Less than 10 miles north of Bamberg sits the village of Breitenguessbach, home to Main Seidla. This is not your typical brewery startup and it is not your typical Franconian brauhaus either. With a state of the art system, custom made by Kaspar Schulz in Bamberg, the intent is to produce classic Franconian beer with at the highest quality possible. The cleanliness of the beer is very welcoming.
At the moment there are only four recipes being undertaken. The Zwickelpils is the pilsner left cloudy, while the version filtered for keg and bottle goes by the name Original. An amber, a weizen and German take on brown porter are also available.
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I heard it directly from the mouth of one well-known German brewer,
“The system they have is incredible, I wish I had equipment like that.”
A small, sterile, white-walled tasting rooms offers visitors small plates to pair with the beer, and the brewing room is completely open for admiration by patrons and industry folks. You may have noticed back in the states, homebrewers-turned-professionals seem to be very careful about sharing their technique and ingredients. As tends to happen in this absurd world, the ones who are most protective of their beers tend to be the least-envied technical brewers. Spend enough time brewpubbing and ask enough questions and eventually an innocent “is that Fuggles in there?” will be met with snarky avoidance and sometimes a straightforward shutdown: “I can’t share my recipe, there’s a lot of competition out there.” This, they claim, for a 2.4-level Americanized bitter.
In Germany, the 4.5-level brewers are an open encyclopedia of information. Something the Americans haven’t figured out yet – it’s not your choice of ingredients or your equipment, it’s you. Give 50 brewers the same recipe and get back 50 completely different beers. The similarities to the scientific research community are poignant: it’s not your initial conditions that determine the final product, and it’s not the special herb or spice addition that you’re so keen on, it’s the technique followed from start to finish, and every brewer is different.