Travel for foodies is a booming niche. Travel Agent is taking a look at the top culinary offerings for lovers of beer, cheese, wine and more around the world. Here we explore Germany.
For centuries, Germany has been a prized destination for beer lovers traveling from all over the globe. This year marks the 500th year of the Bavarian Purity Law, which enforced the rule that only four ingredients were to be used in the making of German beers — barley, hops, yeast and water.
To commemorate the anniversary, a number of breweries, taverns and pubs are celebrating the occasion by offering unique tours, classes and special events.
First-time travelers to the German region of Franconia can book culinary discovery tours in Bamberg, Kulmbach, Forchheim and Bayreuth, with the Liquid Gold Discovery Tours from the Tourist Board of Franconia. Tour packages include beer tastings, brewery museum visits and culinary experiences.
“Beer Discovery Days” tours include activities such as brewery tours and keg tapping courses, while travelers looking for a more in-depth experience should check out the “Comprehensive Brew Class” at the Organic Brewery in Pleinfelden (Franconian Lake Country). Here, guests will be provided tools needed to make beer at home. Additionally, a brew master will teach participants extensively about ingredients and brewing techniques, as well as demonstrate the process of tapping a barrel. Exclusive beer tastings are also included with the course. Later, in Pottenstein in Franconian Switzerland, travelers can earn their “beer diploma” at the museum brewery.
Tip: The “Comprehensive Brew Class” program is ideal for group travelers or multiple couples.
|Hops-and-barley lovers congregate in a beer tent during Oktoberfest in Germany — but any month is a good one to sample German brews.|
For both history and nature buffs interested in learning about beer brewing as well as its origin throughout Germany, the “Brew Masters Can’t Let the City Run Out of Beer” program offers a guided tour through Eichstätt in the Altmühltal Nature Park. The guided tour through the baroque Bishop’s Seat takes to historical sites in an effort to give travelers taste of how “life used to be in the old days”. The tour includes stops to local taverns, breweries and pubs, as well as trips to the market.
Adventurous travelers looking to journey on foot or by bicycle, both independently and with a guide, have a range of options thanks to the country-wide celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Bavarian Purity Law. Outings include hikes on the Ahorntal Brewery Trail, the Aufsess Beer Loop Trail, or the Beer Springs Trail near Pegnitz.
Note: Even though it is a celebration, the local laws ask participants to abstain from alcohol consumption until the end of their hiking or biking journey.
Notable beer hiking and bicycle routes include the Aischgrund Beer Road, which provides travelers a chance to visit eight different family-operated breweries along the Aischgrund in the Steigerwald Forest. Winding between the towns of Bad Windsheim and Uehlfeld, the trail is marked very well and doesn’t require a map to follow, allowing travelers the freedom to explore independently and at their own pace. Typical trips range in duration from one to three days, and because of the 20 inns that are located along the Aischgrund Beer Road, participants have access to adequate food and lodging as well.
The bicycle trail is 34 miles, while the hiking trail is 31. Breweries along the route include Bad Windsheimer Bürgerbräu and Brauhaus Döbler (Bad Windsheim), Hausbrauerei Kohlenmühle (Neustadt/Aisch), Brauerei Windsheimer (Gutenstetten), Brauerei-Gasthof Prechtel and Brauerei Zwanzger (Uehlfeld), Brauerei Loscher (Münchsteinach), Privatbrauerei Hofmann (Pahres).
The “Fünf-Seidla-Steig” trail winds through picturesque scenery and through the towns of Gräfenberg and Weissenohe. There are five private breweries along the way, offering a taste of “Seidla,” a unique Franconian beer.
The trail is certified by the German Hiking Federation and travelers have the option of hiking it in its entirety or in sections. Each section ends at a brewery and there is the option to get transferred back to the starting point. Optional offers include brewery and historical beer tours, guided hikes and special events. The length of the tour is either a six or nine-mile loop hike, with multiple breweries along the route, including Klosterbrauerei, Weissenohe; Brauerei Friedmann, Lindenbräu, Brauerei Hofmann, Thuisbrunner Elch-Bräu and Gräfenberg.
Cyclists seeking a taste of Germany’s beer, as well as a glimpse at some historical sites, will delight in the Brewery and Beer Cellar Tour, which also travels through Steigerwald Forest and Franconian Switzerland around Bamberg. There are two variations to this tour; both follow along the rivers Main, Rauhe, Ebrach, Regnitz, Wiesent and Leinleiter. Stops include numerous beer cellars, as well as the UNESCO World Heritage Site Bamberg, the Levi-Strauss Museum in Buttenberg and the Imperial Palace in Forchheim. Travelers should note that the tour is ideal for more experienced bicyclists, as the length is either 125 or 38 miles. Breweries along the route are Mahr’s Bräu, Klosterbräu, Bamberg; Brauerei Kundmüller, Viereth; Brauerei Beck, Trabelsdorf; Schwanenbräu, Ebermannstadt; Brauerei Drei Kronen, Memmelsdorf and Wagnerbräu, Kemmern. For more information, visit www.franken-bierland.de.