I found myself in Bavaria recently. Unfortunately, I’m not really a fan of German food and the continuous stream of meat-and-white-starch (and to my disappointment, so many of the sausages and pork chops just weren’t very good), but a handful of meals or beers were memorable.
Bamberg was a cute city and great place for beer. Schlenkerla is one of the few old breweries still making a rauchbier (smoked beer). Their Marzen tapped straight from a wooden keg was intoxicatingly campfire-smoky in smell, but not bitter or harsh in taste, with a modestly roasted malt and creamy body (and all this for about $3). Delicious and definitely worth a visit.
Cafe Abseits (tucked away in a residential neighborhood on the opposite side of Bamberg from all the sights) was my favorite bar of the trip. They had a deep beer list and a very laid-back, uncrowded atmosphere and outdoor patio. The Duvel Triple Hop Mosaic was complex– it smelled a bit like basil and tangerines, and had a noticeably warming alcohol flavor (9% ABV) with some funk and a slightly bitter orange aftertaste. It was an A+ for me, and it kept getting more funky as it warmed up.
Wurzburg had good ies (ice cream), wine (it’s in Franconia, surrounded by vineyards), and a great little breakfast place a friend took me to, with a dumbwaiter, books, and a disco ball. Among other dishes I ordered the famous bavaria breakfast weisswurst (white sausages made with veal, bacon and herbs, served in broth with a “lye stick” and sweet mustard).
Augsburg’s Riegele brewery was a good place for a tour, with a chance to taste beer straight out of the fermenter in a nearly pitch-black, cold, sub-basement lit by candlelight. For obvious reasons I didn’t take any photos of that, but their Simcoe specialty ale was more interesting than your average helles:
And of course Munich. Sure, there were a lot of crisp solid German lagers here… but lagers rarely excite me. The Edelstoff fresh from a wooden keg at Augistinerkeller was good, though.
Finally, Der Pschorr biergarten (which I’d found on Chowhound) was the one really good German dinner in a sea of fatty-pork-with-white-potatoes-or-kraut meals, with a crisp helles, a great steak with herbed butter, grilled tomatoes, and horseradish, and actual green vegetables… as well as fantastic housemade hazelnut schnapps.