The Schlenkerla in Bamberg is not a brewery, it is an institution. Everyone from Bamberg, and actually everyone else who has ever drunk beer, knows the Schlenkerla. And even in the farthest corners of Asia you can usually find a few bottles of the infamous smoked beer on the shelf. The Schlenkerla is cult and not without reason.
The Schlenkerla was first mentioned in a document under the name Eberlein Breu in 1387. Even then, brewing was taking place on the Upper Stephansberg and only a few years later it was also served on Dominikanerstraße. In 1866 the first member of the Graser and Trum families took over the brewery. The Schlenkerla is still owned by the family today, Matthias Trum is the venerable descendant of a whole series of Trums and Grasers, all of whom were Bräu vom Schlenkerla. The traditional brewery still brews as it used to. This means that the malt required for brewing is still dried over beech wood fires. This process used to be common practice because there were no other ways to dry the sprouted barley quickly and free of mold. Nowadays this is usually done with coal and oil powered heat exchangers. The special, characteristic taste of smoked beer is created precisely by the use of beech wood fire. The smoke is drawn into the malt grains during kilning and unites with them to create a special kind of flavor supplier. Schlenkerla is one of the last breweries that kilns over beech wood and it will probably stay that way. Chef Matthias Trum knows what makes his beer special and sticks to the old recipes and methods.
Schlenkerla - a lifestyle
In order to understand the hype surrounding Bamberg's smoked beer, you have to know what it's like in the inn of the long-established brewery. Even before you enter the restaurant, you will encounter countless connoisseurs of the dark beer. In front of the Schlenkerla there is a crowd of people drinking Märzen, regardless of the weather and at any time. Here people drink, chat and gossip. It is important to see and be seen: Bamberg's high society is here with tourists and students. It continues in the so-called Schwemme, the inner courtyard of the Schlenkerlas. Here, too, there is usually a crowd of people. People are queuing in front of the serving window, the old gentlemen sit at the table over their beer and in between others stand and chat. In the really cozy parlors it is more contemplative, even if the waitresses bring a lot of momentum into the booth. If you order a lemonade here, you get a crooked look and when there is a lot going on on Sundays, you can feel the Franconian charm of the ladies in particular.
The Schlenkerla is simply a total work of art with a traditional Franconian taste.