When it comes to schnapps, herbert steinlein knows no mercy. "Whoever dumps it in won't get a second one", says the neufanger innkeeper and makes it clear that the guest who drinks the distillate in one go and does not enjoy it will be punished. Craft errors should also be avoided as far as possible. Poured cold, the brandy loses its aroma. "That is why schnapps should only be drunk at room temperature", steinlein emphasizes that schnapps should never be enjoyed with beer, but only with water, and possibly also with a cup of black coffee.
The radical upheaval
Steinlein's schnaps are known far beyond the county borders. The brewing right of the family dates back to 1794. "The distilling right for floury and non-floury materials, i.E. Brandy from cereals or fruit, allows us to produce 300 liters of vinous spirit per year", explains the 64-year-old, who in 1983 initiated a radical change in the long-standing tradition of distilling. Since then, only spontaneous firing has taken place. "It is a very difficult, but the most natural way to distill fruit brandy", says the host. The alcohol, aroma and flavor are extracted from the fruit alone. "We do not add any additives of any kind. Whoever drinks our schnapps drinks pure fruit." He praises the longevity of the taste as a quality feature: "with perfumed schnapps, the first olfactory impression is usually more intense and fruity, but it also quickly dissipates because it is only put on."
Pure nature – this is the motto of the neufanger distillery, which uses only its own fruit. In 1994, a meadow orchard was planted and gradually extended, a good 500 meters as the crow flies from the inn. Herbert steinlein: "we have now planted around 210 fruit trees: apple, pear, cherry, rowan, plum, quince, mirabelle and medlar."
Before the actual distillation, manual work is required. The fruit is harvested by the family and then sorted out. "There must be no rotten fruit, stalks or leaves in it. This is decisive for the later quality of the fire, which then also does not "scratch" with us, female herbert steinlein, who, after painstakingly sorting out the fruit, mashes it, i.E. Seals it airtight in a barrel with a cooking bung. In the later brewing process, the mash is then heated in a copper kettle.
If the harvest turns out bad …
Despite a huge amount of work, the yield can be low. "If the harvest of individual varieties is bad, can be burned sometimes only in the following year again", steinlein states. He remembers well the year he and his wife spent more than 60 hours picking wild berries for two liters of schnapps. Even if the mooing is not always rewarded – the neufanger brande is in demand like the family's cooking skills. Celebrities celebrate in the rustic inn time and again, and guests from "herrmanns posthotel" in in wirsberg, who also taste high-proof drinks. "We benefit from alexander herrmann", explains herbert steinlein, who leaves no doubt that the schnapps tasters also benefit from his distilling skills. Even his grandfather drank a glass a day. "Because schnapps is pure medicine that is good for the body in small quantities."