Ultimate Franconia Beer Guide: 14 Unique Beers To Try In Southern Germany

Franconian Beer In Beer Mug
In Germany, most beers are still brewed in accordance with the Beer Purity Law of 1516. 

Around the world, Germany is known for being a beer nation with many unique breweries, their own beer styles, and delicious, hearty food to go along. Beer has always been a significant part of German culture and tradition. Speaking of which, many German brewers still make beer following the Reinheitsgebot (Beer Purity Law) of 1516, which states that beer may only be made with water, barley, and hops.

In total, there are approximately 1300 breweries in Germany producing over 5000 brands of beer. Almost half of all German breweries are in Bavaria. The highest density of breweries is found in Franconia, a region that includes the Bavarian provinces of Upper, Middle, and Lower Franconia.

But what is so unique about this region? Well, first of all, Franconia is still very traditional. With numerous small villages and medieval towns, the area offers excellent locations where local culture is still prevalent in everyday life.

>> See also: 9 Incredible Ways To Explore Franconian Switzerland

While in most parts of Germany as well as in other European countries like Belgium, Poland or France, you will mostly find pilsner beer, the Franconia region is home to unique craft beers that you cannot find anywhere else in the world.

What makes Franconian beer exceptional is the way it is brewed, which is entirely different to run-of-the-mill beers like Heineken or Budweiser. In fact, try one of the Franconian cellar beers or blonde beers, and you never want to drink anything else again. 🙂

Different Beer Characteristics
There are several beer styles available in southern Germany that you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Different Styles & Characteristics

Let´s start this guide with few essential characteristics about beers you find in Franconia. While you may see some of those beer types all over Bavaria, some are very distinct and exclusively offered in Franconia.

Wheat Beer

Wheat beer is a famous German beer in summer, light to medium bodied, and sometimes cloudy in appearance. It is brewed with a large proportion of wheat relative to the amount of malted barley making the taste crisp, highly effervescent, and with an occasional fruity flavor.

ABV: 5% – 6%

Pilsner Beer

Pilsner beer is still the most popular style of German beer. Its color is typically pale gold. The taste is characterized by a medium hop flavor, a slight note of maltiness and a hoppy bite. Usually, the German pilsner beer is drier and more bitter than the ones from other European countries.

ABV: 4% – 6%

Blonde Beer

Blonde Beer (German: Helles) is a traditional German light lager beer, produced mostly in the Munich area and Franconia. The beer is bright gold colored and a cool, refreshing, everyday beer. It is maltier and significantly less bitter than a traditional pilsner, mildly hopped, and usually doesn´t have a lingering aftertaste.

ABV: 4% – 6%

Dark Beer

The Franconian dark beer (German: Dunkles) is a refreshing, full-bodied lager with a dark copper color. Typically, it is malty with a tiny hint of hops and has a rich, roasted flavor with textures of chocolate or bread as well as a pleasant, but not too sweet finish.

ABV: 4,5% – 5%

Black Beer

The black beer is a dark brown lager and can be as black as Guinness. However, the taste is completely different from what you might imagine. This type of beer gets its dark appearance from long-roasted malts, which bring a moderate bitterness to the brew. It is surprisingly light in flavor, crisp, slightly sweet, and contains notes of chocolate.

ABV: 4% – 6%.

Unfiltered Beer

The name unfiltered beer aka. “Zwickel Bier” or “cellar beer” (German: Kellerbier) refers to its cool lagering temperatures. This very traditional brew style goes back to medieval times and can still be found in numerous breweries in Franconia. Cellar beer is typically neither clarified nor pasteurized and has a distinctly cloudy dark amber color. It can be either top-or bottom-fermented and contains a lot of its original brewing yeast. The beer features a dominant malt flavor and a clear, balanced hop bitterness.

ABV: 4,5% – 5,5%

14 Unique Beers To Try In Southern Germany

Franconian Beers
Unique bottle labels and different bottle styles may help you distinguish Franconian beers.


Category: Smoked Beer

This beer has a chestnut brown color and a very unique beer aroma. Its taste is pretty dry and has distinctive smoky flavor due to the smoked malt. Schlenkerla is one of the most traditional breweries in the world having brewed smoked beer since 1405.

ABV: 5,1 %

Interested in learning about the art of brewing traditional smoked beers? Take a look at this in-depth guide about historical brewing techniques of smoked beer.

Where can you find this beer?

This famous beer is being brewed in Germany’s beer capital Bamberg and may also be found in pubs and shops in the area around as well as cities like Nuremberg or Bayreuth.


