Mahrs-Bräu Bamberg, Bockbieranstich

A toast to strong beer

Tapping of the Bock beer in Bamberg

A toast to strong beer

Tapping of the Bock beer in Bamberg

Up hill and down dale - it was a long journey for the beer barrels on the old carts. Slowly but steadily, the horses straining at the harness, the liquid gold was hauled a great distance over the Alps. The sun burned down - turning the beer sour. The medieval brewers realised the had to find a make their beer last longer. Legend has it that this is how the Bockbier was born, with its high gravity and alcohol content. Brewers have long celebrated the tapping of the first barrel of Starkbier, or strong beer - and even now, they herald the start of Bockbier season each autumn.

Ausschank Mahrs Bräu

The tapping of the Bockbier at Mahrs Bräu

Under the spreading chestnut trees in the brewery courtyard, a bevy of young guests is gathered together. A DJ is playing music in the background. The youngsters stand in small groups, dancing and enjoying their freshly tapped, malty, aromatic Bockbier out of earthenware tankards. It is autumn in Bamberg – and locals and visitors are celebrating the tapping of the Bamberg Bockbier at the long-established Mahrs brewery.

Many visitors to the Bockbieranstich are regular customers of the individual breweries.

In the brewery restaurant of Mahrs Bräu the atmosphere is rather more snug than outside in the courtyard. The room has a low ceiling and the light is dim; the dark wooden-panelled walls lend this typical Bavarian tavern its authentic charm. Guests here secured themselves a table for the Bockbieranstich well in advance and are tucking into various ham-based snacks with gusto. These specialities are only served here once a year - for the Bockbieranstich. “However, other typical Franconian snacks like Schäufele and Bierhaxn go brilliantly with the strong beer – basically any fatty food”, says Stephan Michel, owner of Mahrs Bräu.

Bockbieranstich in Bamberg
Mahrs Bräu, Bamberg

Bockbieranstich: typical of Bamberg

Mahrs Bräu is just one of ten Bamberg breweries that celebrate the local Bockbier (strong beer) every year – as do dozens of other regional breweries in the rest of the region. In most cases, the breweries have been in the same families for generations. Many of the old buildings have an equally long history and have been a staple feature of the city landscape for centuries. In many corners of the region the sweetish aroma of malt is in the air - a tell-tale sign of the brewing process.

'We have the greatest density of breweries in the world'

Bamberg is the stronghold of beer: “We have the greatest density of breweries in the world”, explains Stephan Michel. “We also have the largest per capita consumption of beer in Germany. If you are a fan of beer, Bamberg is a veritable paradise.” Nowadays, the Bockbieranstich celebration in Bamberg is a major community event, but there is nothing artificial about it, according to Stephan Michel. “The Bockbieranstich is not some great show, but rather as authentic as it ever was – just a little bit different.”


City temptation: Bamberg comes to life in the autumn

From labourer to lawyer – most of the locals spend the whole year looking forward to the autumn and the start of the strong beer season. Many Bamberg students celebrate the start of term at the Bockbier festival. Newcomers and guests relish the opportunity to get to know the city and its people. More than anything, however, the Bockbieranstich is a “local event”, explains Stephan Michel. “Many visitors to the Bockbieranstich are regular customers of the individual breweries.” A visit to the festival offers genuine insight into a popular Bamberg custom.


Mahrs Bräu

address: Wunderburg 10, 96050 Bamberg
Tel: +49 (0)951 91517 0
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