried to Munich where there were plenty of thirsty people waiting to quench their thirsts. Tölzer Mühlfeldbräu, like many craft breweries in Bavaria, brews beers that are a modern take on traditional beer styles.
Max leads the tour (left), Molly, Beth and Elise approve (right)
Frank "the Tank" couldn't wait for the bottling!
The third day of our tour involved driving north from Munich towards Bamberg, with a few stops along the way. The first stop was at the Hopfenhimmel in the Hallertau hop growing region which is the largest single hop growing region in the world.
Hallertau hop field viewed from atop the Hopfenhimmel platform
Tour group with everyone’s favorite bus driver, Carsten (in yellow)
After that we headed north to the town of Kelheim, home of the Schneider Weisse brewery. Founded in 1872, Schneider Weisse is the oldest wheat beer brewery in Bavaria, and their brewery operations are in a facility that was originally built in 1609 by Duke Maximilian I of Bavaria specifically for brewing wheat beer.
This was one of everyone’s favorite stops on our tour, mainly because their beer is so good and because our tasting was led by Head Brewmaster, Josef Lechner.
Hot food and cold beer make everyone happy
Frank and Josef “feeling the love”
After a few enjoyable hours at Schneider Weisse, we made our way further upstream of the Danube River to Weltenburger Kloster, “The Oldest Monastery Brewery in the World” (founded in 1050). With a relaxing beer garden set in the courtyard of the monastery grounds, Weltenburger is a great place for enjoying excellent beer on a warm summer afternoon.
Elise and Stephanie enjoying the Weltenburger Anno 1050 Märzen
Walter, Katie and the rest of the group under the shade of the Chestnut trees
After our time at Weltenburger, we made our way up to the town of Bamberg where we stayed for the rest of our tour.
Day four started out with a short ride to the town of Memmelsdorf to tour Brauerei Drei Kronen and have lunch. The brewery dates back to 1457 and the current owner - the Straub family - has owned and operated it since 1936. Our tour was led by Hans-Ludwig who was the brewmaster from the early 1980’s until 2016 when his daughter Isabella took over those responsibilities.
Isabella brews a range of traditional Franconian beer styles including Rauchbier (smoked beer) and Kellerbier (unfiltered lager). And recently she and some friends came up with the idea to brew Bierfee Pink, which she describes as “Ein Bier von Frauen für Frauen, das auch Männern schmeckt” (A beer by women for women, that men also like).
Hans-Ludwig explaining the board that lists the beers in each of the aging tanks
Bierfee Pink, “a beer by women for women, that men also like”
The entire crew along with myself (far right) and Hans-Ludwig (behind me)
That afternoon, we toured the Weyermann Specialty Malts plant in Bamberg. Weyermann is the world’s largest producer of malt, distributing more than 50 different styles of dry malt plus assorted liquid malt products. As a private company, they don’t publish details on how much they actually produce and sell per year, but it’s safe to say that it’s hundreds of millions of pounds!
It’s very interesting to see how Weyermann converts raw grain into the malt that’s used in the food and beverage industries, including breweries, and then packages and ships those products worldwide. Unfortunately, they don’t allow photos within the plant itself, but here’s a few photos to help you get a sense for the tour.
Truck outside Weyermann packaging facility waiting to be loaded up with pallets of malt
After the tour, tasting various beer styles brewed using different malt types
The fifth and final day was spent at Annafest, a beer festival that takes place in the Kellerwald (“Forest of Cellars) in the hills above the town of Forchheim. There are a total of 23 cellars that were dug into the hill 400+ years to lager beer. The cellars are no longer used for lagering, but 18 local breweries operate beer gardens outside of each cellar and the Kellerwald is no doubt one of the most beautiful locations in the world to drink beer!
Blümleinskeller at the top of the Kellerwald hill serves Brauerei Eichhorn beer
Beth holding a liter of beer that weighs almost as much as she does!
The crowd got thicker and the beer flowed faster as the day went on
The thing to do at Annafest… drink liters of beer and have fun!
2023 Tour Offering Update
In a deviation from our past, starting in 2023 we will exclusively be offering tours to private group of 10-20 people. With this model our customers can choose the dates that work best for them, and can enjoy the company of their friends, family and/or co-workers along the way. Private group tours are excellent for:
Original Gravity Tours
We hope this article inspires you to start planning a "beercation" with your friends. We also hope you’ll let us organize a Munich & Bamberg Brewery Tour for your group in 2023. For a virtual tour, pop open your favorite German beer and check out our Photos, Videos & Reviews page, and What Sets Us Apart from other German beer tour companies.
Greetings! I'm a passionate beer and international travel lover. Other than craft beer, I mostly go for German & Belgian beers and if you share the same interests, you may enjoy my blog. Prost!