Brauerei Schloss Eggenberg - Hopfenkönig
Serving Temperature:42-47° F
Suggested Glassware:Pilsner Glass, Stange, Flute
Hopfenkönig, meaning “hop king”, pours a bright pale golden color capped by a robust head of white foam that persists well and drops some lace. On the nose, look for a prominent undertone of biscuit-like malt, overlaid by a hop profile that’s quite grassy and earthy, lightly herbal and spicy, and shot through with a hint of lemon. On the palate, we liked this brew’s balance between malt and hop character. That bready, biscuity aroma character comes through nicely in the flavor too, offering a doughy core component that forms a sturdy backbone while staying light on its feet. There’s a distinctly Central European hop character here, offering brightness and zing with touches of lemon and melon, herbaceous grassiness, some white pepper, and maybe even a dash of green apple. German-style pilsners like this are quite food-friendly, so pairing options are many. Classic Austrian and German sausages and schnitzel are a no-brainer, along with pizza, hot dogs, burgers, and grilled chicken or pork. Crabcakes are another option, as is a salad of spring greens or a snack of orchard fruits. Prost!
The “schloss”, or castle, of Eggenberg has stood near the town of Vorchdorf since the year 971. Located north of the Alps in a region known as Salzkammergut, the castle takes its name from the family of a 12th century knight named Tiemo von Eggenberg. Brewing at the castle has been documented as far back as the 1300s. The house of Eggenberg owned the castle until 1524 when it came into the possession of the Ferberger family. After several other owners over the subsequent decades, Schloss Eggenberg was sold in 1681 to the Kremsmunster monastery, which began commercial brewing at the site that same year, as monasteries often did in those times.
The current family brewing dynasty began in 1803 when Johann Georg Forstinger bought the brewery. His son, Johann Georg Forstinger, Jr. – being a great lover of beer – bought the brewery from his father just three years later. Since then, it’s been passed down through the family from one generation to the next, and since 2011 has been run by Hubert Stöhr, representing the eighth generation.
For the greatest breweries in the world, a source of exceptional water is a key feature of their success. Schloss Eggenberg has the good fortune of being located adjacent to three springs providing fresh and ultra-pure ice age glacier water. Additionally, the brewery sources all of its barley locally in Austria, with Weinviertel in Lower Austria providing grain in the summer and Upper Austria providing grain in the winter. All hops are sourced from hop farmers in the historic hop growing region of Upper Austria known as Mühlviertel.
Schloss Eggenberg currently produces 15 different beers including märzen, dunkel, and bock, among other styles, as well as this month’s selection, Hopfenkönig. They also produce the famous Samichlaus, a 14% ABV world classic only brewed on December 6th each year, and one of the strongest lagers produced anywhere.
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