It seems that along with Zipfer and Gösser, the other main megaswill of the Austrian beer market is Stiegl. Recently I gave my spiel on Stieglbock which went down quite nicely on a cold evening. Well the Stiegl Pils (4.9% abv) is also a cracking brew. Noticeable features are a crisp bitter finish. Again I was drunk when I had this particular beer. Ieven forgot to take a photo myself, so I have stolen one. It really was a boozy Christmas. Website
On Christmas day we had dinner in a lame pizza joint that was the only place in Salzburg that we could find that was open. They only had one beer available and although I was pissedup enough that I didn’t need it, I oblidged anyway. The beer was called Wieninger bier and it loosly falls into the pilsner category, You can read more about it here (if you can read German).
Regular readers are probably asking why I have not yet moved onto the promised new format. Well basically I have been pretty busy in real world stuff and the in-laws are still dominating the floorspace of my humble flat. I also am getting a little tired of the format and longing to mix it up, but being true to my original aim for the blog, I will document every different beer I had in 2008 even if it makes me look more and more like a ticker. I didn’t set out to make this my personal version of rate beer and I am hardly re-inventing the wheel in terms of beers I have been getting down my neck.
Kaltenhausen, a small, idyllic village at the foot of the Untersberg, located in the middle of the Alps, not far from Salzburg in Austria. It is here that in 1475, the “Kalte Bräuhaus” was founded by the Salzburg mayor and judge, Johann Elsenhaimer. Following Elsenhaimer’s death in 1498, the brewery became the property of the court chamber of the prince archbishop of Salzburg for the next three centuries, before being purchased by the Electress Marie Leopoldine.
In 1898, the Deutsche Bank bought the flourishing company, turning it into “Aktiengesellschaft Brauerei Kaltenhausen” in 1901. In 1921, Hofbräu Kaltenhausen became one of the founding firms in the former BRAU AG (today BRAU UNION ÖSTERREICH AG). In other words, the brewery can look back on over 500 years of brewing tradition!
Apart from the privilege of being the oldest brewery in Salzburg, Hofbräu Kaltenhausen is also the oldest brewer of weissbier in Austria. The history of brewing weiss- and weizenbier at the Hofbräu dates back 350 years and is therefore longer than that of the majority of Bavarian weissbier breweries.
This tradition was revived in 1986, with the launch of the „Edelweiss“ weissbier brand. Today, Edelweiss is market leader in the segment of weissbier in Austria, and has a very strong presence in countries like France, Russia, Hungary, Italy and the U.K.
Zipfer is the defining Austrian megaswill. I can remember my first encounter with the stuff in 2002. Back then I was ‘beer’ ignorant and brewed kit and kilo beers because it made for cheap drinking! It was on a Contiki tour and I was staying in the Austrian Tirol and I nearly got in a fight with a dick head from Melbourne called Logan because I had cut his grass. The girl was certainly not worth fighting over!
I think Franziskaner Weissbier is the last of the big Bavarian wheat beers that I had yet to have in 2008. I had at some point or another managed to stumble over the rest! Anyhow, I located this particular offering in my hotel bar. Once again, while the rest of the out-laws got stuckin to hot chocolate, I held true and went for a beer. I am pretty sure this was a Christmas beer and it was still snowing outside. I think it tasted nice, but I was suitably lubed up by this point! http://www.franziskaner.com/
On Christmas day, in a effort to escape the cold, and snow, I headed to a nice small bar terrace located on the roof of the Stein Hotel, Salzburg. From an uninspiring beer menu I ordered a bottle of König Ludwig Dunkel which appeared to be the only non mega swill available.
In Germany and German speaking countries, Christmas celebrations normally are held on Christmas Eve rather than Christmas Day. In Salzburg, this especially holds true and I ended up with a glass of Erdinger Dunkel in my hands at the bar of the Sheraton Hotel.
On the way back to the hotel, I ducked into a Spar supermarket and bought a couple of beers for later on. The first of these I picked up was Paracelsus Zwickl (5% abv), an unfiltered beer similar in style to dampf beer or Australian sparkling ale. This particular one is produced by Stieglbrau, which seems to be the dominant brewery in Salzburg.
This very special beer is brewing at its best using a sophisticated recipe combined with love and dedication. Stiegl only uses excellent ingredients from Austrian agricultural suppliers, applying biological techniques. As a result of this Paracelsus Zwickl beer was awarded the Bio-Austria certificate. Bio-production is subject to strict yearly controls by “Austria-Bio-Guaranty”.
“Bier is a really divine medicine”. This quotation comes from Paracelsus (1493 – 1541). He was a well known physician, forward thinker and visionary who lived in Salzburg for many years. He found out that beer had healing powers.
Advice from our Gourmet Chef for food pairings:
The Paracelsus Zwickl is a beer to satisfy thirst and ideally to accompany meals such as beef, lamb, venison, goose and duck.”
To escape the cold after the effects of the Steiglbock had run it’s course, we headed into some lame smoke filled café for dinner. It was a huge menu which consisted of Lasagna or Weiner Schnitzel – tough choice. I had the Schnitzel and a Trumer Pils to wash it down. Trumer Pils seems to be a bit of an Austrian version of mega swill. Fair enough it’s mass produced, but it still kicks the absolute pants off anything produced by Scottish and Newcastle.
After the ‘hot chocolate’, we headed out to have a look at the Christmas markets located in the old town. It didn’t take my wife long to locate the stall selling giant pretzel shaped donuts. I didn’t mind buying her one as it gave me the opportunity to pick myself up a bottle of Stieglbock (7% abv), which was suitably appropriate to warm my freezing bones and coax my testicles down from the space that would have been reserved for ovaries if I was born female. Anyhow, the beer was nice. A powerful combination of malt/malanoids and alcohol. My only complain was the fact that it was freezing cold and this influenced the beer and did not allow me to truly ‘taste’ the beer. By freezing, I mean there was actual icicles forming in the beer, so colder than your local JDW serves up a cheap pint of GK IPA. Website