Jim Dykstra's picture

Brauerei Gebr. Maisel Makes Beer with History in Mind

(Issue 21)

Brauerei Gebr. Maisel has always been built around family. The brewery has been crafting quality ales and lagers since 1887, when it was founded in Upper Franconian Bayreuth by brothers Hans and Eberhard Maisel, whose own family brewing history could be traced back another century. Today, the tradition continues with a stable of top-selling beers, including the famed Maisel Weisse, described here by none other than the Beer Hunter, Michael Jackson:

“Maisel's Weisse Original has a peachy colour, and is very fruity in aroma and flavor, with suggestions of apples and bananas; a fluffy, textured, middle; and a tart, refreshing, finish.”

The brewery is run by Jeff Maisel, the fourth generation of the family to take the reins. Jeff has taken great pride in carrying that torch, and though he values tradition, he also aims to shine a light on the uncharted terrain of craft beer.

While the Reinheinsgebot is an indelible tradition, even German brewers recognize that there is more to the world of beer. This sentiment has been mirrored in the German market as of late, with beer sales contracting as waves of social change hit Germany.


Jeff Maisel continues his family's storied brewing tradition with the more experimental Maisel and Friends line.


A shift towards tech industry jobs and a dearth of young prodigious drinkers has per capita consumption down by around 10 percent in Germany. With American brewers like Stone invading German tastebuds, the golden era of German lager consumption may be in decline.

To this end, Jeff founded Maisel and Friends in 2012, a craft brewing offshoot of the original Maisel brewery dedicated to brewing more experimental offerings. 

The seed for what Maisel and Friends has become was sown by his grandfather, Fritz Maisel.

"Back in the 50s my father wanted to brew a wheat beer – which was not the favorite of the customers at that time. My grandfather Fritz Maisel responded to his intention: 'If nobody is willing to drink our beer, we’ll have drink it ourselves.' According to this credo we decided to come up with "Maisel & Friends.'"

So Maisel and his friends set to work, aiming to produce exciting beers, and have fun while doing it.

It’s important to note that while craft can come under fire in Germany for not adhering to the Reinheitsgebot, Maisel and Friends has found the middle ground. They will only label a product as “beer” if it is in accordance with the purity law. If not, it is a “brew creation," a term they christened to acknowledge the non-traditional world of beer-making. For these beers, they still have high standards.

“Using natural products such as organic roasted nuts or whole raspberries can certainly be high quality, and very tasty brew creations can arise. But we find beer using enzymes and flavorings to be of lower quality. Even for 'brewing creations' we need some kind of purity.”

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