In Austria, 16-year old teenagers can legally buy beer and other low-alcohol beverages. The average cost of beer in supermarkets is 1 EUR, but you can find discounts and promotions to get it at half price.
Let’s take a closer look at what the Austrian beer market offers.
The oldest traditional beer is Märzen, which translates as the March beer. In 1516, the Bavarian brewing rules mentioned that beer can only be brewed between St. Michael’s and St. George’s days, that is, from September 29th to April 23rd. This was due to the high risk of fire and unsuitable temperatures in other months. Since the beer had to be stored for six months, brewers had to add more hops into it and keep the barrels in a cold stone cellar. This beer is mostly light and contains 5.5-6.5% alcohol.
Austrians prefer the more modern varieties of beer produced with bottom fermentation. This type of beer is called lager and can be stored unpasteurized for up to two years. The well-known Viennese lager is made with Viennese malt, which gives it a reddish hue. The history of lager began almost 200 years ago at the Dreher brewery, but in the late 19th century Austrian immigrants took the recipe to Mexico. The lager production was revived in its homeland only in the 1990s. An example of pale lagers is Pilsner and Ottakringer. The unfiltered keg lager is Zwickl (Keller). Usual alcohol content of lager is 4.5-5.7%.
Bock is a strong beer of various types of fermentation. Depending on the manufacturer, it can be light or dark. This type appeared in the 18th century in monastic breweries in Bavaria. Alcohol content is 6-10%, and in Doppelbock it reaches 12%.
This is a wheat beer produced with top fermentation from wheat malt. An example of it is Edelweiss Weissbier, a brand which originated in Salzburg and now belongs to Heineken. Alcohol content is 4,5-7,1%.
This exotic beer gets its name from the technology of brewing the wort on hot stones. The drink has a smoky aroma and is unfiltered. Several breweries in Austria and Germany still produce it, although it is rather hard to find it on sale. The alcohol content is 4.5-7.2%.
Weihnachtsbier is a strong beer, well-known in Northern Europe since the time of the Vikings. It can be dark, light, top-fermented or bottom-fermented (ale or lager). This beer is traditionally brewed for Christmas and can thus contain spices: nutmeg, cloves, cinnamon, orange peel, etc. Austria has the strongest Christmas beer in the world with up to 14% alcohol content – this is Doppelbock Samichlaus, which is brewed with five types of malt.
Now you know how to choose an Austrian beer. Keep reading our blog to find out about other local foods and drinks!