Der Zoiglstern am Giebel bedeutet, dass die Zoiglstube geöffnet ist
Zoigl? That’s not normal!

Landlord Reinhard Fütterer is helping to keep the 600 year-old tradition of community brewing alive. The bottom-fermented beer known as Zoigl made by this home brewer never loses its capacity to amaze – and is far from ordinary

Zoigl landlord Reinhard Fütterer

The Zoigl-Stube in the Schafferhof in Windischeschenbach is full to bursting. A satisfied Reinhard Fütterer casts his eye over his ancient bar room. Around 160 guests of all ages are laughing, toasting each otherand engaging in lively conversation. “Your Zoigl is brilliant again,” praises one guest. Reinhard Fütterer beams with delight. There couldn’t be a finer compliment.

Traditional beer with an exclusive brewing right

A Zoigl is an under-fermented, unfiltered and unpasteurised beer. For around 600 years it has traditionally been produced in communal brewhouses. These are brewhouses set up by the community, most of which date back to between the 14th and 16th centuries. There used to be a communal brewhouse in 75 communities in Northern Bavaria.

Nowadays five communities still nurture the tradition of community brewing: Eslarn, Falkenberg, Mitterteich, Neuhaus and Windischeschenbach.

Seit 1415 besitzt der Schafferhof in Windischeschenbach das Zoiglbraurecht

Reinhard Fütterer is not just a Zoigl landlord but also a Zoigl brewer – a very special title. Only those who own the brewing rightare allowed to brew this traditional beer in a communal brewhouse.

In turn, the brewing right is historically linked to a specific property. Reinhard Fütterer acquired the right when he took over the Schafferhof in 1999. The property has owned the brewing right since 1415.

Zoigl: Not just beer, but emotion

Six weeks ago Reinhard Fütterer brewed a Zoigl in the communal brewhouseand now he wants to test the quality. He stands in the dim cellar of his Schafferhof in Windischeschenbach. He holds a glass in his hand. Carefully he draws the Zoigl beer from the 1,000 litre tank. He’s excited. After all, no two Zoigls ever taste the same. If it hasn’t worked, he has wasted around 24 hours of work.

Reinhard Fütterer examines the amber-coloured Zoigl and lifts the glass to his nose. He smells it and is reassured: it smells good. He brings the glass to his lips and tastes the first drop. The Zoigl brewer is visibly relieved: it tastes good too. “It has a lovely, hoppy note, which I like,” he explains.

Nur wer das Braurecht besitzt, darf Zoiglbier in einem Kommunbrauhaus brauen

The Zoigl culture is an Intangible Cultural Heritage of Bavaria

Once a month the professional chimney sweep becomes a Zoigl landlord. “I do it because it’s great fun,” he says. He doesn’t earn much money from it. Yet he can’t imagine ever giving it up. For the Zoigl landlord, the Zoigl is far more than just a beer. “Its an emotion,” he says.

In addition to the flavour, he loves the experience that goes with it. “If you really want to feel and experience Zoigl, you have to go to a Zoigl-Stube. There’s always a distinctive atmosphere,” says an enthusiastic Reinhard Fütterer. “There’s no longer any difference in status, age differences are forgotten and everybody talks to everybody else.” The tradition of the Zoigl is close to Reinhard Fütterers heart.

In March 2018 the Zoigl culture was awarded the distinction “intangible cultural heritage of Bavaria“. “For Northern Bavaria the Zoigl is an important USP,” explains Reinhard Fütterer proudly.

Der Zoiglstern besteht aus zwei ineinandergeschobenen gleichseitigen Dreiecken

The Zoigl calendar shows which Zoigl-Stube is open

Once a month Reinhard Fütterer opens his Zoigl-Stube for a long weekend and serves freshly tapped Zoigl beer from the storage tank. To find out which Zoigl-Stube is open at any one time, visitors can look at the Zoigl calendar at www.zoiglbier.de. In addition, the Zoigl star, the six-pointed guild sign of the brewer, shows which landlord is open for business. The star hangs on the gable of the house.

Blick auf Burg Falkenberg an der Waldnaab im Naturpark Steinwald

... from Reinhard

Wanderung nach Falkenberg
I recommend my guests to walk from Neuhaus to Falkenberg. This is a hike of about two and a half hours. You walk partly through the forest and along the small river Tirschenreuther Waldnaab. This path is wonderful, I enjoy the nature and the peace and quiet there. After about one and a half hours you pass the log cabin. It is open every day except Mondays from 9 to 18 o’clock. There you can get some refreshment. When you arrive in Falkenberg you have the choice between two Zoigl-Stuben: the Kramer-Wolf and the Schwoazhansl.
zoigl-kramer-wolf.de (only in German)
schwoazhansl-zoigl.de (only in German)

„Waldhaus im Steinwald“
This is a little insider tip. Almost nobody knows the rustic stone house. But in winter it is only open on Saturday, Sunday and holidays. In summer also on Friday. The location is beautiful: in the middle of the forest. Inside it is very comfortably furnished. And the best thing is: even there you can find Zoigl!
waldhaus-steinwald.de (only in German)

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