Beer-Braised Pulled Pork Tacos and a Spicy Mango and Pineapple Salsa

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What does a civil engineer, a teacher and an industrial mechanic have in common?

Besides sharing a friendship for over 30 years, it was a passion for beer that kindled the first sparks for three young men from Schmalkalden to establish a small brewery.

Martin, Hendrik and Matthias are born and bred in Schmalkalden, a small quaint town in the southwest of Thuringia. They have been childhood friends for decades, sharing a bond that only a lifelong friendship seals. As I sit together with Hendrik and Martin in the cosy foyer of their brewery, I feel the warm camaraderie between them and their easy-going and affable manner creates and very relaxing mood. 

I am looking forward to getting to know them and have been keen to hear their story. Martin Reformat is the civil engineer in the trio and works at the Bauhaus-Universität Weimar. He was literally fed-up and bored with the mainstream beer production and decided to take things into his own hands. He began brewing his own beer to cover his own personal needs. That was back in 2013 when Martin was part of the Music Society in Schmalkalden together with Hendrik (the Teacher) and Matthias (industrial mechanic), - it did not take long for them to also jump on board. 

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By 2015 they were experimenting with different ideas, brewing beer from Hendrik's mother's washhouse. They were thrilled with the results and when kegs of their beer were shared at friends' parties, they realized that they have a good hand at beer brewing.     

The Craft Beer trend from the USA has also been slowly developing here in Germany.  Artisan brewed beer is increasingly attracting more and more beer drinkers with its occasionally exotic flavours. 

For the three Schmalkaldeners, the idea of developing handmade beers came alive and things began rolling fast. From the very beginning, they were certain that their beer would be a regional product carrying the "Made in Thüringen" seal. 

"Das Wasser kommt aus dem Wasserhahn!" Martin declares, explaining that the quality of drink-water in Schmalkalden has the ideal values to brew beer. Hendrik explains that their malt has the farthest journey to travel - approx. 30 kilometres from Schmalkalden from Nord-Franken, while the hop is from Altenburg. Even the recipe of their first beer the "Broihan" is an Ur-Schmalkaldic recipe, obtained from Peter Handy, the Chairman of the Association for Schmalkaldic History and Regional Studies e.V. (Schmalkaldische Geschichte und Landeskunde e.V.). The recipe, Hendrik points-out, was written in old units of measurements and they needed to be translated into today's units. 

It did not take long for them to outgrow the washhouse and by April 2015 they moved to a bigger space provided to them by the Wohnungsbau GmbH of the city of Schmalkalden. A small former co-op (Treppenkonsum) with several flights of stairs was converted into an operating brewery in just 2 weeks. But wait, weren't those stairs impracticable for a brewery, considering all the flights of stairs? I wanted to know. Martin and Hendrik start laughing and tell me a story of how they managed to cripple the traffic once by blocking the main street with palettes of beer meant for a delivery. 

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"We received a lot of Shitstorm for that action!" Hendrik laughs. 

Schmalkalden had been without its own brewery for almost 100 years - the men behind the Braumanufaktur changed that. 

They not only brewed a variety of craft beers but began offering beer tastings and beer brewing workshops. As their production increased so did the requirement of finding a larger facility. By June 2016, with the help of the Mayor of Schmalkalden, Martin, Hendrik and Matthias had moved their brewery into the present location in the Neustadt area. 

Neustadt is a historical area in Schmalkalden dating back to the 15th and 16th Century with many important buildings, monuments, places of remembrance. One of Schmalkalden's oldest half-timbered house "Fachwerkhaus / Schmiedhof Weidebrunner Gasse 13" built between 1369 and 1370 is just a stone-throw away from the brewery, as is the famous Hessenhof, where the cellar of the house contains scenes from the Iwein illustration-cycle, from the 13th Century. These murals are considered to be the oldest secular representations in Central Germany. 

Located just behind the Braumanufaktur brewery, a former beer cellar that presumably had been serving the Schmalkalden brewers since the Middle-Ages is being restored. Hendrik tells me that the plan is to use some of the space to stock their beer. 

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The current location has housed the brewery since August 2016. Martin and Hendrik reminisce about it being the most unfavourable period for an opening. Plagued by a summer recess they were not expecting much attention. A radio report and review in the main Thuringian news just before the official opening changed many things for the three brewers. On 1 August 2016 - the opening day of the Weidenbrunner Gasse location, they had just filled, hand-labelled and delivered 1000 bottles of beer when they began getting calls from the diverse beverage suppliers and stores - they all needed refills! Another 2000 bottles were prepared by hand and promptly delivered. 

