• Photo: (c) Berndneeser | Dreamstime.com

Kulmbach

A quarter of Kulmbachers earn their living directly or indirectly from the beer that's brewed in the town. More than 22 different beers are produced here—the adventuresome try the Doppelbock Kulminator 28, which takes nine months to brew and has an alcohol content of 12%. Kulmbach celebrates its brewing traditions every year in a nine-day festival that starts on the last Saturday in July. The main festival site, a mammoth tent, is called the Festspulhaus—literally, "festival swill house"—a none-too-subtle dig at nearby Bayreuth and its tony Festspielhaus, where Wagner's operas are performed. If you're here in winter, be sure to try the seasonal Eisbock, a special dark beer that is frozen as part of the brewing process, making it stronger.

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