Monday, 1 September 2008

What Austrian Beer?


Our next schlep was a mountainous ride over spectacular scenery to Hittisau in Austria. It involved a lot of walking up precipitously steep hills pushing a bike and even more grumbling - ok plaintive bleating - from me. Heidi would have been right at home as cowbells tinkled and the sun beat down. Every small down was punished by a grim slog uphill with the thought of "I'm paying for this" ringing loud and clear in my tortured mind. A long descent did bring us to our lovely hotel, which seemed to have no obvious way in to it. Front and back had locked doors, Eventually a supercilious Austrian geezer let us in and seemed surprised that I should find a hotel with no way in, less than welcoming. I was tired and dehydrated by then which obviously had a deleterious effect on my temper.

I was too tired to seek beer, so that delight had to wait until our one Michelin starred dinner which got off to a bad start as we were put in the smoking area (Eileen hadn't thought to specify). Another contretemps with our snooty friend had us (reluctantly) moved. Now to beer I thought. Only Krombacher Pils or Franziskaner Hefe Weizen. Damn. I asked about Austrian beer, but none was available. Huh!

The next morning it was raining and Hittisau, apart from a lovely church, had nothing in it whatever. So what do do? The bus to Bregenz on the shores of the Bodensee (Lake Constance) would surely provide better beery offering? Well no. It wouldn't! At least not Austrian ones. I'll cut out a long story of fruitless traipsing round. Austrian Export (also called Helles or Marzen) mainly from Stiegl and Mohren was the best we could do. Otherwise it was German all the way. So we sat in the by now warm, weather watching Zeppelins take off from Friedrichshaven and meander over and back, while supping Meckatzer Hefe Weizen from the Allgäu not many miles away across the border. A final drink at the station got us more undistinguished Mohren Marzen. Doh!

I know there is much better beer than this and that it isn't typical, but it shows the German brewers in this border area at least, are elbowing their Austrian counterparts aside. The perception seemed to be that German beer is better and no-one seemed to care at all.

The first photo was taken on the ride in Germany. No I don't know why there is a (working) British phone box there either!

1 comment:

Velky Al said...

"The first photo was taken on the ride in Germany. No I don't know why there is a (working) British phone box there either!"

Well at least someone appreciates iconic British design, unlike BT.