Today, it is still just the 3 of them, they produce about 30,000 litres of beer each year. Their range of beers has also increased - among other seasonal beers they now offer a light lager (Schmalkalder Broihan), a red ale (Rotbier), a pale ale (Hopfensud) and the Mumme with a pronounced malt note and compact body. What I really liked about Martin and Hendrik is their clear vision and dedication towards their passion. They are very committed about offering high-quality handmade beers, using just the basic but first-rate ingredients and operating directly according to the German Beer Purity Requirements dating back to 1435. These requirements state that beer should only contain hops, malt and water - and that is truly all that is in a Braumanufaktur beer from Schmalkalden. 

he beers have a unique and complex characteristic, using malts in flavours such as toffee, chocolate, or coffee, and unique hop varieties which lend floral, fruity, earthy, or spicy finishes. Each of the ingredients is chosen with care and concern for detail. Being a small locally owned operation the Braumanufaktur Schmalkalden will never compete with the larger beer manufacturing industry.  

But then that is not their goal - it's much simpler and pronounced - to brew beers that taste really good! 

For the future, Hendrik tells me that they are keen to expand and develop their event segment more. The idea of a beer walking tour is being developed, a "sweet and malty" tasting together with a regional nougat producer and a "Whisky meets Beer," a counter-tasting session is also on the drawing boards. Both are keen to offer their beers to more gastronomy in the region, wishing that the conservative views towards something different will change as currently, the markets are very difficult to enter. 

I am certain that these three brewers will be able to enter several new culinary markets and open up the connoisseur segment in Thuringia because there is a lot more one can do with these craft beers than drink them. I was coming home with a bag filled with an assortment of brilliant Braumanufaktur Schmalkalden Beers and my mind was playing aroundwith a very particular idea to develop in the kitchen. 

With a few insider tips for Schmalkalden from Hendrik and Martin, I said my goodbye and took a little tour through this charming little town before heading back to Weimar. I was enchanted by Schmalkalden - the lovingly restored half-timbered houses in the Altstadt gave the centre of the town a fairy-tale flair. I soaked up the atmosphere of the market day around the square where the Town Hall and the St. Georg Church are situated and took a stroll up to the Wilhelmsburg Castle, a jewel of a Renaissance castle, perched on top of a hill, offering some stunning views over the red rooftops of Schmalkalden. Although the castle is being currently restored, the tranquil park and the views was a perfect end to a truly wonderful day.  

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Hendrik's insider tips for hiking enthusiasts: 

Queste: a little further along the path from the Wilhelmsburg Castle. Wonderful view of Schmalkalden and the mountains of the northwestern Thuringian Forest.

Ehrental: Beautiful and varied hiking trail - with observation platforms and an enclosed deer sanctuary. The Waldhotel Ehrental along the route not only offers regional cuisine but also Braumanufaktur Schmalkalden beer!  

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In my kitchen back in Weimar, I have opened a bottle of Rotbier and am excited to start cooking-up my recipe with this aromatic beer. Notes of lime, melon and mango are subtly present and give this beer an individual flavour. Just perfect for my beer braised pulled-pork tacos with a spicy mango and pineapple salsa.   

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Recipe: Beer-Braised Pulled Pork Tacos and a Spicy Mango and Pineapple Salsa

By Prep
Total Time:
Serves 6


Beer Braised Pulled Pork
  • 2 kg pork neck
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 2 tablespoon peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika powder
  • 1 teaspoon sweet paprika powder
  • 2 garlic cloves
  • 1teaspoon chipotle chilli powder
  • 1 tablespoon cumin seeds
  • 1 large white onion
  • 2-3 carrots, peeled and cut into pieces
  • 1 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce
  • 330 ml Rotbier from Braumanufaktur Schmalkalden (or any other Craft Beer with a fruity note
  • 300 ml pineapple juice
  • 12 Soft Tacos
  • 1 bunch of coriander leaves, chopped


  1. In a spice grinder, grind cumin seeds, thyme, black peppercorns and sea salt. Then add brown sugar, smoked paprika powder, the sweet paprika powder, garlic cloves and chipotle chilli powder and grind into a smooth rub.
  2. Rub the meat generously from all sides with the spice rub. Leave to marinate in the refrigerator for 24 hours. When the meat has rested, peel the white onion and cut into wedges. Chop the Chipotle pepper in adobo sauce. Add to the casserole, the onion wedges and the carrots and rub the meat with the chipotle peppers and some of the adobo sauce. Pour beer and pineapple juice and marinated meat for 30 minutes until the oven is heated.
  3. Close the lid and place the casserole in the preheated oven at 220°C. Reduce the heat to 150 °C after 20 minutes. After 90 minutes, remove the lid and cook for another 2.5 hours. Every 60 minutes turn the meat in the pot. After a total of approx. 4 hours, check if the meat is cooked by using two forks and pulling the meat apart - if it falls apart on its own - it is ready.
  4. Remove the meat from the casserole and allow to rest for another 60 minutes on a plate or baking tray. Finally, use two forks to pull the meat apart gradually adding some meat stock to make it moist.

