I’m pretty good at coming up with brilliant ideas. Recently, one of my best ideas was in planning our train trip from Berlin to Dresden. I noticed that one of the intermediate stations was Leipzig, which I remembered was home to one of the few Gose breweries in the world. Realizing that this was a good beer travel opportunity, I planned for us to get off the train in Leipzig, visit the two breweries in the city and get back on the train to continue our journey to Dresden. After confirming that Leipzig Hauptbahnhof had luggage storage, the train tickets were purchased.
But even great ideas can have flaws. We got off the train in Leipzig and quickly found the luggage storage lockers. Opening the door to one of the available lockers, I slipped my bag in only to have it be several inches too long. Panic set in as I realized that I wasn’t going to be drinking Gose that day.
While, I was panicking, Merideth was thinking. She realized that if we tilted our bags at an angle, they would fit. It took a few minutes of wrestling each bag, but they were eventually safely stored. Soon after that, we were walking the streets of Leipzig in search of our first brewery.
Bayerischer Bahnhof, one of the few Gose breweries in the world, was a 20 minute walk from the Hauptbahnhof. Approaching the brewery, I had my second panic attack within an hour. Bayerischer Platz was a fenced in construction zone. “What if the brewery is closed?” I thought to myself. To my relief, we found the entrance, and they were open.
Bayerischer Bahnhof is an expansive facility. The huge rectangular building is flanked on one side by a tree shaded beer garden. The brewery sits in the middle of the restaurant that seems to go on forever. The first customers of the day, Merideth and I found a table outside.
Originating in the town of Goslar, a Gose is a top fermented wheat beer flavored with corinader and salt. Fresh from my Berliner Weiße trauma, I was a bit worried about having a similar beer experience. My confidence suffered the added blow seeing on the menu that the Gose could also be flavored with raspberry or woodruff syrup. Merideth also had the option of getting the “Lady-Friendly”, Gose flavored with cherry liquor. Passing on all the girly versions, Merideth and I both ordered “Original Leipziger Gose”.
Our waitress brought over the beers and the big moment had arrived. From the first sip, I loved the brew. The slightly tart beer was wonderfully refreshing, especially on yet another beautiful summer day in Germany. A hint of coriander, which became more prominent as the beer warmed up, gave the beer a kick of spiciness.
By my second or third Gose, I was patting myself on the back for the brilliant plan. Merideth and I enjoyed a nice, semi-leisurely lunch in the beer garden. I even moved on to try another one of Bayerischer Bahnhof brews, a wonderful Schwarzbier.
Leipzig’s other brewery, Brauhaus an der Thomaskirche was located in the center of the Altstadt. As the name implies, the brewpub is next to the Thomaskirche, the 15th century church that holds the tomb of Johann Sebastian Bach. Not being complete beer heathens, Merideth and I went to the church to see the final resting place of the great composer and former choirmaster of the Thomaskirche. We even got the added treat of choir practice, soothing background music to our five minutes of culture. With our normal tourist duty completed we retreated across the street to the brewpub’s beer garden.
To the background music of the laughter and screams of the town’s children playing in the fountain in front of the brewpub, Merideth and I contemplated the Brauhaus beer menu. With a lineup closer to the more standard German variety, they did not brew a Gose. While I started with the Pils, Merideth went for the banana-y Weißbier. I finished up with the Schwarzbier. While not as good as the one I drank earlier in the day, it was still quite nice.
Our time at Brauhaus an der Thomaskirche was short and sweet. We quickly drank our beers and then headed back to the Hauptbahnhof to catch our train to Dresden. We spent less than four hours in Leipzig but it was a great four hours.