It’s our last full week in Bamberg, and so we thought to become tourists again and accordingly visit the Brewery Museum, which was most excellent! The museums in Germany on the whole have been very impressive, and, apart from the very disappointing Bauhaus Museum in Weimar, they are all informative and well structured and detailed and keep your interest to such an extent that the hours pass by without you noticing them. The Brewery Museum in Bamberg explains how beer is made, has many old and modern beer making utensils and machines and beer carts and old photos and beer advertisements and brewery and beer logos. The history of beer in the region is very old and goes back to monks who brewed beer:
Some breweries in Bamberg have signs like the following outside their door:
But this is not the Star of David or the sign of a Jewish beer maker. Rather, it is an alchemical sign for the purity of the ingredients of beer.
Bamberg apparently has the highest percentage of beer breweries per capita in the world, and the beer here is quite cheap and extremely delicious (our apartment block has its very own beer vending machine from which we can purchase long necks of beer for a euro or less); though, alas, the selection of ales, which is a British speciality anyway, is sorely lacking in Germany. My favourite beer is most definitely the local speciality of Rauchbier, which is a sort of smoked beer, the most famous and delicious of which is made by Schlenkerla, which is in Bamberg:
The Rauchbier has a taste that some think is similar to smoked bacon or cigarettes, but that’s only because they associate the smokiness with other tastes they know that are also smoked. The beer has a taste of its own which is made by drying the malted barely over an open flame; this is how they traditionally made beer anyway, and so most beers tasted smokey until quite recently.
Other interesting objects in the Brewery Museum are old machines like this:
a selection of the grains used in beer making:
and beers by candlelight:
There are many more photos here (I went photo crazy in the museum!). And lastly, one must not forget St. Laurentius, the Patron Saint of Breweries: