Fancy a good craft beer in a cosy atmosphere? The Steinbach Bräu in Erlangen offers its own beer, good food and even a small beer museum.
How it all began
In 1653, an imperial post office was established at Hauptstraße 116 in Erlangen. A home-brewed beer was offered here for travellers. The barley juice is kept cool in the nearby rock cellars on the Burgberg until it is ready to be savoured.
Over the years, the owners changed, but it was always brewed for the brewer’s own bar. Georg Bechert finally sold the business to Carl Steinbach in 1861. The brewery is still owned by the family today, now in the 5th generation.
Over and out – there’s no more beer
The emergence of large breweries around 1900 did not make life particularly easy for the small family business. Although technical developments helped to keep sales reasonably stable and the “Goldblondchen” beer established itself on the market, its success was short-lived. The First World War and inflation forced the brothers Karl and Fritz Steinbach to cease beer production in 1923.
However, the idea of “beer” could not be completely abandoned and so the focus shifted to malt production. Of course, this also required changes to the existing building. For example, space had to be created for the malt kilns and later the modern germination boxes.
Steinbach Bräu is coming back
In the 1960s, Karl Steinbach’s grandson, Dieter Gewalt, took over the management. His brother Christoph trained as a brewer and in 1995 the decision was made to start brewing their own beer again.
A small speciality brewery was created. Here the brewer processes his own malt. In the meantime, unfiltered beers are produced according to old recipes using the latest technology and sold in the brewery’s own pub.
The beers from Steinbach Bräu
The brewery offers a variety of beers. Some beers are seasonal offerings, such as the dark festival beer for the Bergkirchweih or the “Snow Queen” as a winter beer.
During my visit, I tried all three varieties on offer from the tap: Storchenbier, Schneekönigin and Goldblondchen.
Storchenbier is available all year round. It was named after the storks that have been breeding on the roof of the brewery for many years and can also be found on the brewery’s coat of arms. The beer is still produced today according to a very old recipe. The beer shimmers brightly in the glass and is wonderfully sparkling and light with a very subtle fruity flavour.
The Snow Queen is a seasonal winter beer. It has a pleasantly round flavour. In a direct comparison with Storchenbier, it unfortunately lost my taste test. It lacked a bit of an “aha effect” for me.
I found the Goldblondchen very good. The wheat beer is brewed with its own wheat malt and top-fermented yeast. It smells and tastes pleasantly fruity. Even though the beer is a little stronger (compared to other wheat beers), I found the mouthfeel to be soft, not bitter and wonderfully full-bodied. The beer really hit my taste buds.
To go with the beer, the brewery pub serves hearty food. My choice that day was the bread dumplings with mushroom cream sauce. It tasted very good!
Museum visit on the barley floor
We walk through the guest room to a rather inconspicuous door. Behind it is a staircase that leads to the former gesture floor of the brewery.
Where the barley used to be turned by hand, there is now a small beer museum. You can visit the museum as part of a guided tour for a fee. A little insider tip for me, as this tour immerses you in the world of beer in Erlangen.
Of course, the brewing process is an important part of this museum. There are display boards, different types of malt and also some old equipment to see. However, this museum is much more of an insight into the history of Steinbach Bräu.
The exhibits are lovingly selected and the senior manager’s eyes light up when he explains some of them to us. Here I realise how much the brewery is close to his heart and that he has lived and breathed beer brewing.
The time flies by during the entertaining story about the city, the breweries and of course the beer and I had the feeling that he could have told me so much more. I particularly enjoyed the topic of Erlangen Bergkirchweih with its 14 beer cellars and of course the history of the cellars. Actually a “must visit” for every beer fan!
Restaurant opening hours:
Monday – Thursday: 17-23 h
Friday, Saturday: 17-24 h
Visits to the museum are only possible on request.
The visit to Steinbach Bräu was part of a press trip to Erlangen.