Wednesday, 21 October 2015

#294: Vienna

The Vienna portion of the trip lasted a measly two days, one of them a Sunday, so there was hardly enough time for tourists to scratch the surface of what the city has to offer in general sightseeing, let alone explore the beery underbelly.
That said, the first order of business in a new city is dinner, and on holidays, dinner is always accompanied by a beer. In this case it was the house tap Stiegl Goldbräu; a gold lager that lands somewhere between a Helles and a German Pils, being closer to the former with its sweet biscuit grain and golden syrup backbone. It's nothing special but it makes for good quaffing with a heap of pasta. 
Hausmarke 4

The following afternoon we stumbled upon a market of food and drink stalls in the small open space in front of Vienna's formidable Rathaus. A hearty veggie burger and fries here made the Ottakringer Helles seem better than it was, though for its malty heft you pay the price of unjustifiable booziness. At 5.2%, this seems like a poor return.

Speaking of Ottakringer, elsewhere in the square the Viennese brewer had a large bar of its own, pouring various Ottakringer varieties as well as a handful of 'craft' styles under their Brauwerk moniker. This is Hausmarke 4, a Flanders Red. Hazy rust is how it looks, and with no real aromatic punch to speak of, its taste is pretty mild too; more akin to a slightly soured dunkel or dunkelweiss than a purposefully sour beer of any description. Red berries and light toffee is as interesting as it gets, with the only true positive being that, so far is it from an authentic Flanders Red that there's absolutely no threat of balsamic vinegar. Alas, the threat of tasting like anything else is also mostly empty.

Hop Devil
Wandering around the city we stray close to 1516, and it would awfully rude not to drop by. It's a decent cosy setup by the bar until everything smells like the cigarette smoke you're stewing in. Still, they do offer some non-smoking seating upstairs, so be prepared to do some walking if you want a few drinks. As an aside, how people are still OK with eating, drinking and above all working in a cloud of someone else's smoke is beyond me. To each their own, I guess. 
I start with Hop Devil, a beer that sounds familiar because it's named for and based on the Hop Devil from Victory. It comes a slightly murky orange with a thick white slice and downstairs it smells like the sting of cigarette smoke. Carrying it upstairs, it reveals some nice lemon sherbert that cheers me up no end. Sweet and juicy orange, lemon and a decent burst of bitter tangerine astringency makes it a pretty delicious pint.
I also had my Kimber upstairs, and this amber ale is also a murky apparition that smells of nothing and tastes of little too; caramel, a bland ghost of toffee, light Vienna malt and some soft, pillowy sweetness. It wouldn't even make in interesting red ale, which says quite a lot.

It was time to move on, and with just a late evening left in Vienna we could only manage a few minutes in 7 Stern, another Viennese brewpub. The Märzen was a toffee malt backboned bland jug that really wasn't anything to speak of, so, I won't. On that sorry note and with my palate falling asleep, it was time to call it a day.

Munich was even shorter than Vienna, essentially only included in the trip for its flight to Cork. As such, I put away the beer book and started drinking beers I'd had already and enjoyed in the past.

It's been a bit of a slog, and if you've read these posts you're a real trooper. Normal service resumes with the next post.

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