The Kloster Brewery looks more modern than you might imagine and though the monks were surely brewing beer on site since the middle ages, the facility was majorly renovated in 1954 and completely automated in the early 90s. In fact, the monks ceased actual brewing in 1985 and now merely supervise laymen who do the actual “work” of producing the...more
The Rhön Valley is noted for hiking, cycling and in winter, skiing. Though I knew about this prior to my first visit, it the green rolling hills were nowhere in sight as a dense fog engulfed the valley. I could only imagine it and take refuge in the monastery's cozy restaurant with a beer. It was nice to get back on a gorgeous summer day and see...more
Kreuzberg has been associated with religion since pre-Christian days and a chapel of sorts dates back to the middle ages. The relatively “new” one has an altar from the late 1600s and though sedate compared to some of the more ornate Baroque Bavarian churches, it is nonetheless impressive and calming even when the rest of the monastery is besieged...more
Kloster Kruezberg has a simple indoor restaurant that serves typical Bavarian fare at very reasonable prices. It is a beer hall style place with long wooden benches and tables so you'll likely share your spot in heaven with other like-minded individuals. Don't expect a quiet romantic candle-lit meal.With all the great beers on offer, it is necessary to eat heartily and to be perfectly honest, German beer was made to be enjoyed with food, and no food goes better with it than their own sauce-oriented dishes. On our first trip there, we enjoyed the monks' very own Klosterkäse, a spicy white cheese that went perfectly with their house-made pretzels. We also had a plate of house-butchered cold meats which were also a great accompaniment to their range of beers. This was €5 in 2001 and from their website has increased to €6.40. If the size has remained the same, it is still excellent value and more than enough for two people.
Everything is self-service, which makes for an even more affordable outing as no tipping is expected. You basically go up to the self-service area, order and out comes your food very quickly. The same thing goes for the beer though that is from a separate window just off to the side of the food area.
We were quite happy that in 2009 the weather was much better than on our first visit and the biergarten was not only open but in very full swing. There is a nice small section within the courtyard of the monastery which was very atmospheric, and a larger more open one just outside the stone arched doorway.
Please note that while you can get a beer at 8 in the morning, you will not be able to get one after 8 at night. It is open for 12 hours, 8-8. One of the nice things about staying in the monastery is you can get a beer to go and bring it to your room!
Favorite Dish: On our recent visit in 2009, we wanted something hot so opted for the Schweinehaxen with Klößen (€7.90). This is a huge knuckle of pork with two huge dumplings. We found one of these was big enough for two people especially since we had shared a starter of their very tasty Obatzn, a delicious cheese spread which is again great with their home-made pretzels and great fodder for their beer.
The real bargain is their delectable beer and to be fair the real reason I was drawn to the Kloster in the first place. Their noted Dunkles Bier comes in a stone krug for €4.40 a liter. It is a fantastic blast of chocolatey malt but with a long bittersweet semi-dry finish. I tried their equally nice Weissbier and Pils on my first visit in 2003 but stayed with the Dunkles the whole time in 2009. There is evidently a special Christmas beer (Weinachts-Bock) only available that time of year so I guess a late December visit is in my future. :)
Getting to Kloster Kreuzberg is not the easiest thing to do unless you have a car which I luckily was able to do both times I went. It is not on a train line though it is serviced by bus. The problem is the bus goes from Bischofsheim in the Rhön Valley, in the northwest corner of Bavaria. If you are a beery pilgrim and basing yourself in Bamberg (and why not?), the journey takes about 2.5 hours. Getting to Schweinfurt by train is easy enough but from there, you might have to wait around a bit for the train to Bad Neustadt. Then you'll have to walk a short distance to the bus station and catch a local bus to Bischofsheim. You will then have to switch to yet another bus for the short trip up to the Kloster.
You will obviously have to stay overnight as you will not be able to count on local buses and various connections to get back to Bamberg in one day. After making such a convoluted trip to get to the Kloster it would be silly to leave so quickly anyway! If traveling by car, it is possible to day trip but the beer is dangerously drinkable so best to stay overnight anyway. It's about 90 minutes by car from Bamberg.
By the looks of all the bikes we saw when there, Kloster Kreuzberg is a major biking destination but mixing the monks' amazing beer with sprite to make a radler seems a bit sacrilegious to me. ;)
Rooms and food are very reasonable so stay a night or even two to properly enjoy not only the Kloster (and it's beer) but also the surrounding Rhön Valley, noted for walking/cycling amongst Germans.
The biergarten is a unique thing to Bavaria. They came into existence to store beer in the hot summer months and soon people visited them to drink beer that was better than the spoiled beer in the city. They often brought picnics as there was no food available. Even after brewery's realized they could make money by selling food, a law was instituted that said people were still allowed to bring their own things to eat. Kloster Kreuzberg's restaurant is quite inexpensive but you are still allowed to bring your own food into the biergarten or choose to grab something from the self-service eatery and bring it out to the very scenic outdoor seating area. It's certainly one of the more pleasant biergartens I have visited and I've been to many.
Luggage and bags:
If traveling by bus you might want to bring a backpack and even if driving, packing light is recommended as the parking area is not super close to the accommodation.
Clothing/Shoes/Weather Gear: Dress in layers as you are on a mountain and the weather is hence changeable. It actually got quite cool just after we arrived though we did have an hour in the sun before the temps dropped. Rain gear is good to carry too as this valley gets its fair share of wet weather as evidenced by the green rolling hills. Hiking boots recommended too.
Photo Equipment: A wide angle is great for bringing the foreground into your photos and great for food shots too.
Miscellaneous: I was happy to show my new family Kloster Kreuzberg. It's a place to share. I may not be German but I surely have some German in me. ;)
The Osterbug was a small castle that was built to defend Würzburg territory from the armies coming out of nearby Fulda. Little is known about the castle. Recent research suggests that the castle was home to 3-4 knights and their families. The castle was probably destroyed in 1270 when nearby Bischofsheim was plundered by the Swedes. The ruins were forgotten and first discovered again in 1897. The ruins are currently being renovated to preserve the crumbling walls.
To reach the Osterburg, follow the road from Kreuzberg to Bischofsheim. There is a marked parking lot near the Osterburg. From the parking lot, it's 800m up the hill to the ruins.
We headed back down the steps and readied ourselves for the drive to Saxony but as successful as the outing had been, I wanted to have one last beer. Even though it was still fairly early in the morning and in many countries this would not only be frowned upon but often not even be possible, this was Germany and Bavaria no less so well within the...more
After securing a table in the atmospheric old stone courtyard, I went in to get a round of beers, pretzels and a plate of Obatzn, a Bavarian cheese spread that I had introduced my German family to some years earlier. It was met with gusto and we all sank into a comfort zone we had not been able to reach in a long time. My wife was back with her...more
Franconia is rich with small breweries and one of my favorites is located in a monastery in the far north of the area. It is actually just as close to Saxony as Munich but with us flying into the Bavarian capital, we asked if her parents could pick us up somewhere in between and we would treat them to a little overnight excursion. Kloster...more