The over 360 years old Faust brewery is amongst the leaders of the craft beer movement and is deemed to be one of the best breweries in Germany.
Miltenberg, “Pearl of the Main River”. Embedded prettily between the hills of the Spessart and Odenwald is the Old Town with its medieval half-timbered houses, small, quaint shops, cafés and the “Zum Riesen”, one of the oldest hostelries in Germany. Miltenberg is officially a “Bavarian gourmet destination”, but initially nothing would seem to suggest that the small town with 10,000 inhabitants had another special highlight to offer. Except perhaps a rather low-key banner in the narrow street known as Hauptstrasse (the high street) with the sentence “Craft Brewer of the Year”. And indeed, behind the half-timbered façade is none other than one of the best breweries in Germany: Brauerei Faust. It was elected “Craft Brewer of the Year” (2016), “Brewery of the Year” (2018), and went on to receive awards for its craft beers in 2020 and for its wheat beer in 2021.
Owner and master brewer Johannes Faust sits at his desk on the first floor above the brewery shop and explains with great passion what constitutes the fine art of brewing beer. “We can’t compete with the big breweries in terms of quantity but when it comes to quality, we are streets ahead of them. After all, we only do what we enjoy and taste ourselves, namely craft beer.” Does that mean craft beer that tastes like coffee, chocolate or even cucumber? “No, no, no those are really mixed beer drinks. We brew strictly according to the Beer Purity Law and the slow brewing method. Our beers take weeks, months, sometimes even a year in the case of our ‘Brauerreserve’ until they are ready.”
Every craft beer from the Faust brewery – it is now over 360 years old – has its own story – like the Auswandererbier (Emigrant Beer). After the German Revolution, in 1849 August Krug, the son of the owner of the brewery “Zum weissen Löwen” (today’s Faust Brewery) emigrated to the United States. His father Georg Anton Krug gave him a special beer for the long crossing. It had a very high alcohol content and an extreme hop bitterness. This was necessary to ensure the beer did not go off. The recipe for today’s craft beer is based on the notes left by Georg Anton Krug. Incidentally, in 1850 he followed his son to Milwaukee where the latter had meanwhile established the predecessor to the Joseph Schlitz Brewing Company, which in the early 20th century emerged as the largest brewery in the world. Johannes Faust walks quickly through the winding corridors and staircases of the brewery that if you look at the building from the Old Town you would hardly imagine was there; expert that he is he explains why he relies on slow brewing, in other words a slow and open fermentation as opposed to the accelerated industrial mass production. “Time is what makes the difference,” says Faust. Once on the seventh floor it becomes evident why a tour of the brewery is such a special experience at Faust. Up here beer lovers can – under supervision – make their own beer in a small creative brewery. Later this self-made wort will be stored in the brewery cellars where the very finest yeast is added to it. After a maturation period of several weeks amateur brewers can drop by and collect five litres of their very own beer. In addition, the tour includes a breakfast with special Bavarian white sausage, hearty sandwiches, a short tour of the large brewery, a beer brewer diploma, and a magnificent panoramic view out over Miltenberg, “The fine art of brewing on the Main.”