Last weekend was pretty action-packed. BV had his birthday on Friday, Saturday we spent in the car to Frankfurt and back where we picked up my friend Katie who visited for a few days, and Sunday we had planned to do a beer hike with a bunch of BV’s friends. All week the forecast was pretty crummy, but it slowly improved to the point where we felt safe venturing out. Sunday dawned absolutely gorgeous, and we felt pretty good about our chances.
This was the third beer hike that I’ve done since living in Germany, but this was the first time on the Fünf-Seidla-Steig. One of my classes recommended it, and it has the advantage of being a lot closer to Nürnberg than the one that I’ve done before. The disadvantage to this one is that it isn’t a round-trip, instead it’s pretty much a straight line. You can make it a round-trip, but that ups the hike from 10 kilometers to 19 kilometers. We thought that might be a little much with five beers along the way, so we opted to take the bus to the far end, and make our way back to the train from there.
We met half of our group at the Nordostbahnhof in Nürnberg, then hopped a train to Gräfenberg. The train was full of fellow beer hikers, some already with drinks in hand, some with their trusty Nordic walking sticks, and a whole group with yellow flowers in their buttonholes and on their hats. In Gräfenberg we waited a few minutes for a bus, and then took a 10-minute ride to the far end of the hike in Thuisbrunn, where we found the first brewery.
|Gasthof Seitz, Thuisbrunner Elch-Bräu|
The beer garden at Gasthof Seitz was already about half-full, despite the early hour. Beers were served up those stairs in the second picture, from a man inside a rock. The building was surrounded by rocks with doors in them that I can only assume led to hobbit holes. Table service was also available from servers in Dirndl, provided you could wave one down to get you a coffee. After beers for some, coffee for others, and some small morning snacks, we were off again for Hohenschwärz, our next destination. Along the way we soaked up some sun, and enjoyed the green fields, yellow flowers, and blue skies….
|Towers on hills in Thuisbrunn|
When we reached the next brewery, the Brauereigasthaus Hofmann, we planned to meet up with the rest of our group who were only doing part of the hike. But before we could reach them, we had to get through a stag party. They had been at the first stop as well, and we had been a bit perplexed by the pink bat-like suit that the groom had on. The mystery was solved though when they stopped us, and tried to convince people to take shots at the groom for prizes. What does that mean? Well Katie was about to find out…
We were really confused about the holes in the outfit, but now it was explained. You had the option to kick or throw through the holes for prizes, or to just go for broke and hit the groom in the “foul” center circle… aka, try to hit him in the nuts. Sadly, she missed entirely, but they still granted us entrance to the packed beer garden and the rest of our group.
|Beer garden from the front, and no room at the inn.|
We had lunch and beer, but no pictures of either… sorry. My mug didn’t have a cool brewery logo on it, and so I picture-failed.
After lunch, we wrangled the over-worked waitress (clearly they were not planning on a busy day), and got the group on the way. The next chunk of the hike was a bit further, but again we enjoyed the blue skies and green fields.
|Pictures of pictures.|
|BV has focusing issues.|
|Katie and I enjoy fields.|
Sadly though, those gorgeous blue skies were not to last. As we came into Gräfenberg, the sky was beginning to darken…
The third brewery was at Friedmann’s Bäustüberl, which was also pretty packed.
We did all manage to find seats, and even drank most of our beers/waters/colas before the heavens opened on us and we all smashed our way under the umbrellas with all the other guests. It was a pretty short cloudburst though, and so we continued on our way. This was the end of the line for half of our group, so we parted ways and they headed for their cars. The rest of us bravely soldiered on, and made for the last brewery of the day in Weißenhohe. There are two breweries in Gräfenberg, but unfortunately the second, the Brauerei-Gasthof Lindenbräu, was closed for the day. I guess that means we’ll just have to do this again sometime. Preferably on a day with no rain in the forecast.*
My students had warned me that one end of the hike involved a huge hill, and therefore you should do that end first. They were right, as we did have to hike up and then down an enormous hill, and I should really learn to take notes on things like that. On the bright side, it was raining a lot at that point, so we didn’t get too over-heated. Silver lining!
At the bottom of the hill we found our last stop for the day, the Wirthaus Klosterbrauerei Weißenhohe.
The rain had pretty much stopped when we arrived, so we opted to sit out in the garden. It was really gorgeous, with the trellises all covered in wisteria. The servers mopped off a table for us, and optimistically went around cleaning off the other tables, and redistributing the cases of coasters. This was short-lived though, and when we started to hear thunder rumbling again, they went running around recollecting everything. We were about two-thirds through the last beer when the sky opened up on us again, and we ran into the Wirthaus for protection. We thought we’d be able to grab a table and maybe have a piece of cake before the train, but the place was completely packed and a table for eight was impossible. Instead we lingered in the entryway, finishing our beers, and watching as soaked people came in, went into the dining rooms, and came right back out again. Next time, we might want to try for a reservation.
When the last beers were finished, we took the short walk over to the train station, and headed back to the city. Despite the rain, it was a really nice day, and I’m looking forward to trying this again… preferably with some sun, and all five restaurants open for business!
More info on the Fünf-Seidla-Steig (in German)
*Which means it may never happen. German spring, you are on my shit-list.