To paraphrase Goethe's description of his arrival in another island city, it was written on my page in the Book of Fate to drink my first Franconian beer at Brauerei Fässla in Bamberg.
The train from Nuremberg got in at half past ten and Spezial, the other pub on the route to my hotel, shuts at ten (actually, when I arrived in Obere Königstrasse the Höfla, the small courtyard at the back of Spezial, was still open with drinks being served through the Schenke, the off-sales window, but it was the tap room inside that I really wanted to see.)
Fässla is a long pub with a stone-paved drinking corridor as you go in and a tap room to the side which is where I seated myself. I already knew that the wooden barrels on the bar were fakes concealing keg taps but they still looked quite impressive nonetheless. The tap room was dotted with rural looking locals who reminded me of the scene in the opening chapter of The Castle by Franz Kafka when K. arrives at the village inn where "Einige Bauern waren noch beim Bier" ("Some farmers were still sitting over their beer"). The closing time of eleven o'clock came and went without anyone making to leave and the bar still serving.
Rather than the draught Lagerbier, I tried a bottle of Zwergla. It's described as a Dunkles Märzen but is more dark amber and quite hoppy, a bit like an English best bitter I thought.