Exploring Lager’s Roots Around Bamberg

All About Beer Magazine - Volume 35, Issue 4
December 8, 2014 By Joe Stange

Sidebar: Where to stay in Bamberg 

Beer is just an amusing distraction to most of Bamberg’s visitors. The real attraction is the medieval and Baroque architecture of the city’s old town, or Altstadt. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site with more than 1,000 protected buildings and monuments. That means there is plenty to see betwixt brewery and beer garden. It also means there are lots of lodging options.

Formerly a brewery, the Alt-Ringlein is a hotel located across the street from Schlenkerla.

Want to stay in a brewery? A few past and present ones offer rooms. Kaiserdom has its own hotel ($73-$109) about 30 minutes’ walk northwest of Bamberg’s old town. Spezial has basic guest rooms ($48-$123), as do its neighbor Fässla ($59-$92) and the Bamberger Weissbierhaus ($42-$65), which was once the Maisels brewery and still has a popular tavern. Those latter three are all east of the river Regnitz, which for centuries has divided the town into its ecclesiastical and commercial halves, each nurturing its distinct personality.

You can also base yourself on the western, monkish side, with its thick cobblestones and thicker history. In the heart of the old town, the Alt-Ringlein is a former brewery turned quaintly appointed hotel ($71-$130 per night). Its half-timbered building offers one of the better pubs in the Altstadt, with lots of dark wood, antler chandeliers (a recurring motif in Bamberg), hearty food and a few of the city’s better beers.

The Alt-Ringlein makes an ideal starting point, tucked between two of Bamberg’s most popular attractions, each getting more than its share of reverent pilgrims. Out back and up the stone staircase is the Dom, the impressive Romanesque cathedral that has dominated the city’s skyline since the 13th century. Out front and across the street, meanwhile, is the Schlenkerla tavern, the official tap for what is surely the world’s best-known smoked beer.

Joe Stange
Joe Stange is a freelance journalist and co-author of Good Beer Guide Belgium (7th edition, with Tim Webb) and author of Around Brussels in 80 Beers (2nd edition, Spring 2015).