A direct Denver to Frankfurt flight has us gate-to-gate in under 10 hours. A train ride southeast puts us in Nuremberg two hours later, set to explore the Bavarian beer scene once again.
Nuremberg is home to the famous Restaurant Hutt’n, but the situation has changed much since my last visit a year ago. Gone is the Hutt’n of old, no longer located at Burgstraße 19, but around the corner and down the road at Bergstraße 20. The new Hutt’n is much more of a typical Bavarian restaurant these days, and though the draft and bottle list is varied, it lacks the careful and thoughtful selections from local Franconian breweries that marked the old Hutt’n as one of the best beer restaurants in Germany.
So, goodbye to the legendary Hutt’n of Nuremberg, but hello to Nürnberger Alm.
Nürnberger Alm is a new opening located at the former site of Hutt’n, and run by the same staff, including the same restaurant manager Gerhardt. The interior, beer list and food menu is all nearly the same as the former Hutt’n. Thus, Alm continues Gerhardt’s focus on showcasing high-quality Franconia breweries, and features beers on tap and in bottle from four nearby: Lindenbräu, Elch-Bräu, Landwehr, and Pyraser.
The Lindenbräu beer made for an especially delicious experience, and at first sip it seemed we had found yet another great Franconian talent: their beer seemed almost perfectly balanced, fresh, bright and clean from first sip to last. The dark Munich-type malt in their Vollbier showing not a trace of grain huskiness, and the carbonation remarkably creamy and frothy. It was this visit to Alm and talking with Gerhardt that led us to make the trip to Gräfenberg to visit the brewery the next day.
Gräfenberg, home to Brauerei Gasthof Lindenbräu as well as a few others within walking distance, is reached either by an hour-long train ride or a 30-minute drive north from Nuremberg. The Lindenbräu brewery is one of the few left in Franconia still operating their own malt-house, complete with threshing floor, and they also run their own distillery and bake their own bread. Self-made malt, beer, spirits, and food seem to be the focus at Lindenbräu, and the care put into the production of their beer can be instantly tasted and felt.
The dark Lindenbräu Vollbier is a wondrous graham cracker and honey malt showcase, and the texture is near-perfect: full, frothy, creamy carbonation supported by a filling and thick malt structure.
The Festbier is an equally-stunning Munich malt experience: toasty cereals, rich toffee, chestnut oil and baked pastry lushness with an exceptionally clean character.
The Pils is lean, minerallic, spicy and zesty, with fluffy and pillowy carbonation and a softness that’s rare to find, even in the heartland of soft, creamy lagers.
Having the Festbier and Pils vom fass at the Gasthof made it clear why Gerhardt features Lindenbräu back at Nürnberger Alm. A week and a half later, having returned home, Lindenbräu lagers remained some of the most delicious memories of the trip.
Leaving Gräfenberg, we drove east towards Oberpfalz with dreams of magical Zoiglbier. More to come…