Freiburg, Germany – As a service to our readers, we visited three prominent local brewing establishments. The large brewery in town, Ganter supplies the beer on-tap in may of the local pubs. It also has a large Biergarten of its own. Here a broad cross-section of the local community come to drink delicious beer in an unpretentious atmosphere.
There are three beers on tap at Ganter: Pilsner, Hefeweizen and Urtrunk. We found the Pilsner to be a bit boring, without the real dry-hopped finish that we love. The Hefeweizen, the specialty here in southern Germany, is well constructed: being neither overly sweet or yeasty. We were pleasantly surprised by the Urtrunk. Roughly translated as “ancient drink”, this was an unfiltered ale with less hops than modern beers.
Tucked away in the cellar in the Altstadt, lies another of our favorite watering holes. Martin’s Bräu has been brewing delicious beer since the 1980s. Again they offer a Hefeweizen and a Pilsner. The Pilsner is a bit dryer than the Ganther, which is more to our liking. The Hefeweizen is one of the best in town.
We were intrigued by another item on the menu, Picon beer, a mixture of the Pilsner and an orange liquor. While I’m not one for the odd mixtures of syrups and sodas that get mixed with beer here in Germany, but we decided to try it. We were expecting something sweet, but the liquor was more an orange bitters. The resulting mixture was surprisingly good, though neither of us felt we would want to drink a whole one ourselves.
The final spot we tried was the Feierling Biergarten. This is a shady, leafy oasis in the heart of the old town. On hot Summer afternoons it is packed to capacity and has a wonderful festive atmosphere. While we loved the setting, we were less impressed with the beer. There was only one self-brewed beer on offer. This was unfiltered, and a bit too sweet for our tastes. Of all the beer we tried here in Freiburg, our least favorite.
This was by no means an exhaustive study of Freiburger Biergärten, but was all our livers could manage in our short stay here. We’ll have to come back.