Wednesday, 6 April 2011

Austria Isn't Germany

When we walked into the somewhat austerely named 1516 Brewpub, I was immediately aware that despite superficial sameness, I was not, as I often am, in Germany, but non rheinheitsgebot Vienna. A huge and almost physical wave of new world hop aroma enveloped me me and almost catapulted me back into the street. They were brewing and C hop aromas were billowing forcefully from the brewery. I was happy. This was very promising.  1516 is the most innovative by far of the many brewpubs in this lovely city. Down a fairly nondescript side street, it has a nice outside seating area in front and is cozy and dark inside. Beware though. Even when fairly empty it is very smoky indeed and you may wish to choose where you sit outside carefully too, as there as inside, the smoker is omnipresent. Nonetheless we sat in the warm spring sunshine amid a huge crew of noisy French speaking Belgians, there to see there football team play Austria in the European Championship. There were two specials on. Eejit Stout is a roasty, dry and tasty number which was excellent but the stunning star of the show was the Victory Hop Devil take off, which was incredibly bitter and resinous and frankly, a bargain at €3.50 a half litre. Simply a cracking beer.

The beer list here changes frequently and I consider myself lucky to have encountered these two, which were as good for the style as I've drunk anywhere.  Of course all cannot be without fault. E felt her unfiltered pils to be the usual trub laden mess.  All the Belgians drank it though.

The food is fantastic here too and in very satisfying portions.


Mark said...

Granted, I did read that quickly, but I don't think you say which city you're in!


Tandleman said...

I didn't did I? Sorted. Thanks for pointing it out.

Mark Andersen said...

3.50 euros a bargain? ... C-hops = innovative? I think you inhanled too much smoke Tandleman. I think you need another trip to Oberfranken to get your mind right.

Tandleman said...

Mark A. Context is all. And another trip to the Oberfranken is always good.

Erlangernick said...

Is that Victory clone thing nearly brown and malty like the original, or more in the vein of Trans-Atlantic *Pale* Ale? Either way, would like to get back and try it again, it's been 6 years now!

Speaking of pale, bitter, and Oberfranken, I'm off today to Griess for the first time this year, as it's warm and I've got the time. If the Keller ain't open, I'll have to slum it with CO2-driven sludge. (He does manage the CO2 well though.)

Erlangernick said...

Slum it in the brewery's little Biergarten, I mean, as opposed to the Keller with the bayerischen Anstich.

Coxy said...

In the next couple of months im doing Manchester next week, Vienna and Glasgow, thanks for to the Reccys first for me,very helpful

Beeron said...

The bizarre thing is that the Gebot is now of course purely voluntary, but over 99% of German brewers still stick to it... a released prisoner still wearing his chains maybe?
1516 is top of my list when I visit Vienna next month. Oh, if only someone in Munich brewed an IPA...

Mark Andersen said...

Beeron, I don't understand this.

Firstly brewing British style ales in Munich does nothing to break the voluntary bondage of the Rheinheitsgebot since those beers are compliant too.

Secondly, I don't understand this desire to see Germany breweries brew styles that are not their own. You don't hear people wishing that English breweries would brew Kellerbiers.

What I'd like to see in Munich, if anything, is a few more smaller breweries that do a better job of brewing Bavarian style beer as opposed to the place being dominated by a few major industrial sized brands.

Really the same goes for the rest of Germany. I'd like them to see them do more of what they do well.

I can understand someone like Nick, who lives there, yearning for nice English Pale Ales but there the solution was to brew them himself and not wait for Roppelt's to come out with an IPA which will never happen and would probably be stupid anyhow. Personally, Roppelts were ever to add another beer to it's lineup of one, I'd rather it be a nice, malty, amberish Vollbier. In other words, something the region is renowned for.

Erlangernick said...

Beeron, Germans believe that German beer is the world's best because it's brewed according to the Rgebot. Keeps the quality and cleanliness high. And a German guy posted somewhere that the average German has a deep seated proud ignorance of beer: Why would one possibly want to know about any other beer than German beer?

After 6 years in Erlangen, I've had to start brewing my own low-gravity pale ale, importing hops from Oregon. I brew at least weekly, if not twice.

Erlangernick said...

Servus Mark!

