The craft brewing movement in the U.S. is still very much in its youth. Most of the craft breweries here are under 25 years of age, with only a handful beyond that mark. Germany, where the brewing culture goes back hundreds of years, stands in sharp contrast. In fact, our featured international brewery is 144 years old, and that’s actually not considered particularly old in Germany where many breweries have been in operation for several hundred years. Regardless, they’ve certainly had the time to get the whole brewing thing down pretty darn well.
Privatbrauerei Bischoff was founded in a part of southwestern Germany known as Nordpfalz, in an area commonly referred to as the Palatinate (“Pfalz” is German for Palatinate). The region features the imposing Donnersberg (“Thunder Mountain”) and the Palatinate Forest, which, when taken together with the contiguous forest of the Vosges area of France, makes up one of Europe’s largest wooded areas. The Bischoff Brewery is located in the town of Winnweiler, in a part of the Palatinate that has a considerably cooler climate than the area to the north; while vineyards and wineries are dotted all along the Deutsche Weinstrasse (German Wine Route) to the north, the area around Winnweiler is well known for its barley farms, traditional maltsters, and excellent beers.
The region is blessed with exceptional natural resources, including the crystal-clear spring water that Bischoff uses in all of its beers. This superb water, along with locally-farmed barley, regionally-sourced hops, and yeast sourced from Weihenstephan, has been used for five generations of brewers in the Bischoff family. It was on December 7th, 1866, when the region was still a part of Bavaria, that Christian Bischoff introduced the first beers from the brewery. 144 years later, Bischoff is the only brewery in Nordpfalz to have remained continuously owned by the same family since its founding. While the brewery began most humbly in a small barn that was converted into a brewery, the family has continuously updated the brewing equipment and added new beers to Bischoff’s lineup. In 2001, Drs. Erik and Sven Bischoff, Christian’s great-great-grandsons, joined the brewery team.
Privatbrauerei Bischoff celebrated its 140th anniversary in 2006. In that year, the brewery was awarded an impressive array of hardware from Germany’s independent food and drinks testing association, the esteemed DLG Test Center, including 2 Gold and 3 Silver Medals. What a great birthday present! In the judging, both new and older samples of each beer are sampled by a panel of ten experts who judge the purity of flavor, fullness of body, freshness, and taste stability during storage. However, not only are the beers judged on their flavor as in formal beer competitions, they’re also evaluated by rigorous laboratory analysis. Yep, the Germans take their beer VERY seriously…
It’s too bad we can’t send you all 17 beers in Bischoff’s current line up, but we did select a couple of our favourites which we hope you enjoy as much as we do. Prost!!