AUG/SEP 2006 | REGIONAL | INTERNATIONAL
||Beer Touring : Off The Beaten
Path In Northwestern Germany
By Chuck Cook
While the altbier pubs of Düsseldorf and the kölshbier
pubs of Cologne draw much attention and reverence in the world
of great beer (and rightfully so!), there are many other brewpubs
and breweries in the region of North Rhine–Westphalia
and Lower Saxony that rarely see non-German beer tourists.
This is unfortunate, as the quality and variety of beers in
the region are very good to excellent, and many of these places
offer delicious food. I recently visited the area with a couple
of German friends as my guides.
After having a few tasty beers at the Hövels Hausbrauerei
in Dortmund, a visit to Brauerei Stiefel-Jürgens in Beckum
was in order. The "Jürgens Boot" house brewery/restaurant
offers a pleasing pilsner and a fine altbier served in a classic
boot-shaped glass. There has been brewing on the site since
1500, and a Jürgens family member has brewed here since
1680. Perhaps this place is the origin of boot-shaped beer
mugs! The atmosphere was very warm and welcoming, and we were
served by members of the Jürgens family.
Located in Essen is the Dampfe Hausbrauerei, where the beers
are branded Borbeck. The pils, helles, dunkles and unfiltered
zwickelbier were all very enjoyable. The food was memorable
as well, including mussels that were every bit as good as
any I have had in Belgium, and for 10 euros! The Web site
We visited the Gütersloher Brauhaus in Gütersloh
on a Sunday for a round of beers. There was a stand set up
in the center of a street market that also sold these brews,
including the dunkles, pilsner and Oktoberfest. Strangely,
the Oktoberfest was darker than the dunkles. But all were
After sampling Gütersloher's beery libations, we headed
out by car for another day of beer touring. The first stop
was Brauerei-Gasthof Felsenkeller in Lauenau. This is another
hausbrauerei that, like Dampfe, is similar to American brewpubs
in style and layout. The very tasty beers here are called
Rupp-Bräu and include a dunkel, light, pilsner and two
doppelbocks. A helles doppelbock is brewed from May to October
and a dark doppelbock in the winter (7.5% abv). I had the
dark doppelbock, which was excellent.
The beers in this region are very good
to excellent, and many of these places offer delicious food.
Owner/Brewmaster Thomas Rupp showed me around his brewpub/restaurant,
which is a first-class operation. The brewhouse is gorgeous,
with highly polished copper brew-kettles. While we did not
eat here, other people clearly were enjoying their meals.
The Web site is ruppbraeu.de.
Brauhaus Ernst August, located in Hannover, is often called
Germany’s "most successful house brewery."
This brewpub is open 365 days a year! Only one beer is brewed
here: an unfiltered pilsner called Typisch Hanöversch
Pilsner Naturtrub. This brew did not disappoint. It is a classic
session beer of 4.8% abv, very drinkable yet quite flavorful.
The brauhaus obviously does very well with this brew, as it
is offered on tap, in growlers, in three different keg sizes
and in liter bottles!
Brauhaus Ernst August sells more beer than any other hausbrauerei
in Germany and offers live music and other types of entertainment
on a regular basis. The menu has some very appealing dishes,
and my friends have enjoyed meals here. The Web site is hanoeversch.de.
The last stop of the beer tour was a place I was told serves
some of the best food of any brewpub in Germany: Der Waldkater
in Rinteln. I savored turkey with mushrooms in a brown beer
sauce here. Yum! Der Waldkater ("The Forest Tom-Cat")
is located, appropriately, in a wooded area near a small mountain
range, 50 km from Hannover. The whole complex consists of
a brewery, restaurant and four-star hotel. The beers are branded
Hartinger, as that is the name of the property owner. Hartinger
Meisterbräu is brewed both in helles and dunkles form
and is unfiltered. Both brews were delicious and worthy of
the excellent meal. The Web site is waldkater.com.
A trip to this area of Germany is well worth it for the great
beer and tasty food!
Chuck Cook is a freelance writer living in
Richmond, Va. His passions are beer and travel, and he has
written for various beer publications. He can be reached via
e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.