It took me several years to tire of Franconian beer and this was jump-started by my discovery of real Real Ale in England in the last few years. In my old, Oregon life, I went through a progression of liking hopmonster IPAs -> strong Belgobier -> continental lager before moving to Franconia FWIW.

Before I started brewing myself, we were drinking a mix of Pils and Clausthaler Extra Herb to provide a drinkable low-alcohol beer to imitate 3.5% English ale. Most Lager Leicht here is undrinkable, and even the drinkable ones just simply aren't gut.

Beer tourists to this part of the world should indeed share your views. But turn the question around: Wouldn't you want to see more US brewers brew decent or excellent Kellerbier, or should Yanks only brew NAIL and AIPA? Wouldn't you like to be able to enjoy Kellerbier without having to fly 1/3 the way around the globe?

Goes both ways, I think.

Beeron said...

Hello Mark,
what I said about hankering for the IPA wasn't really related to the gebot point, as of course like you say it's perfectly possible to brew a compliant IPA - Braufaktum Indra, Hopfen-fluch etc are examples. But I think the Gebot is part of the "our beers are best" mentality which stops German brewpubs trying something like the 1516 place is.
If in British pubs you could only ever drink bitter, mild and stout then it would be legitimate to wish that British brewers made a kellerbier, but in a decent British pub you have a choice over a much wider spectrum.
The simple reason I want non-German styles here is that I vastly prefer them to the usual suspects of Helles, Dunkels, not very hoppy Pils and Weissbier, which I got profoundly tired of after a few months here. True, Franconia has some corkers but I can only get up there once a month or so.
I agree about the smaller breweries, Paulaner and the like stink.

boy would I love to try your pale ale! Have you tried Schneider's Hopfen-Weisse by the way?

Mark Andersen said...

Bother, I just made a lengthy reply that just got lost in cyberspace.

Oh well try again.

Beeron and Nick, I can see your point. More variety would be good. I can imagine that if I lived in Munich I'd get really tired of the same old Helles and Dunkel.

Regarding American brewing. I guess I look at that differently since we really don't seem to have our own original brewing culture. Pretty much all of it is inherited from Britain, Germany, and Belgium. Nothing wrong with that but just as it is a melting pot of verious cultures the same goes for the beer.

However would I want to see Kellerbiers brewed here? Well not really. Because I think a good Kellerbier goes hand in hand with a good Keller and we're not about to construct those here in New England anytime soon (much a pity). I'm pretty sure if a local brewery tried to brew a Kellerbier they'd pretty well cock it up and confuse people around here as to what a real Kellerbier is supposed to taste like. Would the same thing happen if a local brewery in Franconia tried to do a British ale?

Of course I like having the occassional imported Kellerbier. This is why I like bars such as Novare Res in Portland, Maine so much where I can occassionally get a nice Spezial U or other Franconian beer on tap. Come to think of it, maybe this is what Munich really needs. A bar or two like Cafe Abseits, Novare Res, Landbierparadies, etc. Where folks like Beeron can get a variety of beers from around Bavaria mixed in with some imports from Britian, Belgium, etc. This is something I'd love to see in Munich. A place where I could sit down and try a beer from Josef Schneider in Essing, then a Dampfbier from the Bavarian Forest, etc.

I've done the same thing as you Nick. Since breweries here in New England don't brew good Franconian style lagers and probably never will, I homebrew them (as best I can).

Mark Andersen said...

Beeron, just wanted to say I had a peruse of your blog and like it a lot. It's exactly what I want to see. Someone living in Germany blogging about the various places you visit and beers tried. We can't seem to get Nick to do it.

Erlangernick said...

Hopfen Fluch...never heard of it. Pity it's so strong, and based on the r8beer comments, I don't think I'll be investing 15€ in a bottle. I'll continue to make the occasional purchase of Brit, Yank, and Belgo beer from and

My ale is actually probably only good for the missus and I, as it's quite hoppy and bitter, and only 1.030 OG / 3% abv. It's an acquired taste, I guess you could say.

A Frankenbierblog from me these days would be pretty depressing, I'm afraid. "Biked 75 minutes to Stiebarlimbach again yesterday, drank 2 Mass(es), found myself wishing it was Hawkshead Pale instead...again."