The municipality of Aufseß is located in Franconian Switzerland. Here you will find the Aufseß Brewery Trail, which even made it into the Guinness Book of Records in 2001.
With 4 breweries, the municipality of Aufseß has the highest density of breweries per inhabitant and in 2001 they managed to be entered in the book of records. If that’s not a reason to take a beer hike on the almost 13-kilometre-long circular “Brewery Trail”!
Brewery Trail – Route
But before that, we downloaded the Breweries’ Trail Hiking Passport. You can stamp it at every brewery and get a certificate at the end.
The circular walk is divided into 4 stages, each leading from brewery to brewery:
- Aufseß: Brauerei Rothenbach – Sachsendorf: Brauerei Stadter
Route length:5 Kilometer
- Sachsendorf: Brauerei Stadter – Hochstahl: Brauerei Reichold
Route length: 5 Kilometer
- Hochstahl: Brauerei Reichold – Heckenhof: Brauerei Kathi-Bräu
Route length: 2 Kilometer
- Heckenhof: Brauerei Kathi-Bräu – Aufseß: Brauerei Rothenbach
Route length: 2 Kilometer
You can see the exact course of the route in advance on our map. The tour is also very well signposted along the way.
Very important! Make sure to check the opening hours of the breweries beforehand. We had the misfortune during our hike that one brewery was closed.
Start of the hike on the Brewery Trail
We started our beer hike in Hochstahl and of course ended it there. The Reichold brewery is located here and also offers overnight accommodation.
Right in front of the brewery is the first signpost, which of course points in both directions, otherwise it wouldn’t be a circular walk. We chose the shorter route, which leads 2 kilometres in the direction of Heckenhof to the Kathi-Bräu brewery.
The well-maintained path quickly turns away from the road and first leads along between fields and meadows. A dreamlike view over the countryside with its slightly undulating profile opens up and already here it became apparent that not only the beer but also the landscape is a good reason for the hike.
After a short while, the hiking trail continued into a small forest area. 2 kilometres is not far and so we reached our first destination very quickly.
The brewery is located in a former feudal estate, Heckenhof Castle. This was owned by the von Aufseß family for over 300 years from 1498 until it was sold to the landlord and brewery tenant Seeger in 1802. After several changes of ownership, Kathi Meyer took over the brewery and became the boss of Kathi-Bräu. She passed away in 1993 and today her successors continue to run the brewery with the name that is well-known in the region.
We found a place in the beer garden in beautiful weather. Of course, it is also possible to sit in the cosy restaurant. However, it is not possible to reserve seats in advance, so it can get a bit crowded at the tables.
A glance at the menu reveals that things are hearty here. There are snacks and warm snacks on offer throughout the day, in other words the right basis for a good beer.
When we visited, there were two beers on the menu, a lager and the Kathi-Leicht.
My decision fell on the Kathi-Leicht – it was 11 o’clock in the morning , still 12 kilometres of hiking to go and supposedly the beer should contain 40% less alcohol. 40% of ?? is then ?? I got a dark, slightly tart-tasting beer with a fine-pored, slightly brownish foam. It was good, refreshing and I didn’t notice the 40% less alcohol content.
You shouldn’t linger too long at your first stop during the beer hike… not only is there still some distance to cover, but also a few breweries to master and so we moved on after only one beer…
Second section of the route to the Rothenbach brewery
We had hardly started walking when a rubbish bin caught my eye. Permanently mounted on the normal rubbish bin is a beer crate. This beer bottle collection station accompanied us the entire hike. The crates could always be found a good 500 metres before and after the brewery. A clear sign that quite a few beer hikers finish their drinks quite quickly and do not carry the bottles with them.
The second section of the route is again quite short at 2 kilometres. The route still went along fields in the direction of Aufseß. It didn’t take long and the town came into view.
The Rothenbach brewery is located directly on a through road. We passed through the cosy guest room into the quiet beer garden. It was around lunchtime and guests were eating around us. It smelled tempting…
The Rothenbach brewery has been brewing its beer in Aufseß for many years. As early as 1823, Jean Rothenbach bought a plot of land in the village. His grandson built a brewery there. He transported a brewery equipment from the Franciscan monastery in Gößweinstein to Aufseß with 10 oxen. In 1886, the first brew was made under the guidance of a Franciscan monk, thus laying the foundation stone of the beer from the Rothenbach brewery. In the beginning, the amount of beer brewed was still quite small and it could mainly be drunk in the brewery’s own brewhouse and at nearby tap houses. In the meantime, production has grown to such an extent that not only different types of beer but also lemonades are sold and the brewery is still owned by the Rothenbach family.
