Beer guide to Austria
Lots in common with its German neighbours, but enough to differentiate
Austrian Brew: Austrian beers have a lot in common with their South German or Bavarian counterparts, but their varied brewing style is what differentiates their flavour. In Austria, only beers brewed to at least 5 per cent alcohol are labelled full strength with anything 4 per cent or under labelled as light, or as the bottle would say, "leicht".
Brews to look out for
Dunkel: A dark, sweet lager weighing containing 5.5 per cent alcohol content with hints of spice.
Märzen: This is the Austrian word for Lager, which is the everyday beer of most breweries and is a malty, relatively mildly hopped golden beer containing 5 to 5.5 per cent ABV.
Pils: This is the second-most common type of beer, especially on draught. Pale yellow in colour, very light in body, and relatively high in alcohol; the flavour leans more towards spice rather than being a straight bitter.
Gold beer: This range of brews is more bitter and fuller bodied. Some say they’re comparable to American premium beers such as Bud or Miller.
Spezialbier: These are about 6 per cent, pale yellow, full-bodied, malty and hoppy.
Bock: Amber or pale brown containing 6.5-7 per cent alcohol with a very full body and bittersweet flavour.
Weizen or Weissbier: German-style wheat beers containing about 5 per cent alcohol are also brewed in the west of Austria and are either pale yellow or amber in colour. The flavour is light and spicy with a very mild hop taste.
Keller or Zwickl: Unfiltered (cloudy) complex flavoured lager beers, which are unlikely to be found at an airport bar as they’re more delicate than standard beers and require special storage.
Thirst quencher: If ever in doubt for what to drink, just ask for a Pils!
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Updated April 2013