Brauerei Will Haus Nr. 19, 96187 Stadelhofen / Schederndorf. Tel: 09504 - 262 http://www.schederndorf.de/
Most breweries have one day off a week. Monday is the favourite choice, though some pick Sunday. Will, just to be awkward, it would seem, closes on Tuesday.
The more observant amongst you might remember that I'm up to Tuesday lunchtime. I was most upset we trolled up and the doors of the pub were locked tight. Bugger. Andy had been talking up the Will beer all week. Now it looked like we were going to miss out.
Andy's German, though somewhat eccentric is very effective. Good enough to persuade the brewer pour us a half litre each. I'm so pleased he did. It was the best beer of the trip. They only have one regular beer, a Dunkles, but what a beer. A huge depth of dark malt flavours intertwined with a firm bitterness. Complex but eminently drinkable. Basil, liquorice, roast and pepper are the flavours I noted down. It's a shame we could only have the one. I would have happily sat in the beer garden all afternoon sinking pint after pint.
The brewer, obviously warming to us, showed us around his brewery. It's tiny, as is the village in which it's located. Yet in total contrast to the other village breweries we visited it's brand spanking new and high-tech, all stainless steel and computer controls. But the fermenters are still open. Primary fermentation is at 9 C, after which there's 6 weeks lagering at 2 C. At periods of high demand in the summer, this may be cut back to just 5 weeks. Just two malts are used, pils malt and farb malz.
There were many positives from the visit. That we got to taste the beer at all. I was impressed that even such a tiny enterprise was committed enough to brewing to have bought a brand new plant. Most of all, the way the shiny kit was used had a great impact on me: to brew a deeply traditional beer, a big-hearted Dunkles.
Vierzehnheiligen is a heart-stoppingly beautiful barock church that was once part of a monastery. Before Napoleon turned up and put an end to the monking business in these parts. Around the back, rather incongrously, sits a perfect little tower brewery. On the ground floor there's a pub.
The pub is decorated in the slightly kitsch rustic style so beloved in Bavaria. This one looks like it was last renovated around 1957. Long pine tables and benches make for a sociable atmosphere as you (literally) rub elbows with your neighbours.
While we were there our neighbours were mostly pensioners. Andy must have been thrilled to see so many grannies in one place. I suppose after lunch they would be browsing the tacky religious nick-nack stalls next to the church. I got a few funny looks when I started taking photos, but, Franconia being a civilised place no-one shouted or threw any punches.
Trunk brews a range of beers, of which three are available on draught in the taproom: Vierzehnheiligen Nothelfer Urdunkel Export, Nothelfer Pils and Nothelfer Lagerbier. You won't have any trouble guessing my choice: Dunkles. I'm so predicatable. Bread, chicory, nuts, coffee and dates I could pick out. "Very different to the last beer [Will Dunkles] - sweeter, roastier and less hoppy - but still good."