MAHR’S BRÄU SET TO ROCK THE BERG
Erlangen has had – like Bamberg – an eventful beer history. As early as the 19th century, Erlangen had 18 breweries on city record. Another parallel to Bamberg is that in Erlangen people also enjoy hanging out on beer cellars…especially on the Entla’s Keller. Because as any seasoned Franconian beer drinker can tell you: during the festive seasons of spring and summer, one drinks “in” a “Biergarten” (beer garden), but “on” a “Bierkeller” (beer cellar). And Entla’s Keller is the oldest cellar at Erlangen’s famous Bergkirchweih (aka “The Berg”), renowned for its excellent location, delicious “Ochs am Spieß” (Ox on a Spit), and, most of all, its great atmosphere on the Berg served up with a cool “Maß” (1 liter beer mug).
In April, to kick off this year’s Bierkeller season, those mugs will be filled with beer from Bamberg’s Wunderburg, because starting in 2019, the oldest beer cellar on the Berg, will serve beer from one of the oldest traditional breweries in Bamberg: Mahr’s Bräu.
Head of Entla’s, Vincenz Schiller, has always followed in the footsteps of his father Fritz Engelhardt, and with this step he is making a statement for regionalism, quality and good taste on the Berg. He is someone who recognizes it when he sees it! Schiller has earned his experience as a master brewer and has developed a successful reputation with his own beer, which has been served at Entla’s Keller since 2015.
Entla’s Keller is the only cellar on the Erlanger Berg which is also open outside the yearly scheduled Bergkirchweih. They are open from April to the end of September, and serve up Franconian delicacies, which are soon to be paired with freshly drafted Mahr’s Bräu beer.
Entla’s Keller does not only distinguish itself by being open outside the festival season, they also maintain an extraordinary reputation amongst the 1.2 million visitors during the Erlangen Bergkirchweih. They are the only beer cellar that not only serves beer and takes care of hungry visitors at external food stands, but they also have the added ability of transforming their huge vaulted cellar into a large kitchen for serving hot and cold fare. Inside the spacious arched cellar they mature Emmental Swiss cheese from some of the finest alpine dairies in Allgäu. Each day they prepare an entire ox on a spit, and every hour freshly baked giant pretzels.
No great beerfest would be complete without a great feast of traditional cuisine. At Entla’s, hundreds of meals cross the tables every day, so it obviously requires a quality beer to pair well with these savory dishes and quench people’s thirst. Mahr’s renowned “Ungespundetes Kellerbier”, aka “U” for short, fits the bill like no other. It is a yeast-turbid, full-bodied brew with a smooth malty character that goes well with hearty dishes. Exclusively for “The Berg”, Doemensianer Brew Master and Head of the Mahr’s Bräu, Stephan Michel, worked together with Vincenz Schiller to reinterpret the Mahr’s Bräu “U”. The hop variety “Mandarina Bavaria” was added during the brewing process to give this exclusive Berg “U” version a slightly fruity note.
The world’s shortest beer order: “a U”. In Bamberg, all you need to say is, “ah” and “ooh” to order a cool Mahr “Ungespundetes Kellerbier”. Wouldn’t life be grand, if everything could be so simple? The Entla’s Keller also owes its name to this Franconian drive to keep things short and sweet. Back in the days of Fritz Engelhardt’s ancestors there was a “Stammtisch” (a regular’s table) called, “Endlich Allein” (Finally Alone). In Franconian dialect: “endli ahla”, which eventually evolved into “Entla” over the years and resulted in today’s Entla’s Keller.
Everyone is extremely eager with anticipation. Vincenz Schiller and Stephan Michel are looking forward to this collaboration and the “enjoyment on the Berg” they will offer guests in Erlangen with a Mahr’s Bräu beer.
“We are proud to be represented as a regional brewery on the Erlanger Berg.” says Michel. “Even though Mahr’s Bräu beer has long been recognized internationally, our home is Franconia and our roots run deep in Bamberg’s Wunderburg, Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia and Lower Franconia. This is our foundation, this is where we come from, and here is where we have flourished. We appreciate that and this is why we are especially pleased to be represented at the Entla’s Keller and at the Bergkirchweih.”
Even their two entrepreneurial fathers knew and appreciated each other, just as Stephan Michel and Vincenz Schiller do. They both see eye-to-eye on their understanding of quality and sustainability. After all, they grew up in the business, led by their fathers with great dedication and passion. From an early age, both men learned what it takes to develop a company through generations of hard work and determination.
The highest priorities, first and foremost, are tradition and quality. Two values which Vincenz Schiller has been successfully cultivating for years, and ideals which Stephan Michel stands for. Stephan has always been committed to quality in his brewery and the accompanying brewpub in Bamberg’s Wunderburg. “Good raw ingredients, good beer, good staff…otherwise it would not work.” says Michel. “You can never start skimping and saving on the things you have built your name around.” This is why Michel continually sets a proven standard and would never compromises his quality, even in times of rising prices for hops and malt. “Of course I could start buying cheaper raw goods when prices go up, but our customers buy our beer because of the way it tastes…and if I started using inferior ingredients, our beer would have an inferior quality, which I wouldn’t be able to stand behind, as I do today.”
Good quality speaks for itself. And it would be hard to find two that better complement each other. This is the best way to describe the collaboration between Mahr’s Bräu and Entla’s Keller. Experience it for yourself, this April, while sitting under the shade trees, enjoying authentic Franconian cuisine and chasing it down with a cold Mahr.
The Entla‘s Keller Erlangen, An den Kellern 5-7, D-91054 Erlangen, Tel. 09131-22100, firstname.lastname@example.org, www.entlaskeller.de
Open from April to the last Sunday of September 11:00 am – 11:00 pm and open at 9:00 am during Bergkirchweih.
When you visit the Berg, another sensation definitely worth seeing is the labyrinth of underground cellar caverns carving through the Erlanger Berg. A 21-kilometer (13-mile) network of corridors dug centuries ago, leading deep into the hills of the Berg and still linking the modern-day cellars. Earlier, due to the underground cellars maintaining a year-round temperature of 8° C, brewers used them primarily as a natural cooler. Today, the cellar vault behind the Entla’s Keller – especially during the Bergkirchweih – also serves as a kitchen, storage area and as a window into the past. Every Sunday from spring to September (for obvious reasons not during the Bergkirchweih), Fritz Engelhardt takes people who are thirsty for knowledge and hungry for history into the corridors of the Erlanger Bierberg. But don’t worry; he knows the vaulted underground maze like the back of his hand. Over the last 40 years as part of the “Kellerrat der Erlanger Unterwelt” (Cellar’s Council of the Erlangen Underworld) he has spent vast amounts of time maintaining their heritage with his own hands – sometimes even with a small excavator – in order to preserve and restore this extraordinary underground labyrinth.
More about the tours at www.entlaskeller.de
*Translated from original German text into English by UCCB International