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About barley-based concoctions and hospitality: Part II

… To judge from the feedback I’ve been getting, you have not been put off by the thought of more-like-a-mash beer and other mediaeval experiments. Seemingly you have not had enough of mediaeval tales themed around brewing and taverns from Regensburg. So I won’t leave you on tenterhooks. Let’s see what surprising stories are still circulating in Regensburg about beer and other intoxicants, and whom we may perhaps be meeting …

It hardly takes a few minutes before, between the Town Hall and the Haidplatz, we come across a unique figure dating from approximately 1900, followed by a visibly annoyed lady. This is the “Mozartl”, who was widely renowned in his time, primarily for his dissolute pub-crawling and his excessive beer consumption. Back then, he was the epitome of a star imbiber, so to speak, although all he had in common with his namesake was a queue and a love of music (he himself does not appear to have been a coruscatingly gifted musician). And occasionally he left the tavern without paying, which explains the appearance of the irate waitress.

On the way to the Haidplatz, Martin tells us about another glittering celebrity from a bygone era, called “Krebshaut” (Lobsterskin): “Krebshaut” (Lobsterskin) – a gentleman with a bright red face, in which all the veins had burst spectacularly. His well-nigh record-breaking consumption of alcohol was indubitably the main reason for this. It is told that “after five litres he was still stone-cold sober, after ten a good listener, and after twenty a true philosopher”. Whether you find that impressive or appalling is entirely a matter for you. 🙂

Once we’ve arrived at the Haidplatz, we learn that this central location in the heart of the Old City was in the Middle Ages the paramount hub when it came to eating, drinking or a bed for the night. But wait! This was not where the simple citizenry hung out. It was for a more exalted clientele. The Duke of Bavaria was one of the few guests who dropped in regularly at the “Goldenes Kreuz” (Golden Cross). It’s not hard to imagine that one or two of them frequently took the opportunity to over-indulge. And even the upper classes were not immune to the effects of too much beer. So it was not unknown for a nobleman or two to prove unable to make it back home unaided, whereupon he had to be put to bed by his servant …

A few minutes’ walk later, we’ve arrived in the Wine Alley. And in this case the name says it all. It’s called “Weingasse” (Wine Alley) because this was the route used to transport the wine from the Weinstadel hostelry on the Danube to the Haidplatz. Overall, though, Regensburg did not play a major role for the inebriant fruits of the vine.

From wine, it’s now back to beer – in the shape of  the “Gasse am Römling” (Römling Alley), where Martin explains the Purity Law to us. And now we find out something quite new. Besides the Bavarian Purity Law, you see, Regensburg had a Purity Law of its own. And it even predates its Bavarian counterpart by a few decades. The Beer Brewing Law was enacted by the City Council in 1454. From then on, only barley, water and hops were to be permitted in the brew-kettles. It was designed to eliminate from the recipes once and for all certain offbeat ingredients (parsley and chives as aromatics, ox blood or chimney soot for the colour, and belladonna as an additional intoxicant will suffice as examples here), and thus to ensure reputable (and safe) brewing practices.

After we’ve now spent a good hour or so on the theory behind the barley-based concoctions and consummate good cheer! in Regensburg, I notice that in these summery temperatures I’m beginning to feel thirsty. So Martin’s invitation to treat ourselves to a Zwicklbier in the venerable Gravenreuther tavern was enthusiastically received! Armed with plenty of new knowledge, we settle down to savour our beer! Cheers!! 🙂


And if you’re now keen to hear more stories about taverns, beer and other spirits from Regensburg, a click here might be of interest. But there are, of course, plenty of other exciting adventures at Mice in Motion. No matter which guided tour you opt for – have fun!

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