You can feel it immediately when you pass the door of the Arnstadt city brewery: It’s not just the history that clings to the old brick walls of this landmark building. It’s the living tradition that resonates in the air, a homage to the age-old craft of brewing beer that manifests itself in every sip of their unique beer.
The Arnstadt City Brewery is one of the oldest still active breweries in Germany. It has its origins in the medieval city walls of Arnstadt, a charming town in Thuringia known for its historic half-timbered houses and rich musical heritage.
Thanks to Germany’s former small state structure, the state is now one of the leaders in beer production. The many customs borders provided a shield for the smallest breweries until the founding of the German Confederation. In addition, many towns with beer guilds imposed beer duty, which required drinking the beer of the nearest brewery.
Arnstadt city brewery
The oldest news about the Arnstadt beer comes from a probstei account of the Virgin Benedictine monastery at the Liebfrauenkirche (1404). Here you can read which ingredients were ordered for the beer.
In 1650 there were 126 breweries in Arnstadt, all of which brewed different and sometimes more or less tasty beer. One beer was very special. Arnstadt’s mayor and innkeeper brewed the town’s first wheat beer. It was praised as tasty, slightly intoxicating and nourishing. Today, the recipe forms the basis for Arnstadt’s wheat beer, which has of course been adapted to the tastes of today’s beer drinkers.
Around 1812, the era of individual small home breweries in Arnstadt came to an end. In the following years, beer production shifted to 3 municipal breweries and a few private breweries.
From the Felsenkeller brewery, newly built in 1866, the Arnstadt Municipal Brewery emerged in 1994, when the operator bought the orphaned area and renovated it in accordance with the preservation order.
Today it houses a brewery, a hotel, a large banquet hall with a stage, a bowling alley, a sauna area,….
During a tour of the large premises, we were able to take a look at the former beer warehouse, for example. Today, a great party location is located here.
Beer from Arnstadt
I was able to spend a wonderful evening in the brewery’s restaurant. An excellent 3-course meal and Arnstadt beers were served and between courses we explored the grounds.
The food was really exceptionally good. The appetizer was a colorful brewhouse salad with beer mustard vinaigrette. The main course, roast beef in dark beer sauce, tasted so good that I would have loved to keep eating. The sauce, in particular, was right up my alley. Finally, we were served a cream puff with beer foam cream. What you can not make everything from beer! I should look into this a bit more.
The real highlight – for me as a beer lover – was of course the Arnstadt beer. We were able to try the light Arnstädter UrStoff, the dark Arnstädter UrTyp and the Arnstädter Winterbier.
The beer is brewed in the cellar of the brewery. Here we were able to take a look at the brewery’s equipment and were given a detailed explanation of the brewing process by the brewer. What I find very positive is that really only the amount is produced that is needed on site. Most of the beer is sold directly at the counter. Those who would like to take Arnstadt beer home with them can do so in 2 liter siphons. There is no smaller bottling.
The dark beer tastes slightly sweet, little hops and has a caramel-colored fine-pored foam. The beautiful dark beer color it gets from 5 special malts.
The original wort content and alcohol content are 12.5% and 5.1% by volume, respectively.
A wonderful golden yellow beer. It tastes full-bodied and very drinkable. I was surprised that in addition to the Pilsner malt, a caramel malt is also used. This is not visible from the color and also only slightly to taste.
What a wonderful fresh beer. For me, just the right choice for the hot summer. I particularly liked that the beer has only a slight taste of banana. The top-fermented UrWeizen has an original wort of 12.5% and an alcohol content of 5.1% by volume .
Overnight stay in the hotel park Stadtbrauerei Arnstadt
A long evening ended and luckily I didn’t really have to walk far to my hotel room after lots of beer and good food. A total of 66 rooms in different categories are available to hotel guests in the historic building.
I stayed in one of the “superior rooms” that was located in the Old Brewhouse. A room design with warm colors and modern furnishings with an insanely comfortable bed were very inviting. I felt right at home.
In the morning there was still an excellent breakfast with good coffee. So, that I would have loved to stay longer in the hotel. Then I would have had the time to hike the geo and pleasure trail “From Beer to Bratwurst”, which starts right outside the front door. But this way I have a reason to travel to Thuringia again.
But what is it that really sets the Stadtbrauerei Arnstadt apart? Perhaps it’s the fact that it not only brews beer, but also cultivates history and culture. In 2022, the beer of the city brewery was included in the list of intangible cultural heritage of UNESCO. This award recognizes the unique value of the brewing tradition and the brewery’s commitment to preserving this cultural heritage.
The visit and overnight stay were part of a press trip to Thuringia.