Tag Archives: Austria

Day 8 – Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg – Silver Bottle Beer

I’m glad to see that the weather decided to calm down a bit. It’s been a blustery couple of days and the snow has been wreaking havoc on the roadways. The beers the past couple of days have been great, and combine that with all the great stuff happening in the beer community here in Winnipeg, it’s hard to let that weather keep you down.

I’m looking forward to getting back in and following up with many of the breweries open and opening to see how things are progressing. The new year is looking up for new beer. The 8th beer of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar comes to us from Austria once again. It’s Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg’s Silver bottle Märzen Beer.

Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg is located in Vorchdorf, Austria. While beer has been brewed on the same site since the 14th century, the current brewery was founded in 1803 by Johann Georg Forstsinger and has been family run ever since. They take great pride in having been run by the same family for over 200 years and you can see a timeline of those who ran the brewery on their website here.

Currently the brewery is being run by Hubert Stohr who took over in 2011. Hubert has a M.Sc in Food and Beverage Management and has used these skills to continue to modernize the practices of the brewery and continue to produce high quality beer. Following three core values: Respect our past, innovate for the future, use only the highest quality ingredients, Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg has built a reputation for itself as being well trained, well brewed, and provide exemplary service to its customers.

The beers themselves are brewed by Brewmaster Thomas Lugmayr and two assistant brewers. All three were trained at the Doemens Academy in Munich and use these skills to brew what they describe as “liquid gold”. Always considering what other beer styles they can create, the Thomas and his team have access to barrels, a long storage cellar, and the latest technologies for quality control and brewing.

Once again we run into a bit of an issue with determining the style of beer. So, I’ll explain the two most likely possibilities. From my research it is either a Pale Lager (like a Helles or an Euro version of an American Lager), or it is a Marzen beer.

There are quite a few differences between these two styles. If the bottle was not made of aluminum and impossible to see through, colour would be a good help at making the determination. While Pale Lagers are typically light, clear and golden in colour, Märzens are typically a more amber colour due to the greater malt content.

Pale Lagers may often have adjuncts in them like corn or rice. Think Molson or Budweiser. Märzens are a beer that was traditionally brewed in March due to the lack of refrigeration, and aged until the Oktoberfest celebration. Both will follow a lagering process of cold conditioning. The term “lager” means “storeroom” or “warehouse” in German.

The bottle is pretty cool. I’m curious to see what this beer looks and tastes like.

Appearance – Pale straw colour with a 1” white head that leaves some lacing on the edge of the glass.
Smell – Grainy pale malt, grassy notes, smells a bit like corn.
Taste – Moderately sweet with a grassy hop bitterness.
Mouth feel – Light body, medium carbonation, off-dry finish that leaves a slight grassy bitterness lingering.
Overall – Basically tasted like Budweiser or Molson. Typical macro style lager.
Do I like it?
– Nope. To me it was basically like drinking a Molson or a bud. I do not enjoy those beers at all and I certainly did not enjoy this one.

 

 

Day 6 – Privatbraurei Loncium – Sweet Krampus

It is a snowy day out there today. It’s the first storm of the year and it’s bringing with it the beautiful winter landscape that we’ve come to know and love/hate here in Winnipeg. I’m pretty darn glad I got my winter tires put on yesterday, otherwise it would have been a rough one today.

At least there is beer to look forward to and today’s is one that sounds rather interesting. Day 6’s beer is a Belgian Strong Ale from Privatbraurei Loncium from Kötschach-Mauthen, Austria. I’ve relied a lot on Google Translate today as their website is exclusively in Austrian. It’s also another repeat brewery as they had a beer in the 2014 edition of the Craft Beer Advent Calendar. Read about that one here.

Loncium is located in Kötschach-Mauthen, a picturesque village located near the Italian border. They are able to source their raw materials for their beer from within their village. They use these materials to brew the best beers they can and they’ve been recognized on a number occasions with gold, silver and bronze medals for many of their beers.

Having opened in 2007 the brewery has steadily expanded adding more fermenters and tanks to allow for an expanded range of beers. Describing themselves as being as far away from the corporate breweries as you can get, they focus on hand crafting each of their beers. As the regions first brewery, they have connected with the craftsmanship that has existed in the region since the 1700s. The brewery is equipped with the most modern equipment and the beers are fermented in open vats.

Currently Loncium produces 11 beers ranging from a classic Bavarian style pilsner, Schwarze Gams (take on a Bock), to a Rauchbier (smoked beer). You can check out their full range of beers here. The brewery also has a guest house attached to it and it’s possible to stay right on site. If you’re ever thinking of travelling around Austria, what better place to stay than a hotel connected to brewery.

It was actually quite hard to determine exactly what style of beer Sweet Krampus is. Ratebeer had it listed as a Belgian Strong Ale, Beeradvocate had it as a winter warmer, and Untappd had it listed as a sweet/milk stout. The breweries website did not have this beer listed, but, I did finally find my answer in a video posted to Youtube by the brewery. It’s actually a pretty awesome video and I encourage you to watch it. From that I can confirm that Untappd was right and Sweet Krampus is a sweet stout brewed with orange and cinnamon.

