With an astounding 189 brewing facilities, Baden-Württemberg is the second most important beer region in Germany.
Right next to Lake Schluchsee, hikers will find a very special hiking path: the Zäpfle-Weg. It follows the traces of a beer that’s as closely connected to the Black Forest as its dark green trees. This beer, the “Rothaus Tannenzäpfle”, has been a cult classic for generations and is made in what is undoubtedly one of the most beautifully situated brewing sites in all of Baden-Württemberg: the Rothaus Baden State Brewery AG.
This goes hand-in-hand with a beer region where regionalism is king. Whether the Black Forest, Swabian Mountains, Palatinate, Hohenlohe, Tauber Valley or Upper Swabia, each area feels a strong sense of pride for their local brewery and beer. Mid-sized businesses rule the regional market. In fact, almost a decade ago, the Dinkelacker family in Stuttgart actually succeeded in buying back the brewery that had been previously sold to a large corporate group.
Some of the most spirited representatives of their craft even decided to create the "Association of Brewers with Heart and Soul" and won the Baden-Württemberg Gourmet Ambassador Prize for their efforts in 2015.
Today, many of the breweries that were founded centuries ago are still going strong, while some of the home and microbreweries are a more recent development. You can often enjoy a glass of their new, innovative brews directly at the bar in their very own, brewery-run restaurant.
The local breweries have made a career out of winning awards for their unique beers, raking in some of the most sought-after awards and medals year after year. When one considers the number of breweries per capita, SouthWest Germany even won more awards than Bavaria in 2015.