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Bavaria on Tap

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Missen isn’t exactly on most tourist maps – unless you’re driving from Lake Constance to Neuschwanstein Castle and accidentally spot it on your GPS. If you happen to be in Missen, however, Brauerei Schaffler is the place to be. It’s not hard to find – it’s the only brewery in the tiny village and, as luck would have it, it also offers great accommodation and food.

While the ground floor is your typical Bavarian bar and restaurant – cue wooden beams, gingham, and chairs adorned with cute cutout motifs – serving traditional local fare, the accommodations upstairs are a decidedly modern and boutique affair (think open-plan showers).

14348475912_bd00cfcf7a_m What’s more, the friendly owners are always open to visitors poking around in their brewery. Even if you’re not a beer drinker, there’s something for everyone. For alcoholics, they have whisky, as well as something called the ‘bierlikor’, which is basically fortified beer (30% alcohol) that tastes more like dessert wine. For drivers, there’s alcohol-free beer. Better yet, try the beer sampler. It’s amazing what German ingenuity can create with the same ingredient.

Brauerei Schaffler is a craft beer brewery, and it’s one of thousands of small-scale breweries that dot Bavaria. While the rest of the world is currently obsessed with the ‘craft’ beer movement, Bavaria’s been silently pioneering this trend for centuries.

Bavarian Connection
Most visitors to Bavaria would be familiar with 2 of its biggest attractions: the fairy-tale castle of Neuschwanstein, and the annual Oktoberfest. But beyond the 2 locations, there’s much to see and drink.

For a region that’s obsessed about beer, Bavaria naturally produces a lot of it. Even monasteries and nobles brew their own beer. Over 4,000 breweries of every size pump out 40 different versions of the golden nectar, ranging from strong Bavarian Bockbier to lighter Bavarian Hell, to the smoke-flavoured Rauchbier (a specialty of Bamberg). And no matter where you go, there’s the ubiquitous cloudy weissbier. There are also diluted-down versions – Radler (lager & lemonade) and Russ (weissbier & lemonade).

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If you’re planning a road trip, simply plot your desired sightseeing spots and you’ll find breweries along the way – don’t worry, they’ve got low-alcohol and non-alcoholic beers on tap just for drivers (even at highway rest stops). If you’re hiking the trails, you’ll inevitably come across small villages with brewhouses. At bigger towns, there might be a biergarten (beer garden), which as its name suggests, is where beer replaces coffee, tea, water or coke as the drink of choice.

Beer Trail
Here are some of Bavaria’s best places for beer lovers, each home to at least 50 craft breweries you can tap into:

Lower Bavaria: home to the oldest abbey brewery in the world – Weltenburg Monastery in Kelheim, established in the 11th century.

Upper Palatinate: home to the legendary Zoigl beer, an artisanal dark-ish beer.

Central Franconia:
home to no less than 200 breweries.

Lower Franconia: a wine region that’s also known for unique new flavours of craft beer.

Upper Franconia: the holy grail of innovative craft beer breweries, it’s also home to a variety of bock beers (like rauchbier, Kellerbier, etc)

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With non-alcoholic versions on offer, you’d have to be mad – like King Ludwig II – not to try their beers. Besides, did you know that the key ingredients in non-alcoholic beer also replenish lost electrolytes, vitamins and proteins, and are ideal for athletes?

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