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Some 30 km north of Bamberg sits Brauerei Hetzel in the town of Frauendorf. A short drive east of Bad Staffelstein brings you to four other breweries along the way: Staffelberg-Bräu, Löwenbräu Hennemann, Dinkel and Reichert Metzgerbräu (a must-visit if you’re near Bad Staffelstein).
Uncertain if they were open, we stopped by during the afternoon and found only the brewer about his business. He invited us in to show us the facilities.
The experience of showing up off-hours and being invited in for a taste, a bottle, or a look around, it’s always surprising and appreciated when it happens, but throughout the years I’ve learned that it’s not all that uncommon. At Pfister, near Forchheim, we showed up at noon when the gastette was closed but the family – mom and dad themselves – were prepping for dinner in the kitchen. We walked in (the door is rarely locked), they heard us say hello and quickly realized that we were travelers who had come to their door for their beer. They rarely turn you away in person. It’s a common sense approach of the small Franconian town life that I like seeing elsewhere in the world, however rarely. It’s near-impossible to have the same experience here in the states.
As for the beer itself, I have to be fair with my scores. I didn’t find anything noteworthy about the beer, but I understand that batch quality varies, for some breweries more than others.
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