• Fall Bock Beer Tour of Bamberg

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Fall Bock Beer Tour of Bamberg

Oct.  21-Oct. 28, 2015 • Eight days, seven nights

$1795 land only, $225 single supplement.

The Germans call it Bockbierzeit, loosely translated to bock beer time.  Each fall the breweries of this region release their delicious bock beers for the winter.  These bocks are may be different than bocks you’ve had in the past.  They have a wide range of flavors and can be malty, sweet, deceptively strong and even pale in color. It makes beer hunting even more fun because you never know what is around the corner.  You just have to be ready to lock ‘n load and consume.

The breweries of Schlenkerla and Spezial even brew smoked bocks.  Fässla makes one of the strongest bocks called Bambergator, that weighs in at  8% abv.  Most bocks range between 6.5% to 7.5% abv.

 The breweries release their bocks October through late November, with special celebrations called Bockbieranstich, meaning presentation of the bock beer.  Schlenkerla traditionally begins the bock season with their Ur-bock, then the other breweries follow suit in the following weeks, with Greifenklau finishing the season.

There are, of course, more than just bock beers available during this time.  The traditional rauchbiers, keller beers, unfiltered lagers, country beers, etc., are all out there for your drinking pleasure.

Temperatures start to drop this time of year and can vary from year to year.  In the fall of 2010, it was in the 50s and low 60s during the day and as cool as high 30s at night.  It can also surprise you and get quit warm in the direct sun on some days and you find yourself in a t-shirt.  But, unfortunately, most of the beer gardens, or beer kellers as they are oddly called in Bamberg are closed for the season.  (During the Spring Beer Garden Tour of Bamberg is the time to really experience them.)  It’s still plenty warm enough in October, though, to ride a bike in a pair of blue jeans and wearing gloves.

They call beer gardens beer kellers because many of these forested hillside beer gardens traditionally were (and are) on top the underground cellars where they lagered the beer.  Sometimes people will refer to going “on” the beer keller, rather than “to” the beer keller, which when you know the back story makes sense.

This itinerary serves as only a rough guide of where we will go each day. I reserve the right to switch things around to take advantage of good weather to be outside, avoid known rain days, and visit special beer events as they may arise such as bock beer release events.

 To request a registration form to sign up for tours and more information, please contact stu@bambergbeerme.com or call (231) 215-0173.

Wed., Oct. 22.—Welcome to the beer city of Bamberg! This afternoon the tour starts as we check into the Brewery Inn of Fässla and have a meet-and-greet and beer.  Fässla is a working brewery and taproom on the main floor, with a hotel located above it.  What could be better? Tonight, we do a short walking tour of Bamberg, have a welcome beer behind the famous green door of the Schlenkerla Brewery, then our welcome company dinner at the nearby and charming Kachelofen Restaurant in the Altstadt (Old Town) of Bamberg.  From there, we will walk to Spezial Brewery, across from Fässla, for a nightcap before we call it a night.  Pace yourself, this is only day one! (Dinner)

Thursday, Oct. 23. 

• We rent bikes in morning, then have them most week to explore the city as a group and on your own!  Bamberg is a very bike-friendly city with bike paths and extremely courteous motorists.

• Bike to Kaiserdom and Ambrausianum Breweries in Bamberg.

• Bike to company lunch and beers at Klosterbräu Brewery in Bamberg

Boat cruise on the picturesque Regnitz River.  Yes, there is beer on board.

• Bus ride to Munchsambach and the Zehender Brewery.

• Dinner on own.

  Late night at Café Abseits.

(Breakfast & lunch)


Friday, Oct. 24.

• Tour of the famous Weyermann Malting.  See how they produce this magic malt used by discerning brewers around the globe and from where it comes.  We will also sample beers here as part of the tour and education process on malt.

• Bus ride to Merkendorf and breweries of Wagner & Hummel.

• Bike ride to the breweries of Keeseman & Mahrs Bräu in Bamberg and have a company dinner at Mahrs Bräu.

  Late night at Café Abseits.

(Breakfast & dinner)

Saturday, Oct. 25

  Bike ride to the nearby village of Weiher (11.5 km) and visit the Kündmuller Brewery, farm and beer garden (Weiher Beers) with a visit to Sonne Brewery in Bischberg on the way.  This is our longest bike ride of the tour.

• Bus ride up the hill to the Greifenklau Brewery & Beer Garden overlooking Bamberg.

• On your own for dinner.  I recommend Italian or some tapas as a change from all the German food we will be enjoying.


Sunday, Oct. 26.

• Visit and tour the Franconian Brewery Museum on St. Michael’s Hill and adjacent to St. Michael’s Cathedral.

• Visits to the Gügle church and the mountain-top Geichburg Castle (left), where we will have lunch and drink beer in the beer garden of the Castle, with its epic views of the Franconian countryside and fall colors.  It’s like drinking beer in a post card.

• Drive to village of Kirschaid and the Kraus Brewery.

• Dinner on your own.

(Breakfast & lunch)

Mon. , Oct. 27.

• Side trip to Modlareuth, aka, “Little Berlin.”  Remnants of the Iron Curtain and its checkpoints are historically preserved in this little town a little more than an hour from Bamberg.  We’ll get a feel of what it must have been like before the fall of the Curtain in 1989.  Along the way we will serendipitously discover and enjoy some dozens of breweries along the way.

• Dinner on your own.

(Breakfast & lunch)

Tues., Oct. 28.

• Side trip to the village of Forcheim, home of the famous Annafest Beer Festival held each July and the Kellerwald, comprised of about 24 beer gardens.  We will plan to visit the breweries of Greif, Hebendanz, Neder and Eichhorn.  We will likely be past beer garden season here for most of them, but at least will get to see where it all takes place and maybe whet your appetite for the Spring Beer Garden Tour of Bamberg.

• Tonight we have our farewell company dinner at, where else?--Schlenkerla Brewery, the epicenter of this beer region and the most renowned brewery in Bamberg, famous for its Rauchbier.

(Breakfast & dinner)

Wed., Oct. 29.

Breakfast concludes our grand tour and we say our goodbyes to our new beer friends and figure out how to carefully pack the dozens of bottles of fine German beer you have somehow amassed.  Rail transportation is available to Nuremberg (1 hour) and Frankfurt (2 ½ hours) airports for those heading home and those continuing on your own in Europe.

 $1795 land only, $225 single supplement.

To request a registration form to sign up for tours and more information, please contact stu@bambergbeerme.com or call (231) 215-0173.

* Itinerary subject to change.

* Prices based on double occupancy, per person, U.S. dollars, land only. Single room supplements apply (SS).  We can also work with you to pair you with other single travelers to avoid the single supplement. Better yet, recruit a friend to come, too! Unless, of course, like Rick Steves says, you prefer to “snore alone.”

Price includes, ground transportation starting and ending at the hotels on the tour, brewery visits and tours, any museum or boat cruises listed, all lodging, all breakfasts, three lunches, three dinners and beer during company meals and scheduled brewery visits, and my personal guide services.

We require a minimum number of guests for each tour to be guaranteed to go, so it’s important to sign up ASAP, as opposed to waiting until the deadline. Also, tours can fill rapidly and suddenly, so signing up early ensures that you will go and not be disappointed. Please spread the word about BBM! tours to fellow Bamberg beer enthusiasts, your friends in general, and encourage them to join the fun!