Fall Bock Beer Tour of Bamberg

Eight days, seven nights. | ONe DEPARTURE A YEAR
• October 18-25, 2017

Fall Bock Tours of Bamberg
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The Germans call it Bockbierzeit, loosely translated to bock beer time.  Each fall the breweries of this region release their delicious bock beers for the winter.  These bocks are may be different than bocks you’ve had in the past.  They have a wide range of flavors and can be malty, sweet, deceptively strong and even pale in color. It makes beer hunting even more fun because you never know what is around the corner.  You just have to be ready to lock ‘n load and consume. 

The breweries of Schlenkerla and Spezial even brew smoked bocks.  Fässla makes one of the strongest bocks called Bambergator, that weighs in at  8% abv.  Most bocks range between 6.5% to 7.5% abv.

 The breweries release their bocks October through late November, with special celebrations called Bockbieranstich, meaning presentation of the bock beer.  Schlenkerla traditionally begins the bock season with their Ur-bock, then the other breweries follow suit in the following weeks, with Greifenklau finishing the season.

There are, of course, more than just bock beers available during this time.  The traditional rauchbiers, keller beers, unfiltered lagers, country beers, etc., are all out there for your drinking pleasure.

Temperatures start to drop this time of year and can vary from year to year.  In the fall of 2010, it was in the 50s and low 60s during the day and as cool as high 30s at night.  It can also surprise you and get quit warm in the direct sun on some days and you find yourself in a t-shirt.  But, unfortunately, most of the beer gardens, or beer kellers as they are oddly called in Bamberg are closed for the season.  (During the Spring Beer Garden Tour of Bamberg is the time to really experience them.)  It’s still plenty warm enough in October, though, to ride a bike in a pair of blue jeans and wearing gloves.

They call beer gardens beer kellers because many of these forested hillside beer gardens traditionally were (and are) on top the underground cellars where they lagered the beer.  Sometimes people will refer to going “on” the beer keller, rather than “to” the beer keller, which when you know the back story makes sense.

This itinerary serves as only a rough guide of where we will go each day.  I reserve the right to switch things around to take advantage of good weather to be outside, avoid known rain days, and visit special beer events as they may arise such as bock beer release events.

photos from tours

“Bock beer season is something quite special. For one, you get a much better appreciation of the value of bock as a beer style, just from knowing all the nuances and different interpretations that are out there. And another, because you get a chance to see the other part of Franconian beer culture, away from the biergartens and kellers. Franconia in the fall should find its way to every beer lovers list, sooner or later.”
— Beer Writer Josh Oakes

Tours Include

  • Hotel
  • Ground transportation
  • Bicycyle rental
  • Brewery visits
  • River boat tour in Bamberg.
  • All breakfasts, two lunches and three dinners.
  • Deluxe BBM! luggage tags.
  • One souvenir BBM! soft-sided cooler per household.
  • Name badges
  • Beer is included during group meals (aka company meals) and brewery tours, and on taproom visits included on the itinerary, but not informal pub crawls or café visits.  
  • The begins and ends at our hotel in Bamberg.

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Not Included

  • Airfare
  • Airport transfers.
  • Some meals and beer on your own. Free-time sightseeing. Our guides are available to provide suggestions.
  • Fine Print: You are responsible for the costs of your free-time sightseeing.  Be sure to read our Terms & Conditions Agreement for important details.
  • Gratuities, at your discretion, for brewery tour guides and coach drivers.

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Tour Cost

Deadline to sign up is one month before departure. 

$1795/per person + Air, $225 single supplement*
* Prices based on double room occupancy.  If you are a solo traveler and would like to have a private room all to yourself there is a single supplement fee of $225 in addition to the base price of $1795 per person. We can also work with you to pair you with other single travelers to avoid the single supplement. Better yet, recruit a friend to come, too! Unless, of course, like Rick Steves says, you prefer to “snore alone.”

We require a minimum number of guests for each tour to be guaranteed to go, so it’s important to sign up ASAP, as opposed to waiting until the deadline. Also, tours can fill rapidly and suddenly, so signing up early ensures that you will go and not be disappointed.