As I’ve said many times on this blog, stouts are one of my favorite styles of beer. Stouts are a dark beer made using roasted malts (or roasted barley), hops, water and yeast. Traditionally the term stout was used to describe the strongest (most alcoholic) porters, typically around 7-8%, produced by a brewery. The name ‘stout’ referred to the often stouter bottles these brews were sold in, which eventually became the term used to describe the style of beer.

There are numerous sub-styles of stouts ranging from Dry Stouts, to Porters, and Oyster stouts and my favorite, Imperial Stouts. While they had lost popularity after the First World War, they’ve started to have a bit of an upswing due to the growing popularity in craft beer and breweries. Stouts are very versatile, allowing for a lot of creativity in adjuncts and flavouring. You can see a number of craft breweries playing with stouts regularly. Higher alcohol stouts also often age well, making them a wonderful cellaring beer.

This particular stout is known as a “sweet stout,” which are much sweeter and less bitter than most other stouts. This is a traditionally English style of stout developed in the early 1900s as a tonic for invalids and nursing mothers. Originally called Milk or Cream stouts, this designation is no longer permitted in England (even if it is everywhere else) and the name derives from the use of lactose, or milk sugar, as a sweetener in the beer.

The sweetness in most “Sweet Stouts” comes from a lower bitterness level than most other stouts and a high percentage of unfermentable dextrin. Lactose, an unfermentable sugar, is frequently added to provide additional residual sweetness. Let’s get to the beer.

Appearance – Black with hues of red and an off-white head that fades quickly leaving a thin whisp.
Smell – Smells of orange, chocolate, subtle coffee, cinnamon, and roasted malt.
Taste – Semi-sweet with caramel notes, orange and earthy spices. Hints of black coffee bitterness and a slightly sugary/metallic cinnamon after taste.
Mouth feel – Medium-bodied mouthfeel with low carbonation. Smooth with a little bit of a spice near finish and a brown sugar sweetness that lingers.
Overall – A decent beer. Good sweetness that isn’t overpowering that works together with the spice notes. While it did have a slightly odd metallic cinnamon note to it, the beer does a good job hiding its 7% ABV and presents some good flavours.
Do I like it?
– I did like it. The metallic note on the finish was a bit off putting. As you drink the beer, the taste seems to fade a bit into a subtler spice note. This wasn’t as full-bodied as I typically like my stouts, but overall I did enjoy it.

 

 

Craft Beer Advent Calendar – Day 14

Beer 14

We are now on the 14th day of the beer advent calendar.  I wanted to take a minute to remind you that I will be travelling and so I will not be reviewing the last 5 beer until I return from my trip.  I will be having the opportunity to try some unique beers and will be taking notes on them so that I can blog about those as well.

For today’s beer we have flown back across the ocean and have arrived in Austria.  The brewery Loncium, located in the village of Kötschach-Mauthen, Gailtal, Carinthia, near the Italian border has produced the beer that we will be trying today.

The brewery itself was founded in 2007 and has been expanding since then.  They are far away from being any sort of corporation and take to heart the nature of craft beer by producing small batches of what they like to call “artisanal beer.”

They don’t provide many details of themselves on their website but they do talk a lot about craft beer and the importance of it.  They even go into its history and paint a wonderful picture of small batch brewing.  The beer that we have the pleasure of trying today is the Imperial Schwarze Gams or an Imperial Dark Bock.

Bocks are a style of beer that are dark in colour, malted, and lightly hopped.  They were first brewed in the 14th century by German brewers.  Originally brewed in Einbeck, the style was named for that town.  When it spread to Bavarian region the inhabitants mispronounced the name as “ein Bock” (a billy goat) and thus was born the beer we now call bock.  As a visual pun to this mistake, most bocks have a goat on the label.

In Austria, where this beer is from, Bocks are typically only brewed at Christmas and Easter time which makes its inclusion in the advent calendar no coincidence.  I’m excited to give it a try, so let’s get to it.

Rating: 80/100

Appearance:  Pours a clear dark brown with a short loose tan head that diminishes rapidly leaving a thin skim.
Smell: Mild smoke, floral notes, chocolate, vanilla, and liquorish notes on the nose.
Taste: Sweet taste that combines well with mild smoke and bitterness to provide a complex flavor profile that includes the vanilla and chocolate notes as well.
Overall: Body is a little light for a bock but the sweetness and balance make up for that.  The beer is an excellent addition and is great for these cold winter months. Good example of a bock from Austria.
Do I like it: I’ve really grown to appreciate bocks.  There malty flavor profiles and complexity bring a lot to the table and are very flavourful.  This one does not disappoint and I did rather like. I would be happy buying this one.