In November 2014 I visited Brauerei Gradl in the tiny Upper Franconian village of Leups, to drink their superb unfiltered 4.9% Dunkel from gravity barrel. This beer, or something like it, has been in production for 331 years since the brewery opened in 1683. Today, beer making is in the hands of Stefan Wolfring, son of brewery owner Hans Wolfring. 20 hectoliters per batch on a modern system, this is old world beer made with new world precision.
Served naturally, poured by force of gravity from cask, this is lager’s answer to Real Ale. Creamy natural carbonation, soft malt and vibrant mineral-strong carbonic acid gives this malty Dunkel near-perfect balance.
This is not a photo of brewer Stefan, rather the bartender catching my photograph of his cask pouring.
I managed to sneak a photo of the elder Herr Wolfring pouring himself a mug of beer. Who knows how long he will be around to oversee the brewery, but from the quality of the beer I can tell that the business is in good hands with Stefan.