I look back on that trip with fondness, as left to our own devices we managed to pack one hell of a lot of beer exploration into the week we spent in Regensburg, managing to sample beers from all of the city’s four breweries, as well as visiting a fair number of its pubs. One day, if only for the sake of completeness, I will write up the beery experiences of that first holiday.
A hectic schedule like that is not really possible with a non-drinking wife in tow, as it would not really be fair dragging her around all those pubs and beer gardens, but we still managed to visit a fair number of places, and to enjoy some really good beers. We were, after all in Bavaria, where good beer, hearty food and a friendly welcome go hand in hand and where, even in the most basic café, it is possible to get a decent glass of beer.
Those who know anything about German beer styles, will realise that a beer produced by a commercial brewery is not a true “Zoigl,” but the name seems to have been appropriated for any un-filtered, hazy beer, which is drawn fresh form the cellar tanks. The Bischofshof Zoigl was on the cloudy side of hazy, but nevertheless was a refreshing and tasty beer.
Beers from Brauerei Kneitinger can also be found all over Regensburg. Their brewery is on the edge of the pedestrianised Altstadt, just off Arnulfsplatz, and virtually next door to the recently restored Velodrome. The company have a pub fronting on to Arnulfsplatz at the front of the brewery. Matt and I went in on a couple of occasions, during our 2008 visit, but have not been back subsequently. From memory it was slightly on the basic side, and very much a locals’ place, but none the worst for that.
Alte Linde was a real gem of a place, plus a real find, and with its shady beer garden directly over-looking the main branch of the Danube, I can think of few better places to spend a sunny, early afternoon. All three of us chose what turned out to be a rather filling Schnitzel which, at just €7.95 a throw, was also excellent value. The lad and I also had a couple of refreshing glasses of Kneitinger Edel-Pils, whilst Mrs PBT’s had a bottled Alkoholfreibier.
Next on the list is St Katharinen Spital Brauerei (usually known as Spital Brau), who are the oldest brewery by far in Regensburg, with a history dating back to 1226. I wrote about the brewery and its lovely beer garden last year, and also described their new range of English-style beers, such as Pale Ale, IPA and Chocolate Stout, which are sold under the Regensburger Spital Manufaktur brand.
This time around we didn't manage a visit to the Regensburger Weissebräuhaus; a brew-pub close to the main shopping area. We also missed sampling beers from Thurn und Taxis who, up until 1996, were the fourth major brewery in Regensburg.
The Thurn und Taxis dynasty were were once Germany's richest and most profligate feudal aristocratic family. Their fortune was built on the private postal service which they operated, as a virtual monopoly, across much of central Europe. The postal service ended in 1867, but the family had many other interests, including forest, banks and South American cattle ranches.
Thurn und Taxis beer brands. These were acquired by Paulaner of Munich in 1996, who continued production of the Thurn und Taxis beers. The company's Regensburg brewery closed, and I remember seeing it, all sad and forlorn, in its location overlooking the Kneitinger Keller.
Now here comes the strange part. Several months ago, on my last visit to Beers of Europe at Kings Lynn, I picked up a couple of bottles of Thurn und Taxis Pilsner. The address on bottle was given as Fürstliche Brauerei, Am Kreuzhof 5, 93055 Regensburg. A look on Google Maps reveals this as an industrial location to the east of the city centre.
Whatever the situation, this brief summary of Regensburg's brewing scene, should point the thirsty traveller in the right direction, and assist the beer lover to track down the best the city has to offer.