A weekender’s guide to Bamberg

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A three hour drive from the KMC brings travelers to one of the most quaint German towns in the country. Old timbered houses, colorful facades, friendly water canals, and some of the most delicious beer you’ll drink await you.

Located in Bavaria, Bamberg is one of the few cities in Germany that was not destroyed by World War II bombings. A nearby German artillery factory prevented planes from getting near Bamberg, and therefore many spectacular buildings were spared from ruin. The architecture is simply gorgeous and pleasant. Medieval- to baroque-era buildings nestled along the water offer superb photography shots or a simple summer stroll. More than 3,000 buildings comprise this very pleasing town, now a UNESCO world heritage site.

A sunny Saturday morning offers weekenders a quaint farmers market. Don’t worry if you find yourself there during the week as the market is held six days a week.

At this market you will find some of the best tasting honey in the area, as well as farm fresh eggs, produce and cheese.

Bamberg is also home to eleven breweries: Brauerei Fässla, Brauerei Greifenklau, Brauerei Schlenkerla, Brauerei Kaiserdom, Brauerei Keesmann, Klosterbräu, Mahrs-Bräu and Brauerei Spezial. It is also home to one brewpub, Ambräusianum. In a city with a population of over 70,000, the residents are ensured to have easy and entertaining access to quality beer and a jovial atmosphere.

Photo by Sina Ettmer Photography/Shutterstock.com

Hundreds of years ago, many beers were prepared in the same environment where meat was smoked, giving it a very particular flavor. The grain, usually something like barley, was smoked over fires to dry until the 1700s.

The procedures were lost with the Industrial Age, but now, the German town of Bamberg fans the flame of tradition by producing a beer worthy of worship with its own special “rauchmalz” (beechwood smoked malt).

If you ask a handful of locals or read a few beer enthusiasts’ blogs, they will say Aecht Schlenkerla is the best smoked beer in the world. This tried and true method of researching has yet to fail, and from the moment a visitor enters Schlenkerla, he or she will feel a bit like they’ve stumbled upon local gold.

The tavern occupies a building first mentioned in 1405, and its low timbered ceilings and dark wood reflect the high sun of a summer’s day with welcoming ease.

The dark, chestnut beer tastes a bit like maple and the subtle woodiness of smoked meat. The weiss (light) smoked beer tastes assertive and tangy.

With a hint of tobacco, this beer is easy to settle down with after a trying day.

The word “Schlenkerla” means to “shake, like when drinking,” or literally, I learned later, “to dangle.”

And the beer lives up to its name. If most Franconians are considered reserved, then Schlenkerla shakes their inhibitions loose a bit.

This beer smokes the competition. Grab your best bud and head to Bamberg soon!

Bamberg Tourismus and Kongress Service

  • Geyerswörthstraße 5, 96047 Bamberg, Germany
  • Tel: +49(0)951/2976-200
  • www.bamberg.info