My Naabtal Beer Hike started with meeting Rich, the Beerwanderer coming off a morning train from Munich. We had timed our meet-up to catch one of the few morning buses from Regensburg to Pielenhofen, a small town along the Naab River northwest of the city. We’ve enjoyed getting together a few times now – sharing a beer hike experience and trading ideas and stories. Rich is an inspiring beer hiker – an expat who has deep knowledge of Franconian and Bavarian brewery walks.
The Naab flows from north to south for 122 miles (about 200 km) through the Oberpfalz region of Bavaria before joining the Danube west of Regensburg. The valley or “tal” formed by the Naab is scenic — dotted with picturesque villages and towns. The Naabtal is a popular area for hiking, bicycling, and rock climbing. We stepped off the bus near Kloster Pielenhofen, a former nunnery founded in 1240. Long ago this would have been a brewery stop but nowadays the abbey is a school and a tavern called the Klosterwirtschaft occupies the old brewery and a riverside terrace. Augustiner beers from Munich and Gutmann Hefeweizen from nearby Titting are the beers served there.
The hike route for the day proceeded south along the river through green fields and small woods. Just before the big riverbend at Deckelstein, the route ascends the eastern valley wall through dense forest before topping out near Eibrunn. From there, a short descent leads to the former Dominican convent on the Adlersberg. Founded and built in the 1200’s by Duke Ludwig the Strict, it was closed after the Reformation in the mid 1500’s. Part of the former Kloster is now Prosslbräu Adlersberg, a beautiful and relaxing beer garden and restaurant. These days, the pilgrimage to the Adlersberg serves a different purpose.
Five generations of the Prössl family have brewed excellent beers and served excellent Bavarian food and hospitality here since the 1830’s. There is a fine view down to Regensburg and the Danube valley from the Adlersberg. The view previews the route that drops down to a high ridge above the north bank of the Danube as it flows into Regensburg. Eventually, there is a steep drop to the river and a crossing to the Obere Wöhrd, one of two islands in the Danube at Regensburg. Near the eastern end of the island, the landmark Steinerne Brücke or Stone Bridge spans the Danube. Built entirely of stone, this is the oldest bridge in Germany (built in the 1100’s) and now carries only pedestrian traffic between the city center and the north bank.
The route ends at the beer garden of Spitalbrauerei Regensburg a brewery that will celebrate its 1000th anniversary in just a few years. Spitalbrauerei, or Hospital Brewery in English, was founded in 1226. Is there a hospital brewery anywhere else but in Bavaria? I guess they needed it, because “as early as 1238, the hospital patients were guaranteed a nightcap, which could consist of beer or wine.”
All-in-all, a fine way to spend an afternoon and gear up for the evening in Regensburg.