Category: Unfiltered Beer

This full-bodied cellar beer has a naturally hazy body and a very smooth taste. It is one of my personal favorites and a refreshing everyday beer. The brewery also produces a pretty good blonde beer “Zirndorfer Landbier” that’s worth a try.

ABV: 4,9 %

Where can you find this beer?

Brewed in Zirndorf, a town very close to Nuremberg, you can find this beer in many shops and bars in and around Nuremberg and Furth.

Zirndorfer Kellerbier Landbier
Zirndorfer Kellerbier & Landbier


Category: Unfiltered Beer

This full-bodied cellar beer also known as „Huppi“ represents a real classic among Franconian beers. It is clearly-filtered and has a bright corn yellow color. With a smooth taste, a subtle bitterness, and a slight toffee aroma, this beer is a perfect brew to enjoy during mild summer nights.

ABV: 5,0 %

Where can you find this beer?

The Grasser brewery, which produces Huppendorfer beer, is located in Huppendorf near Königsfeld in the northern part of Franconian Switzerland. It’s easy to get here from Bamberg, which is only 25 km away. Alternatively, you may buy this beer in some shops in Bamberg, Nuremberg, and Bayreuth.


Category: Dark Beer

This full-bodied dark beer has a light brown color and is very smooth in taste. It is characterized by a slight malt aroma and a low bitterness. This beer is one of my personal favorites and a true TopTip in the Franconian Switzerland region.

Where can you find this beer?

Lindenbräu brewery is located in Gräfenberg, a small town in the Franconian Switzerland Nature Park. It is one of five breweries along the famous beer trail “5-Seidla-Steig” from Weissenohe to Gräfenberg. You may also buy this beer in a handful of shops in Nuremberg, though the most authentic beer tasting experience would definitely be while hiking on the 5-Seidla-Steig.

Lindenbräu Vollbier
Lindenbräu Vollbier


Category: Red Beer

This traditional and unique brew has a copper colored body. Special malt and particularly aromatic hops give this beer a mild hop flavor combined with a somewhat spicy aroma. This brewery also brews both a dark and blonde beer worth a try.

ABV: 5,2 %

Where can you find this beer?

This beer is being brewed in the traditional Altstadthof brewery just below Nuremberg’s imperial castle in the middle of Old Town. A quick beer tasting session can easily be fit in a walking tour through the city center of Nuremberg.


Category: Blonde Beer

This full-bodied beer has been brewed at the monastery for centuries and is beyond doubt one of the most traditional beers in the region. With its beautiful amber color, low bitterness and pleasant aftertaste, this brew is both a perfect refreshment in summer and excellent component for hearty German meals. The brewery also produces other beers, including a very traditional and delicious dark beer called Bonifatius Dunkel.

ABV: 5,0 %

Where can you find this beer?

The Klosterbrauerei (monastery brewery) of Weissenohe is located in Weissenohe, a small village close to Gräfenberg in the Franconian Switzerland Nature Park. You can taste their beers while hiking on the beer trail 5-Seidla-Steig, which actually starts at the Weissenohe train station. Otherwise, you may find some of their beers in beverage stores in Nuremberg.

Klosterbrauerei Weissenohe
Weissenoher Klosterbrauerei Altfränkisches Klosterbier


Category: Dark Beer

This dark beer has a chestnut-colored body. Its smooth taste comes from naturally dark malt and a low hop bitterness.

ABV: 4,9 %

Where can you find this beer?

The Wiethaler brewery is located about 23 km north of Nuremberg and only 3 km from Eckental. However, you can also find this beer in many beverage shops and pubs in and around Nuremberg.


Category: Blonde Beer

The blonde beer of Kanone brewery is a decent brew with a beautiful golden color. It is somewhat fine-aromatic with a subtle hoppy flavor. This refreshing beer goes down well indeed.

ABV: 5,1 %

Where can you find this beer?

The brewery is located around 30 km north-east of Nuremberg. However, numerous pubs and beverage stores in Nuremberg also offer Kanone beer.

Kanone Hell
Kanone Hell


Category: Unfiltered Beer

This clear copper-colored cellar beer certainly stands out because of its immediate smoky smell. It contains notes of caramel and has a strong, aromatic taste. Despite the distinct toasted flavor, this rustic beer is pleasant and refreshing.

ABV: 5,6 %

Where can you find this beer?

The brewery is situated in Lauf an der Pegnitz, a small town about 20 km from Nuremberg. You can get a train to Lauf from Nuremberg’s central station every 20 minutes. Otherwise, you may find their beer in some beverage shops in and around Nuremberg.


