It's a good job the bins are brown
Thursday started very well, what with waking up in a fucking brewery 'n that. They throw in breakfast, in a hard to find frühstuck zimmer tucked out beyond the outdoor bit where some fellas were already on their morning beers. Good work, Germany.
Breakfast consisted of a difficult "tea or coffee?" conversation followed by mountains of meat and cheese. Like a round of the Unbelievable Truth, Geoff tried hard to convince me and Jon that cheese cures hangovers because calcium receptors and some other shit. I can't say that it really worked. Jon totally flaked out after pushing cheese around the plate a bit, and Mike took his place. Then time for a shower and some blog writing before reconvening at 1045.
There's barely any wifi in Bamberg. I don't mean free wifi or even pay wifi, I mean wifi at all. No networks found, virtually anywhere, and since I couldn't tether either I got a bit angry about my inability to post the blog. Mind you, I hadn't even finished writing it by the time we left so I shoved everything in a bag and we set off.
Jon was late down, still feeling delicate, so we three spent a few minutes outside reading the sign explaining how the road on which we were stood used to have 22 breweries but now sadly only has two. On the flip side was a roll call of all breweries in Bamberg past and present, with the existing 9 highlighted. This included our first stop of the day, Keesmann.
We're meant to be at the Mahrs brewery across the street at around midday, but meh. We get another 4 beers in, this time one of each of the brews they make. An old guy comes into the brewery with a crate of empties and then asks Geoff to help him to the car with his new crate of full bottles. We share each different brew by drinking a quarter of a pint each and then rotating them around, and everyone agrees the dark beer is fantastic and the best.
Mahrs is very busy when we finally get there and someone buys a bunch of beer, 4 of the same flavour. Jon, Geoff and Mike all agree that it's the greatest beer they've had all week and oh wow it's fantastic etc; I take a sip and go, meh. It's OK. I don't hate it. But it's not special. We wonder where Steffen is and spot his photo on the wall in several places, because it seems we accidentally made friends with not just some employee but the head brewer. And then he appears, busy on the phone but shakes all our hands.
Since we're now 4 beers in and it's gone 2pm we figure maybe it's time for solids. In the bleak weather we take the not-quite-picturesque route parallel wth the river but on the opposite pavement, which pleases me no end. Conversation on this leg becomes pretty one dimensional, revolving entirely around Mike's overwhelming desperation for a shit. We cross the bridge onto the island and main town centre and Geoff directs us past numerous closed restaurants, which amuses three of us no end. Laughter turns to tears upon Jon's use of the term "shitzkreig", a happening which is narrowly averted because in the nick of time we do find a boozer.
It's called Zum Sternla and they sell beers from most of Bamberg's breweries, including one which doesn't have a tap room so obviously we go for that. It's a Bohemian Dunkel, lovely, and comes with bread and black pudding. Nom. Numerous sausages are ordered and we attempt to decipher some of the Franconian writing on the newspaper-style menu. Franconian looks a bit like Finnish.
It properly hit the spot, and as with everything, was daft cheap. We paid like 30 quid between us for great beer and plates of wonderful food, including tip. And now it's very dark and time to walk back for a nightcap in Spezial. Geoff and I bluff that we know the right way to walk, and Mike delights in proving our confidence to be misplaced. The trot back involves a lot of whistling, for reasons I can no longer recall. No shops are open at all. Nowhere to get a soft drink at all. Bamberg has priorities largely right, but, come on now. Play fair.