Written by Franz Hofer for A Tempest in a Tankard
Tucked away in northeastern Bavaria on the Czech border, the Oberpfalz is home to Zoigl, a beer style brewed the same way it was a century ago. But Zoigl is more than a beer style. It’s an ethos upholding a tradition that has long since died out across most of Bavaria. For starters, Zoigl is brewed in a communal brewhouse, a brewing arrangement held over from medieval times. From there, the brewers transport the brew to their own cellars for fermentation before serving them in their Zoiglstuben for only a few days every month. Just look for the six-pointed Zoiglstern, the telltale sign that reveals where the beer is flowing.
And those Zoiglstuben! The Zoiglstube is more of a living room than a restaurant, a convivial place where every seat is full by late afternoon. It’s virtually impossible not to engage with other people. A steady stream of locals crowd in to swap stories or catch up on the news of the day, gladly making room for all who pass through the door. After a few Zoiglbier, we’re all locals.
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