Category: Dark Beer

This traditional Franconian beer has a dark brown color. With coffeeish and chocolate-like flavors as well as a subtle sweetness combined with a pleasant bitterness, the taste of this brew is pretty unique. The aftertaste is a little bitter and lingering. If you get a chance, make sure you also taste the brewery’s blonde beer Held-Bräu Hell.

ABV: 5,3 %

Where can you find this beer?

The brewery is located in the northern part of Franconian Switzerland, about 30 km south of Bayreuth. However, you can purchase most of Held-Bräu’s beers in stores in and around the three principal cities Nuremberg, Bamberg, and Bayreuth.

Held-Bräu Bauernbier Dunkel
Held-Bräu Bauernbier Dunkel


Category: Dark Beer

This copper-colored beer is based on a traditional Franconian brew recipe. It has a strong malty aroma that you can smell immediately after opening the bottle. Despite its slight bitterness with a distinct spicy flavor, it is still pleasant to drink, though.

ABV: 5,5 %

Where can you find this beer?

This brewery is located in Litzendorf, a village 10 km east of Bamberg. You can also buy this beer in many beverage shops in both Nuremberg and Bamberg as well as in several beer gardens and pubs in and around Bamberg.


Category: Unfiltered Beer

This cloudy cellar beer is beautifully amber-colored and has a strong character. Its taste is slightly malty and pleasantly bitter and has a soft mouthfeel. This beer is very refreshing and a perfect brew for mild summer nights.

ABV: 5,2 %

Where can you find this beer?

Mahr’s Bräu brewery is situated in Bamberg and can conveniently be visited while on a day trip in the city. Also, you may purchase their beer in many beverage stores in and around Bamberg.

Mahr's Bräu
Mahr’s Bräu Ungespundet


Category: Unfiltered Beer

Krug-Bräu’s Urstoff cellar beer has a hazy, copper-colored body and is characterized by its rich, aromatic flavor. The taste has sweet elements with slight hop bitterness and leads to a soft, but dry lingering aftertaste. Krug-Bräu is a traditional brewery producing numerous beers, including a delicious dark lager.

ABV:  5,4 %

Where can you find this beer?

Krug-Bräu is located in Breitenlesau, an upper-Franconian village between Bayreuth and Bamberg. Since their beers are very famous all over the region, you will be able to find them either in beverage stores in the major Franconian cities or in beer gardens on tap.


Category: Unfiltered Beer

This cellar beer has a cloudy, untypically yellow-colored body. With its earthy flavor combined with refreshing notes of citrus, this is undoubtedly a very unique brew. The taste is slightly malty and has a touch of bitterness, though the finish often reminds of a pilsener.

ABV: 4,9 %

Where can you find this beer?

The KundmĂĽller brewery producing Weiherer Kellerbier can be found in Viereth about 15 km north-east of Bamberg. However, you may also get this beer in several beverage stores in the major Franconian cities, not so much in local pubs, though.

Weiherer Kellerbier
Weiherer Kellerbier

Obviously, there are numerous other delicious Franconian beers worth a try. Among my favorites are also the following breweries: Fässla, Zwickl, Landwehr, Rittmayer, Eller, Spalter, Sonne and Hebendanz. So if you can get any of those, you’ll likely have a great Franconian beer experience as well. Otherwise, check out this guide about 111 Franconian Beers worth tasting.

Locations Where You Can Find A Variety Of Different Beers

Locations in Nuremberg:

Pubs: Landbierparadies, Restauration Kopernikus Biergarten, Mono Bar, Ludwigs Bar and Café Wanderer

However, you will have the ultimate chance to taste numerous Franconian beers at once at the annual Franconian Beer Festival taking place in Nuremberg.

Locations in Bamberg:

Pubs: Stilbruch, Café Abseits, Zapfhahn, Bierothek,

By the way, in case you don’t have enough time to try any of the Franconian beers in Bamberg or Nuremberg, you can buy an entire box of Franconian beers online!

In order for you to have an awesome Franconian beer experience, I also created this Franconian Beer Checklist with my personal 10 favorite beers. Just print it out and try as many of them as you can. Let’s see who gets them all!

Franconian Beer Checklist
Try these 10 unique Franconian beers on your next trip to southern Germany!

Please do let me know about your favorite Franconian beers if you’ve already had the chance to try them! Any recommendations which ones I should try? Also, comment below which classic brews should definitely be added to my list!

14 Unique Beers To Try In Franconia
A local’s beer guide to Franconia! Check out these 14 unique beers on your next trip to Southern Germany!

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9 Incredible Ways To Explore Franconian Switzerland
5 Awesome Day Trips From Nuremberg
12 Local Offbeat Festivals In Franconia

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