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07-07-2012, 07:12
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I used to tell my kids that it was bad luck to walk past a pub that was open. For a while, I think they even believed me. Maybe that's because I so rarely walked past one. I'm a sucker for pubs. Or a total pisshead.

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The most direct route from Bamberg station to my hotel leads virtually past the door of Fässla (http://www.faessla.de/%20). I don't want any more bad luck. I've already had enough.

Fässla is filled with the usual early morning crowd: the retired, the injured, the unemployable and the odd bloke working shifts. I feel right at home, fitting into a couple of those categories. I kick off with a Lagerbier. Well I'm not going to drink Pils, am I? Not in Franconia. And that's the only other draught option.

I struggled to categorise Fässla Lagerbier, back in the days when I still bothered with that sort of thing. It's quite like a Helles, except for the colour. Polotmavy Lezak is probably the best fit. As the name suggests, not exactly a German style. Those few hundred metres from the station have given me a thirst (walking downstairs in the morning gives me a thirst). The first half of my half litre has disappeared before I even have time to think about sniffing it, swirling it around my gob and trying to pick some words to describe it.

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I go in search of the words while I drink the second half of the half. Caramel, mint, pepper - I've used all of those before, haven't I? Lovely hop character. That spicy, peppery thing that German hops do so well and I describe so poorly. Perfect for a pre-noon pissup. The whole half litre disappears in a few minutes. The waitress shows no surprise when I order a second. She probably thinks I'm a lightweight. I am, in every sense, compared to my drinking companions. I'd show you photos, but, you know, they aren't the sort of blokes you snap without asking.

Bags dumped, lunch is on the agenda. True to tradition, it's in Schlenkerla (http://www.schlenkerla.de/). For a couple of reasons. Firstly it's, er, tradition. Secondly, I fancy some scrunchy pork crackling goodness. Thirdly, there's that exquisite beer, darkly brooding, splashing happily as it escapes the wooden cask. Smoky bacon. That's all the description you're getting. You know what it tastes like. Why let my incompetence taint your memory?

I've read a lot about the gruffness of the waitresses ay Schlenkerla recently. Can't say I've ever noticed it, myself. Sure, they aren't as chatty and friendly as those in quiet country pubs. But this is a busy town pub. And they're busy girls. I'd rather they get on with their job and bring me beer pronto than they pretend I'm their long-lost friend. My waitress does exactly what I hoped. A new beer appears soon after the final drops have been sucked from the last. And the crackling porky goodness appears on cue.

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Have I mentioned how hot it is? I'm wearing shorts, it's so hot. The posh ones I bought in Target last year. Not had much chance to wear them since. Their black colour highlights the paleness of my legs. Pale except for those funny blue veiny things. A bit like Stilton cheese, my legs. Though not quite as appetising.

I've not been to Klosterbräu (http://www.klosterbraeu.de/)in a while, so I mosey over there. Have I mentioned how hot it is? It's so hot that I sit inside, where it's cooler. It's a charming room, if you like that folksy Bavarian type of thing. I do. Especially when the woodwork is stained with age and the seats have been sanded by the arses of generations. It's between meal shifts and the waitresses are eating, chatting and wrapping cutlery in serviettes. Very homely. As are the waitresses, motherly matrons in aprons, smiling and laughing. One of them brings me a Schwärzla.

Klosterbräu's beers are funny things. I adore their Maibock: a worty, spicy powerhouse. Braunbier (another unclassifiable) and Schwärzla are subtle symphonies in bottled form. Yet draught in the brewery they tap they almost always diappoint. Way too much CO2 blankets and muffles the delicate malt flavours, making them bland. It's the same story again today. I wish they'd get their act together.

When I visited Bamberg more than a decade ago, I wondered why there were so few tourists in such a beautiful town. Now I just wish most of them would fuck off. Groups of baffled oldies stumble behind their guides. They're from cruise ships. The ones that cruise Europe's rivers. I wonder if they know where they are? Well, other than in Germany. Though for all I know, they may think they're already in Austria.

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There are quite a few in Zum Sternla (http://www.sternla.de/). Tourists, I mean. But they're quiet and discrete. I'll let them live. For the first time in days my waitress is under 50. Almost under 20 this one, truth be told. Watching her walk to and fro is a nice distraction from the heat. Did I mention how hot it is? She brings me a half litre of Mahr's Ungespündet and throws in a smile for free. I almost forget the heat. Especially while the yeastily spicy Mahr's is gurgling down my throat. Emptying it is a good excuse to catch the waitress's eye again.

Not having been there in years I drop by Hofbräu (http://www.hofbraeu-bamberg.de/). Thoughts of eating evaporate when I see the prices. They're having a larf, aren't they? This isn't Tokyo. I'm sitting outside. It's a little cooler now, but I still require some internal cooling. I order a half litre Zirndorfer Hell. Actually 0.4l. Cheeky bastards. Pulling the small glass trick. I don't think I'll be coming back soon. Though the Zirndorfer is pretty good.

Zebedee time.

Brauerei Fässla (http://www.faessla.de/%20)
Obere Königsstraße 19-21,
96052 Bamberg.
Tel. 0951 - 26516
Fax: 0951 - 201989
Homepage: http://www.faessla.de/

Schlenkerla (http://www.schlenkerla.de/)
Dominikanerstrasse 6,
96049 Bamberg.
Tel. 0951 - 56060
Fax 0951 - 54019
Email: service@schlenkerla.de
Homepage: http://www.schlenkerla.de

Klosterbräu Bamberg (http://www.klosterbraeu.de/)
Obere Mühlbrücke 1-3,
96049 Bamberg.
Tel. 0951 - 57722
Fax 0951 - 59294
Email: mail@klosterbraeu.de
Homepage: http://www.klosterbraeu.de

Zum Sternla (http://www.sternla.de/)
Lange Straße 46,
96047 Bamberg.
Tel. 0951 - 28750
Fax 0951 - 2084340
Email: zumsternla@t-online.de

Gaststätte Hofbräu (http://www.hofbraeu-bamberg.de/)
Karolinenstraße 7,
96049 Bamberg.
Tel. 0951 - 53321
Fax: 0951 - 5190258
Email: hofbraeu.bamberg@t-online.de
Homepage: http://www:hofbraeu-bamberg.de

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