Tom Clark's Top 10 Picks
Tom Clark was the owner and head brewer at Red Bank Brewery in Red Bank, NJ before he decided to take a off summer and learn the Art of Brewing, Franconian Style. He spent a number of months brewing at Wagner Bräu in Kemmern. Of course, he did extensive "field research" while in Franconia. That is Tom at the right, drinking with friends at Wagner Bräu, Kemmern
1. Wagner - Bräu, Kemmern. I have no choice but to be partial to the Brewery where I spent three months working. Wagner Pils is hopped with generous amounts of Spalter hops. A very drinkable beer that’s served ohne Kohlensaureanstich (from gravity keg) in the Brewery tap room. The ungespundetes Lagerbier is one of the finest (if not the best!) brewed in Franconia. Bottled and Kegged for take out, but only found on tap at the “must visit” Wagner Keller. Also brew a Marzen, Weizen, Schwarzbier and seasonal Bocks.
2. Brauerei Wagner & Brauerei Hummel, Merkendorf. One small village, Two great Breweries! Wagner brews a tasty Pils and “U” Beer. Hummel brews a very drinkable Rauch. Both have great homemade food at bargain prices.
3. Brauerei Sippel, Baunach. Unique “House Brewery/Distillery” with a well made Dunkles and good food. Owner’s daughter is the Brew Master. Rooms are available too.
4. Brauerei Fössel, Appendorf. Cool old Brewery with a wood fired Brew Kettle and Opa (The Grandfather) running around in Lederhosen with his accordion. The house beer, a Dunkles Keller, can be right on the money or not at times. Also serve Kemmern Wagner pils. Neat Musical instrument “museum” room.
5. Lamm - Bräu, Eltmann. Brews a great Weiss and Lager beer. Owner is very friendly and the Brewery is/was a working museum.
6. Brauerei Büttner, Untergreuth. Farm Brewery that is only open on the weekends. Brew a nice drinkable Helles and serve up some real “just slaughtered” meals. Another ancient Brewery that’s worth the trip.
7. Brauerei Zenendner, Mönchsambach. Well respected country brewery with a fine “U” beer, a super Weiss and tasty Export.
8. Brauerei Barnikel, Herrnsdorf. A must for the Rauch beer fan. Everything about the place is Franken - real Franken, but it’s not to be missed. The Rauch is served in flip top bottles and they had just introduced a Weiss last time I was there.
9. Brauerei Hübner, Wattendorf. Another family that does a great job being Brewers/Farmers/Butchers. Delightful Dunkles and a fantastic un-filtered Pils. Real American style Steaks (raised out back !) are their specialty. Also check out the Dunkles at Brauerei Dremel directly across the street
10. Bamberg. Ok, so I cheated a little and grouped some fine breweries together. I’ll list them with the styles I think are tops: Pils - Keesmann Herren Pils is a great example of what a real Pilsner is. Fässla and Klosterbrau brew very respectable examples too. Helles - Greifenklau is worth the trip up the hill (take a taxi) for some of their house brew. Ungespundetes (“U”) - Mahrs - A Krugla of U in the slanted hallway is a must do. Dunkles - Maisel Benediktiner Dunkel is very malty and rich, a fine Dunkles. Rauch - Both Schlenkera and Spezial are unique in their own individual ways, with the intensely smoked Schlenkerla and the more subtle Spezial. Both are worth spending time at.
Comment from FredW on 2014-01-25 10:19:13
This article was originally published in 2003. Sadly, since then 3 of Tom's picks have stopped brewing.