German Brews in the Black Forest

My wife Lisa’s been talking this place up for years! So on a recent weekend to the Schwarzwald, we took a detour deeper into the forest to spend the afternoon in Alpirsbach.

Nestled in the middle of the Black Forest, Alpirsbach is a small town boasting a medieval monastery and local brewery.

Founded in 1818, Alpirsbacher Klosterbraü brews ales with water from the nearby waterfalls in the Black Forest. The brewery itself is adjacent to the monastery in Alpirsbach’s old town and they offer tours of their museum year round.

“Beer is good for you . . . says the doctor!”

Disclaimer: the tours are entirely in German.

But, I think its still worth the visit!

The museum ticket includes a tour, two (0.3L) beers, and various souvenirs (such as an earthenware mug or a shot glass). The staff of the Braüladen (Brewery Store) speak English and even offer an English language pamphlet for the museum.

As for the tour itself, it is informative. If you’re traveling with a German, they’ll be able to translate the highlights pretty easily. If you already have an idea how beer brewing works, you’ll be able to vaguely follow along for the tour. It’s worth it for the beer tasting at the end!

If you’ve been on brewery tours before, I would advise skipping the tour and grabbing some beers from the brewery shop. They offer a wide range of their beers and various souvenirs. They’ve also started a distillery for whiskey and schnapps.

At the end of the tour you get to try two beers (0.3L) from their wide selection.

Our Favorite Alpirsbacher Brews:

  • Spezial Klosterbier – this is their most popular beer, it’s light, slightly-hoppy (for German beer), and refreshing.
  • Kleiner Mönsch – The “little monk” is a surprisingly full-bodied Pilsner. It’s popular because it’s small size makes it easy to hold at an event.
  • Kraüter Radler — We could drink this all. summer. long. If you’re new to German beer, a Radler is a mix of half beer, half lemonade (think Schöfferhofer). Often this leads to overly sweet drinks, but this Kraüter Radler has a much better balance of herbs, sweetness, and malt. It’s also only 2.1% so you really could drink it all day.

Our travel recommendation: on a sunny afternoon, pop into the monastery and church to see the medieval grave plates, courtyard, and paintings. Then get a couple beers from the shop, stop at a bakery for some pretzels, and wander the old town. Maybe even hike up to the Burgbach waterfall, the highest free-falling waterfall in Germany!