Journey to northern Germany and hike through incredible historic forests to discover some of the country’s far-from-conventional beers, putting the region on the map.
Horn-Bad Meinberg – Detmold
It’s not one of Germany’s best know forests, but it is one of the country’s most important. It was here in the 9th century that a group of Germanic tribes defeated an invading party from the Roman important, in what is perceived as being one of the most important events in shaping modern day Europe.
It’s an area steeped in tradition, with many spectacular walks to discover.
Although Southern Germany gets all the international kudos for its beer culture, there’s something to be said for its northern counterparts. Here in Detmold, in the centre of Teutoburger Wald, there are several breweries that practise in the art of creative brewing.
Teutoburger Wald is filled with a great many hiking options, but below we’ve listen one in particular that takes you past some of the forests most beautiful and important spots, while at the same time delivering you to some delectable breweries.
The Teutoburger Beer Hike
We planned the special hiking path over the summer. It’s a blend of several different treks in the region that stretch over a total of 15km. You can find a link to our very own-crafted hiking route HERE.
The route starts of the small town of Horn-Bad Meinberg, which one can easily reach by train. It’s here in this quaint, unassuming village you’ll find the astounding, natural phenomenon that is the Externsteine. The singular, sandstone geological rock formations, which profound out from the ground like giant arms reaching towards the sky, are of the most visited and valued natural tourist destinations in the country.
The entire area surrounding the Externsteine is a worthy of a visit. The protruding formations can be found throughout the area, culminating in the very-literal high point that is the Wackelsteinfelsen, an extremely high structure, with some precarious looking rocks facing out across a mirror-like body of water.
Once done admiring this million-year old piece of history, it’s time to move on to the Falkenburg Ruins. The route, which should be signposted, can be reached by following the Römer, Ritter, Riten walk.
The next stop on the trek takes you to the near-1000 year-old remains of the Falkenburg Castle; an ancient relic of the area’s bygone era.
The next stage is the longest, with varying options available to you. One option is to follow the Wandergebiet Hangstein, but whichever way you go, you will be taken through the picturesque Teutoburger world; a pristine deciduous forest filled with decadently high trees and an abundance of wildlife.
You will eventually come to one of Germany’s most important landmarks, the Hermannsdenkmal. The colossal monument was built several hundred years ago to honour the victory over the Romans during the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest.
The failed invasion saw over 20,000 Romans perish, and ultimately put to end any further attempts to conquer the German areas. It was a pivotal moment in uniting the German people, to which the statue was built to commemorate during the founding of the German state 900 years later.
Just beyond the Denkmal lies the town of Detmold, where the hiking ends, and the drinking begins!
Founded in 1853, this family run brewery currently produces 28 variety of beers.
Run by two sisters, Friederike (who became Germany’s youngest brewer), and Simone Strate, the brewery prides itself on its sustainable, hand-brewing traditions.
Aside from the beer of course, there are some very personal touches that make this brewery particularly special. Inside the brewery is a bespoke tasting area called the Stratosphäre. It’s a beautiful designed area where tasters, brewers, and enthusiasts can meet to enjoy and share the many joys that beer has to offer. The restaurant serves seasonal, traditional German cuisine of the highest order, which can be paired with some of the brewery’s very particular beers. There’s also an exquisite and well-maintained garden area, where, if you visit at the right time of year, you can also dine in.
And, during December there’s even a beer-themed Christmas market!
There are several different tours of the brewery on offer, included guided trips round the brewery, beer-pairing sessions, and even brewing courses.
There are some excellent beers to sample here. Some of our favourite include the Honigbock, a honey infused beer crafted during lockdown; the dark and full-flavoured Land Bier; the Bourbon Chardonnay, a beer aged in bourbon casks that comes with a slightly sweet, vanilla tint; and Polar Bock, a beer made with Chardonnay Hopfen which is then frozen to leave a purified extract of a beer in its truest form.
How can you not want to try all of that?
There are other distillations happening at the Strate brewery too. You can also try a Hopfen-Gin, Cherry Beer Liquor, Bier Brand Praline, along with a selection of beer-infused condiments, such as mustard, chilli sauce, and jams. It really does offer everything and more.
This young brewery run by the Liebharts produces over 20 different varieties of beers and limonades. With sustainability at the heart of the working process, the Liebharts only use local, organic products in their beers.
The couple who run the brewery use only malts made exclusively for them, which is how they’re able to keep their beers fresh and varied.
Among some of the beers they have on offer include an organic pale ale, a dark Land Beer, with even gluten-free options on offer.
Some of our favourite include the incredibly tasting Liebhart’s Barrel Aged Beer, a sterling brew matured for 14-months matured in in whisky, marsala and sherry casks. It’s a very sweet and aromatic beer with nodes of vanilla, the has hints of oak entrenched within the beer.
The Bio Pils is also a particularly well-flavoured, and full-tasting beer, with a fresh and particular malty flavour to it.
Guided tours are on offer, and can be personalised (to a certain extent) to meet your needs. They’re incredibly detailed, and as you might expect from such a small enterprise, it’s very personalised.
A charming and intimate village is attached to the outside of the brewery, which includes a rustic restaurant, bakery, even a chapel where you can get married. There is also a gastronomy area where you can cajole in the joy of beer drinking while eating seasonal delights, a village cafe, and a wine shop for those who are not so hoppy-orientated.
It’s the perfect end to a little tour of northern-Germany’s most important and beautiful sites. It provides a little nostalgic view of the past, while looking forward, re-shaping our ideas about beer and culture in an extremely pleasurable way.