Spicy Pineapple Mango Salsa
  • 225g pineapple, diced
  • 450g mango, diced
  • 2 ripe avocados, diced
  • 1 jalapeno diced very small
  • 1/2 red bell pepper diced
  • 1/2 red onion diced
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp lime juice
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ½ tsp smoky chipotle pepper


  1. Toss all of the ingredients in a bowl well.
    Assemble the Tacos
    To assemble the tacos: fill the soft tacos with the pulled pork meat, add a good tablespoon or two of the salsa, sprinkle with the coriander leaves. Enjoy with a chilled bottle of Braumanufaktur Rotbier


  • You can spread some sour cream on the tacos for a tangy flavour
  • You can line the tacos with fresh lettuce or baby spinach leaves before adding the meat.
  • You can add guacamole and/or chipotle chilli sauce over the meat.
  • If you are unable to get your hands on a Rotbier from the Braunmanufaktur Schmalkalden, then any craft beer / Red Ale would also work with the pulled pork.


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I not only fell instantly in love with this truly quaint and picturesque town Schmalkalden but was totally enamoured with the pizazz Hendrik and Martin brought along. Probably one of the reasons their craft beer has a little vibrant note to it. It proved to be a great basis for my pulled pork - adding the great fruity flavours to boost the aromas. I love the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce added into the meat - this adds a fiery but beautiful earthy flavors.

Hope you enjoyed my travel and report through my hometown.

Follow me on more travels and more food through Thuringia here on What’s For Lunch, Honey?

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  1. I love craft beer but have never used it in cooking. Great idea, your pork looks so good! I love these old German towns. Scmalkalden looks so quaint! I've never been there or to Weimar, but I have a weimaraner!

  2. This is my kind of meal! It looks SO good!

  3. First off those tacos look SO GOOD! But those photos of the buildings are absolutely gorgeous! You make me want to go!---Kristina

  4. What an amazing journey...I would have loved to taste all the beers from the tasting. And to use and pair the beers with the pulled pork tacos sounds wonderful. I will have to put this destination on my bucket list.

  5. This recipe sounds fantastic and the travel photos are breathtaking... Beautiful.

  6. We also have more brewers here trying to create local craft beers using fruity flavors and unique ones. It gets more interesting when they use all-natural ingredients.

  7. I'm craving those tacos even thought it's every early in the morning. They look delicious! It's exciting to read how the concept of the brewery came to be and how it started small and has grown so much. I know the owners must be so proud!

  8. That looks absolutely fantastic! What better way to enjoy a place that beautiful but with beer and delicious tacos. I would totally do this myself.

  9. I'd rather drink the beer than cook with it. Someday I want to visit Germany. It is so beautiful!

  10. These tacos look so yummy. I know my family would enjoy this recipe. Looking forward to making it for them.

  11. Oh man, these are my kind of tacos. They look delicious! This area is so lovely. I'm not a fan of beer, but I would so stuff my face with tacos.

  12. Beautiful pictures and oh my that food looks so good. Beer always marinates meat so well.

  13. Sweetie saw the pictures and made BB go very S-L-O-W-L-Y through your post. Not sure which he liked more, the town pics or the taco pics, but either way don't be surprised if he shows up on your doorstep. BB2U

  14. I love cooking with beer. It really gives a nice flavor to meat. I can't wait to give this a try. The spicy salsa sounds heavenly.

  15. I don't even like pork but these look AMAZING. I may have to rethink my choices and try this out.

  16. That town looks so charming! Beautiful! Your tacos looks amazing and delicious. I can just taste it!

  17. Tacos are my favorite thing. I don't think that I have ever met a taco that I didn't like! Haha!

  18. Now this sounds like a recipe my husband would enjoy since he likes to have a beer every once in a while. I agree with Tammy beer really do marinate well with meat, my husband uses it for his ribs all the time. This looks so good!

  19. Not only do these tacos look amazing, that salsa topping would be a great accompaniment! I love a good salsa on my tacos.

  20. This looks so great! I love pineapple mango salsa and these pulled pork tacos seem so good. I'd love to make these next week!

  21. Awesome trip if you ask me! Really appreciate you sharing your adventure with all of us. And the backstory of that brewing company is definitely engaging! Thanks for the recipe as well!!

  22. Ahh the sound and look of that is super delicious! I have never tried braising meat with beer. The salsa is what I am after for lol.

  23. I don't eat meat but I would absolutely make this as a vegetarian option. Those flavors together are probably amazing!

  24. Definitely would love to try this out, I need to take note of the marinating time as well. I love how it was prepared to. Very inviting!

  25. Now, this sounds like a recipe my husband would enjoy since he likes to have a beer every once in a while. I agree with Tammy beer do marinate well with meat, and my husband uses it for his ribs all times. This looks so good

  26. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.


Thank you for visiting What's For Lunch, Honey? and taking time to browse through my recipes, listen to my ramblings and enjoy my photographs. I appreciate all your comments, feedback and input. I will answer your questions to my best knowledge and respond to your comments as soon as possible.

In the meantime I hope you enjoy your stay here and that I was able to make this an experience for your senses.