“My trip with Shelton was so wonderful that I want to close the bar and take my staff on the same trip! As a beer bar owner I have done a lot of beer related traveling, this Franconian adventure was the perfect mix of education and fun. The countryside is gorgeous (out of a picture book) and I can’t think of anything more sublime than relaxing in a Franconian biergarten in the middle of the summer. They took us off the regular tourist grid and despite being well traveled in beer they were places I’m sure I would never have seen had I not been with the Sheltons.”
– Polly Watts (Avenue Pub)
JULY 22 – 30, 2020
The Shelton Brothers have made an annual July pilgrimage to this northernmost region of Bavaria since 1998. Why? To start with, Franconia (in German, “Franken”) is in many ways a living, breathing natural beer history museum, where there are far more breweries per square mile, and per capita, than any place on the planet.
But this golden bounty isn’t the result of a recent, trendy boom in “craft” brewing. The typical Franconian breweries, mostly family operations, mostly house-breweries, and most churning out a mere few thousand hectoliters per year, have existed in broadly the same form for hundreds of years. In some cases, over a thousand years.
A similar type of pastoral beer culture — in which village farmers, innkeepers, or monks served fresh house-made beer to local laborers or travelers exclusively on-premise — existed in much of the world for millennia. Sadly, the Industrial Revolution of the mid 19th century largely put an end to that way of life almost everywhere — but not in proud, stubborn, traditional, rural Franconia.
Even today it’s not merely a throwback culture, or an ironically hip return to the roots.
It’s just never been any different.
And the locals would ask ‘why should it be?’
The greatest technical advancement in brewing history, lagering, was perfected and is fiercely maintained here. The very best barley and the most perfect brewing water are still found here. The world’s most famous hops — the “Noble,” archetypal varieties — originated and maintain a strong presence here. The earliest known archaeological evidence of European brewing was unearthed here. Beer was and is a part of the social fabric in Franconia to a degree not seen anywhere else. Its brewers are traditionally-trained, highly skilled artisans, rather than rockstars, and to this day their task remains not to re-define beer, but to maintain its perfect balance, via the utilization of the best ingredients and time-honored, traditional methods.
But it’s all just talk until you’re sitting in that old, classic bierhalle, that hidden keller, or that remote biergarten, off the beaten path and quaffing that perfect stein of heavenly liquid gold with the Shelton Brothers.
Come with us to the Motherland Of Beer.
Why listen to us?
Here’s what other people are saying about Shelton Brothers Insider Tours.
Here’s a little of what you missed if you didn’t go on our last tour to Franconia.