The Rothenbach brewery offers its guests a large selection of beers:
- Seidla Hell – bottom-fermented golden yellow lager, tastes slightly spicy, full-bodied.
- Lager naturtrüb – unfiltered naturally cloudy, copper-coloured lager, light caramel note, very drinkable.
- Zwickl naturally cloudy – filtered, amber-coloured, malty taste.
- Hefeweizen – filtered, bronze coloured, full soft taste, banana aroma.
- Aufsesser Pils – light golden, aromatic
- Dark – filtered, chestnut brown, malty
Our hiking companions drank the Seidl Hell and the special beer “Wisky Bock” (light bock beer matured in a wisky barrel). They thought the Seidla Hell was very good, the Bock beer could have used more wisky notes.
We were curious about the second speciality of the house – the lemonade with the great name Gluggerla. These have been offered in swing-top bottles with yellow heads since 1996.
My choice was Gluggerla Grapefruit. This lemonade is sugar-free and tasted wonderfully fresh and slightly acidic like grapefruit. Patrick chose the Gluggerla Lemon Lemonade, which tasted much sweeter than the grapefruit lemonade, but was still really refreshing and quenched my thirst.
After quenching our thirst, we continued on the Aufseß brewery trail to our third port of call.
Im Tal 70
On the brewery path Aufseß in the direction of Sachsendorf
The third section on the Brewery Trail is about 5 kilometres long. Initially, the trail led along the road, but then turned off onto smaller paths.
It went along the river Aufsess on natural paths through wooded sections that were fantastically quiet and shady. Fresh, slightly cool forest air and running on the forest floor – wonderful!
Walking slightly uphill, we reached a great vantage point (including a summit cross). From there you have a good view into the valley. If you need a break, you will also find seating here.
This was my favourite part of the route and I could have gone on forever. But the next brewery was waiting for us.
Sachsendorf is home to the brewery Gasthof Stadter, where an amber-coloured country beer has been brewed according to a “family recipe” since 1884. Whether it tastes good – unfortunately we don’t know. The inn was closed, there was no “emergency beer filling station” in the form of a vending machine / fridge and so we had to hike on thirsty.
The last 5 kilometres on the Aufseß Brewery Trail
The last 5 kilometres of the hike were admittedly tough. Not only because of the lack of beer, but also because of the weather on this day. The sun burned mercilessly from the sky and shade was very rare in this section of the route.
Nevertheless, I liked the path very much. The landscape enchanted me. Golden yellow fields and green meadows stretched as far as the eye could see and sometimes a tree stood lonely in the middle.
With every step and getting thirstier, we finally approached the starting point of our hike, the brewery Pension Reichold in Hochstahl.
The Reichold Brewery Pension was just the right starting point for us for the hike on the Brewery Trail. Here you can stay overnight on the camper van site or in the guesthouse and end the hike with a beer or two.
The brewery has existed as a family business for over 100 years and brews Hochstahler lager, Zwick’l, a dark beer and wheat.
The lager is lightly hopped and very drinkable – it was just the right beer after the hike.
Zwick’l beer is an amber-coloured, unfiltered cellar beer and, like almost all Zwick’l beers, my favourite.
In front of the brewery there is a vending machine where you can quench your thirst for beer and lemonade even outside opening hours. The next morning we “pulled” a beer here, which was very well chilled and served as food for the next day.
If you still feel like it, you can take a short walk in the village. If you walk past the neat little house of the volunteer fire brigade, you come to the village church. Fortunately, the church was open and we were able to take a look inside. We liked it!
Information about the Aufseß Brewery Trail
From the A 73 motorway, take the Forchheim-Süd exit and follow the B 470 to Ebermannstadt. Turn off in the direction of Heiligenstadt and follow the signs to Aufseß.
Those arriving by train can travel to the Bamberg, Bayreuth and Ebermannstadt stations and from there continue by bus to Aufseß.
The circular trail is 14 km long. It takes about 4 hours to walk it. In addition, you should plan for the beer breaks.
Tel. 09274 8193
November – March: Thu – Sun from 10am
April – October: Tue – Sun from 10 am
Tel. 09204 271
weekdays: beverage sales at the brewery
Easter to October: Saturdays outside bar
Additional opening hours see homepage
Brauerei Kathi Bräu
Tel. 09198 277
April to October no closing day
Sat, Sun, public holidays open until 7pm,
weekdays until 9 pm
Tel. 09198 92920
Mid-April to mid-October without closing day