Some weeks before my stay in Munich, I spent some time with Google, particularly Google Maps. I looked for Brauerei, I looked for Craft beer, I looked along the suburban railway lines to see what I could find.
One web site made me curious. Seefranzl Bräu in Arget. A very professional web site. Strong committment to quality raw materials. And what looked like a very small scale operation. Their beers are available for sale only from the brewery, and the shop is open for a few hours once a month or so.
The brewery is not listed at RateBeer or Beer Advocate, and is not to be found in any guidebooks.
Just the place for me to visit.
I filled in the form on their web page, telling them in my grammatically challenged written German that I would be interested in a visit, but that their next opening day did not fit me. I got an answer back right away, inviting me to come along on a Friday afternoon, which would be their final brewing session before the summer holidays.
The brewery is located in the village Arget, about half an hour by commuter train from Munich, then a few kilometers by bus or bike. I decided to make this a day out, so I rented a bike and set out in the sunny weather along fields of wheat and barley dotted with poppies. Flat and fertile farmland, but as I was going southwards, you have the majestetic backdrop of the Alps right in front of you.
Arget does not have many streets, and there was a clear sign outside the door, welcoming guests to Seefranzl Bräu. I rang the bell, and was warmly welcomed by Josef and Andreas. I am relieved that I, for once, am asked to dispense of the formalities of language, going straight to du instead of Sie.
The setup is simple. A small scale family operation. The impressive web pages are made by Josef’s daughter, who also happens to be Andreas’ girlfriend.
The brewery is on the ground floor in a beautifully restored farmhouse, in what used to be the stable. They brew about one batch a week, each batch is only 45 liters. They have been doing this for a year or so, the current batch is number 70.
They get their malt from Weyermann in Bamberg, who not only sell to small breweries is small quantities, but also give good advise on the phone.
With all the work involved, this is strictly a hobby. Financially, it does not make sense at all to run things on such a small scale. But the small scale does not mean that they don’t take this seriously when it comes to quality. Spotlessly clean, no cheating on the raw materials.
Josef rinses some glasses, and asks me if I’d like to try their beers. I’m not very difficult to convince.
- Their Hefeweissen is very true to type, with a soft mouth feel, yeast character and a clear banaa aroma without getting cloying.
- The newest beer is inspired by a pale ale. It is not a clone of the British or American pale ales, though. They use regional hops from Hallertau, meaning that you get a German twist. Full hop aroma, flowery and refreshing.
- The Dunkel is top fermented, using an Altbier malt, and is also liberally hopped. Nice Alt charater, well balanced. This has spent a year maturing in the bottle, but that has not made any harm whatsoever.
- Finally their Starkbier. Malty, but not too sweet. I am warned that this is too carbonated, it is from one of the first batches. That does not bother me, it has a fine character of caramel and nuts.
The yeast is harvested from each batch and reused, they have not bought any yeast since the first batch.
So far, they have sold all their beers directly through their front door. The local restaurants wants to sell their beers, too. But then they would have to scale up to meet demand.
I thankt the two brewers for their time and hospitality, happy that I made the trip. This is far more rewarding than a guided tour of a large brewery.
Contact details can be found on their web site, including information about their opening times.