Ottakringer Brauerei - Vienna Lager
- ABV: 5.3%
- Bottle Size: 500-ml
- Serving Temperature: 45-50° F
- Suggested Glassware: Flute, Pilsner Glass
- Malts: Vienna, Melanoidin
- Hops: Saaz
Known as Wiener Original in its Austrian homeland, Ottakringer’s Vienna Lager is a benchmark of the style and based on a century-old recipe. Winner of gold medals at the 2019 World Beer Awards and the 2017 Austrian Beer Challenge, this brew presents a crystal clear light amber-copper hue topped by an ample head of light beige foam. On the nose, it’s classic Saaz noble hops right away, offering herbal spice notes which meld with light floral, earthy, and mildly woodsy impressions, with just a wisp of lemon rind. A toasty, bready malt undercurrent comes through, as well, delivering a touch of caramelization. On the palate, look for the hops to come alive with grassy, herbaceous spice notes and a dash of citrus peel, all gliding atop a flavorful and robust malt foundation offering notes of lightly toasted biscuits, mild nuttiness, and a touch of honey. The hop bitterness comes through mild to moderate, in perfect balance with the maltiness which offers deeper flavors than what we find in a pilsner, but not so much as to overshadow the hop contribution. For pairing options, the brewery recommends traditional Viennese dishes including schnitzel and roasted pork, and we agree. Prost!
Vienna’s oldest brewery was founded in the district of Ottakring in 1837 by a miller named Heinrich Plank. He purchased the monastery of Klosterneuburg and its eight square kilometers of land in order to build a brewery, an adjoining beer garden, and a dance hall, among other facilities, and he was up and running within a year. However, in considerable debt by 1850, Plank sold the brewery to a pair of Jewish cousins, Ignaz and Jacob Kuffner, who initiated a major overhaul and expansion, with production increasing over 200% within a decade. The success led their family into philanthropy, and among Ignaz’s many social contributions was the establishment of a company kitchen to provide affordable meals to his employees. Ignaz was awarded a hereditary title by Kaiser Franz Joseph I in 1878 in thanks for his contributions to the community.
Growth continued under the leadership of Ignaz’s son, Moritz, but the global economic problems of the 1930s dealt the brewery a major blow. Then, as Austria was annexed by Nazi Germany in 1938, the Kuffners were forced to flee to Switzerland and sell the brewery and associated companies to a friend named Gustav Harmer. The postwar period was tumultuous, with ownership of the brewery in dispute until the Harmer and Kuffner families eventually came to an amicable agreement.
In 1962, the Wenckheim family invested in the brewery and took primary ownership and control. The succeeding decades have witnessed renewed growth, innovation, and accomplishment including the introduction of screw cap toppers, a unique pop top called the “Blopp”, the founding of Ottakring’s annual Festival of Beer Culture, concert sponsorships, and multiple “Brewery of the Year” and gold medal wins from various beer competitions – including 8 golds at the 2019 World Beer Awards. Today, the brewery produces several traditional styles such as Helles, Dunkel, Zwickl, and Vienna Lager, along with their BrauWerk line of global craft styles like IPA, Porter, Flemish Red, and more. For additional info, visit them at www.ottakringerbrauerei.at/en.
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