As I said yesterday we planned to move to Bayreuth to go to the largest beer museum in the world. It was an easy 50km drive in light rain, and we have parked up at the first free aire since we arrived in Germany.
After lazing around for a while waiting for the rain to stop, we headed into town to the museum. The museum is only available by tour twice a day and we wanted to make sure we had a spot so after checking in we were told to come back in a couple of hours.
We headed over to the main street of Bayreuth and found a really nice and wide pedestrian zone. We enjoyed checking out the stores and the people. It was a little quiet since the weather was still unsettled and unseasonably cold. We stopped by the opera house which is a world heritage site to check on tour times as it is also only accessible on tours.
After a quick lunch at a Donner Kebab place we headed over to the Maisel World of Beer for our tour. When we first checked in they told us the tour was in German but they would give us an English script so we could follow along. However, it turns out we were the only ones on the tour, so the guide said she would do the tour in English if we did not mind her making a few mistakes as she had never done the tour in English before. It turned out to be a great tour. When Maisel replaced their old factory with a more modern one, they just left all of the equipment in place in the old building. We were able to see really cool beer making equipment purchased between 1890 and 1910 still in working order.
The tour much like yesterday included every part of the beer process from grain to shipping. The bonus was it was done in English, our guide was a college student from the local University and she did quite well only stumbling on a couple of technical terms. They also had an interesting display of beer glasses, steins, and signs from over the last 100 years.
They still produce their traditional Maisel Weiss which is the beer that made them famous. But the 4th generation of brewers wanted to expand the horizons a bit so they have a second company called Maisel and Friends which while keeping with the purity laws produces typical micro brews including ales, porters, and IPA’s. The brewery itself looks very much like an upscale west coast brewery. It would fit in very well in San Diego or Portland. It was interesting to see the German take on a microbrewery.
We ended a day with a tour of the Margravial Opera House which was built from 1744 to 1748. This time there were plenty of Germans on the tour, so we were relying on our pamphlet to understand what we were seeing.
It was built by Frederick the Greats daughter to celebrate the marriage of her daughter Wilhelmine to the Duke of Wurtemberg. Unfortunately the marriage did not work out very well, and the couple were effectively separated before the Opera House was paid for.
We were completely lost during the extensive talk about the building. But it is indeed an impressive piece of architecture, and I can see why it works as an opera house even if it is a little over the top.
Bayreuth turned out to be a very nice city and the easiest we have walked around in Germany, with a great pedestrian zone, and extensive walking and biking trails. Though we were in a big city we were mostly isolated from the cars which we enjoyed.