Please share  BBM! tours with fellow Belgian beer enthusiasts, your friends in general, and encourage them to join the fun!  

map of overnight locations

SOME OF THE BREWERIES AND ATTRACTIONS WE HAVE VISITED ON THIS TOUR IN THE PAST:

 

  • Schlenkerla Brewery
  • Fässla Brewery
  • Spezial Brewery
  • Klosterbräu Brewery
  • Kaiserdom Brewery
  • Ambrausianum Brewery
  • Zehender Brewery
  • Wagner Brewery
  • Hummel Brewery
  • Keesmann Brewery
  • Mahr's Brewery
  • Graifenklau Brewery & Keller
  • Sonne Brewery
  • Kraus Brewery
  • Franconian Brewery Museum
  • Modlareuth, aka, "Little Berlin."


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Fall Bock Beer Tour of Bamberg Itinerary

Wednesday •  Welcome to the beer city of Bamberg!   This afternoon the tour starts as we check into our hotel and have a meet-and-greet and beer at the nearby Fässla Brewery.Tonight, we do a short walking tour of Bamberg, have a welcome beer behind the famous green door of the Schlenkerla Brewery, then our welcome company dinner at the nearby and charming Kachelofen Restaurant in the Altstadt (Old Town) of Bamberg.  From there, we will walk to Spezial Brewery, across from Fässla, for a nightcap before we call it a night.  Pace yourself, this is only day one! (Dinner)

Thursday • Bamberg   We rent bikes in morning, then have them most week to explore the city as a group and on your own!  Bamberg is a very bike-friendly city with bike paths and extremely courteous motorists. Bike to Kaiserdom and Ambrausianum Breweries in Bamberg. Bike to company lunch and beers at Klosterbräu Brewery in Bamberg. Boat cruise on the picturesque Regnitz River (weather permitting).  Yes, there is beer on board. Bus ride to Munchsambach and the Zehender Brewery. Dinner on own. Late night at Café Abseits. (Breakfast & lunch)

Friday Tour of the famous Weyermann Malting.  See how they produce this magic malt used by discerning brewers around the globe and from where it comes.  We will also sample beers here as part of the tour and education process on malt. Bus ride to Merkendorf and breweries of Wagner & Hummel. Bike ride to the breweries of Keeseman & Mahrs Bräu in Bamberg and have a company dinner at Mahrs Bräu. Late night at Café Abseits. (Breakfast & dinner)

Saturday Bike ride to the nearby village of Weiher (11.5 km) and visit the Kündmuller Brewery, farm and beer garden (Weiher Beers) with a visit to Sonne Brewery in Bischberg on the way.  This is our longest bike ride of the tour. Bus ride up the hill to the Greifenklau Brewery & Beer Garden overlooking Bamberg. On your own for dinner.  I recommend Italian or some tapas as a change from all the German food we will be enjoying. (Breakfast)

Sunday Visit and tour the Franconian Brewery Museum on St. Michael’s Hill and adjacent to St. Michael’s Cathedral. Visits to the Gügle church and the mountain-top Geichburg Castle, where we will have lunch and drink beer in the beer garden of the Castle, with its epic views of the Franconian countryside and fall colors.  It’s like drinking beer in a post card.  Drive to village of Hirschaid and the Kraus Brewery. Dinner on your own. (Breakfast & lunch)

Monday Side trip to Modlareuth, aka, “Little Berlin.”  Remnants of the Iron Curtain and its checkpoints are historically preserved in this little town a little more than an hour from Bamberg.  We’ll get a feel of what it must have been like before the fall of the Curtain in 1989.  Along the way we will serendipitously discover and enjoy some dozens of breweries along the way. Dinner on your own. (Breakfast & lunch)

Tuesday Side trip to the village of Forcheim, home of the famous Annafest Beer Festival held each July and the Kellerwald, comprised of about 24 beer gardens.  We will plan to visit the breweries of Greif, Hebendanz, Neder and Eichhorn.  We will likely be past beer garden season here for most of them, but at least will get to see where it all takes place and maybe whet your appetite for the Spring Beer Garden Tour of Bamberg. Tonight we have our farewell company dinner at, where else?--Schlenkerla Brewery, the epicenter of this beer region and the most renowned brewery in Bamberg, famous for its Rauchbier. (Breakfast & dinner)

Wednesday Breakfast concludes our grand tour and we say our goodbyes to our new beer friends and figure out how to carefully pack the dozens of bottles of fine German beer you have somehow amassed.  Rail transportation is available to Nuremberg (1 hour) and Frankfurt (2 ½ hours) airports for those heading home and those continuing on your own in Europe. (Breakfast)

* Itinerary subject to change.

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