Maisel is known to some beer-lovers for an ale-like speciality called Dampfbier (“Steam Beer”) but has in recent years given more emphasis to its popular wheat beers.
While the city of Bayreuth is best known for its Wagner festival, it is also a brewing town. It is in Germany’s most breweried state, Bavaria, and in the district that makes the most colourful brews, Franconia.
Bavaria has several breweries owned by families called Maisel, not necessarily related – at least, not closely. The best known is this sizeable regional brewery, dating from 1886-7. The original Maisel brewery, magnificently castellated, is kept in working order and beautiful condition as a museum of beer-making and coopering, and is open for tours. It has a 1930s steam engine and a remarkable collection of early equipment, blueprints, and advertising enamels Next door is the remorselessly modern, 1974, premises.
The old bottling hall has been converted into a bar intended to reflect the Roaring Twenties. Franconia may be a long way from New York or Chicago, but one of the owning Maisels married an American wife.
In 1887, Jack and Eberhardt Maisel founded their family brewery. They set up outside the gates of Bayreuth, laying the foundations for the future of this renowned brewery. During the Great Depression of the 20s Fritz and Andrew, the sons of the founder brothers, took over the running of the family business, it eventually passing wholly to Fritz Maisel in 1936.
In 1955 he was joined by his sons, Hans and Oscar and a major decision: the introduction of a Weiss beer, which initially produced under the name "Champagne-wheat".
Maisel's Weisse has since been a trendsetter for wheat beer in Germany, and Maisel is a recognised specialty brewery whose beers are appreciated worldwide.
In recent years the brewery has passed into the control of the fourth generation family member Jeff Maisel who shares the same ethos and work ethic of his forefathers. The highest craftsmanship and love of their product characterize the breweries beliefs and are evident in the excellent beer it produces.