Archive for the ‘Austria’ Category

According to the Sydney Morning Herald, Norwegian micro (they call it boutique brewery down under) Nøgne Ø was awarded the
Champion Exhibitor trophy, as well as the Champion Small Brewery award at a dinner in Melbourne on Thursday.


No details about which beers they entered in the competition.

Nice to conquer new continents.

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While we all like to quote historical anecdotes about beer being safer to drink than water, there are critical factors in brewing as well. I have joked about the big lager breweries who seem obsessed about the technical side of beer, but, on the other hand, if you don’t have the necessary knowledge and focus on quality, you’ll soon be out of business.

The Austrian Health and Food Agency AGES took a closer look at some of the brewpubs in three regions, Upper Austria, Tyrol and Salzburg, and the results are not very encouraging.

Twelve of the 25 samples were had microbiological defects. Two of these samples were also criticized for not having original gravity as claimed.

The twelve samples had various problems: beer-spoiling bacteria, lactic acid bacteria or unwanted yeast.  Two samples  from Upper Austria contained- rather unusual – Escherichia coli, probably due to an unsanitary tap or leaking equipment.

AGES points out three critical factors for brewpubs:

  • Poorly cleaned pipes and tanks, increased risk of infection with internal components (such as flow meters and valves) .
  • The yeast used, which may be purchased or from the brewery’s own production.
  • The dispensing system; compensation valves are complicated constructions and they are heavy and cumbersome to clean.  Poorly cleaned beer lines will over time form a biofilm, which is not easily removed.

I dare say that these problems are not limited to Austria…


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Erik at Jerrys

Erik at Jerry's

Frederikshavn, Denmark.

During the summer, this is the gateway to Jutland for ferry-loads of Norwegians and Swedes. Year round it is a destination for those who take the overnight ferry from Oslo, with two hours for shopping – meat and booze mostly.

In this pre-Christmas season, most of the passangers seem to be either sleeping it off or still partying, there are rather few of us who queue up to get off at seven thirty.

We get off and the first stop is the breakfast buffet at Damsgaard supermarket. The shop itself has seen better days, but the cafeteria is still good value for money. Before I sit down with my coffee and rolls, I make a phone call.

There is aa new attraction in town for a beer hound – one of the restaurants has started brewing its own beers. I e-mailed them last week, and the manager gave me his mobile number. They are only open in the evening, but he told me we’ll work something out.

I call, and he tells me he will be in the restaurant in five minutes. This being a small town, so I agree to meet him there.

The door to Jerry’s restaurant is open, and Erik is the man behind the bar. He greets me warmly, and he is pleased that there are people interested in what he is doing. He emphasises that he does not consider himself a brewer. His main beers are not aimed at beer connoisseurs, either. They are simply beers aimed at the pilsener market. The pale ale is rather similar to a pilsener, but the top fermentation means that he can cut down on the conditioning period. The red ale is similar to the Danish Classic style, with some more malty sweetness and a darker color than the pilsener.

The restaurant has been running for 17 years, while the brewing only started this year. He had the big advantage of having an established bar/restaurant and knowing exactly how many thousand liters of beers he sells in a year. This made it possible to set up a more realistic business plan than many others who start both the pub and the brewing at the same time.

So far, he has mainly followed the recipes form the company that delivered the brewing eqipment, Fleck’s Brauhaus Technic in Austria. He tells me they also delivered the equipment to Lillehammer Bryggeri, and when I look them up, I find that they also are behind the Pri Kmeta brewpub in Sofia, which I visited last year.

I addition to the advice from the Austrians, Erik also relies on the advice of an experienced home brewer, who knows how to adjust the settings to get the desired results.

I try both the pale ale and the red ale, and, while not outstanding, they are pleasant beers that can be consumed in quantity. The recipes will be adjusted from the next batch. The pale ale will have a more pronounced hoppiness in the finish, and the red ale will have more body and color.

In addition to the two standard beers, there will also be a rotating seasonal beer , and this will be more experimental. Erik was rightly proud of his Christmas brew, a dark beer at 5.1% ABV with a strong anise aroma. The flavour reveals even more spices, it is brewed with star anise, cardamom, cinnamon and other Christmassy spices. This blend well with the dark beer base, with a malty full body.

I don’t usually taste beers at eight in the mornig, but this was a very pleasant experience. I promise to be back to taste his improved beers the next time I am in town.

There are two boxes with bottled beers on the counter, and I ask if I can buy them to take away. Erik insits on giving them to me as a present, and I won’t argue with that.

Then it is off into the frosty winter morning again, but is doesn’t seem so cold any longer!

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Boak and Bailey beat me to it. Sometimes you save a photo for a rainy day. I was thinking about a blog post giving the news about an Austrian cafe in Lodon with draft beer and a rotating range of bottles.

It is even a place for coffee and a piece of torte or strudl.

I was happy to boast that this had slipped under the radar of the London beer bloggers. No more.



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If you are an Austrian soccer player doing your job, that is.

The Ottakringer brewery is promising a lifelong supply of free beer to any Austria player who scores a goal for the co-hosts in their remaining Euro 2008 group matches against Poland and Germany.

Don’t worry. This will definitely not turn into a soccer blog. I couldn’t care less who wins the trophy.

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There are deep worries that Austria will be running out of beer after problems with the supply lines from Germany.

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The mainstream media have a tendency to focus on the Big Issues. The survival of the planet or the Lisbon Treaty or whatever. This means that they rarely have room to champion the small causes. But, luckily, the Times Online has asked one of the important small questions of our time:

Why is beer on planes always warm?

Four long-haul flights in two weeks, two different airlines, same problem: warm beer. What’s that all about? Come on, guys, raise your game. It’s minus 60 out there, so what’s with this tepid froth inside?

For people who have created the technology to propel 300 passengers through the air inside an aluminium cigar tube, it surely cannot be beyond the limits of wit and ingenuity to devise some method of harnessing the cold outside the aircraft to chill the beer inside. What about a little trailer, towed along behind and winched in when required? Or a big fridge, bolted on to the fuselage and accessed via a door inside the cabin?

Ross Anderson is the man who has the courage to ask. Tonight we raise our (warm) beer glasses to Ross.

There are more questions to be raised, including why Lufthansa is dragging along Warsteiner in glass bottles on all their flights. I see there is an argument in favour of glass bottles with deposits, but to lift the glass above the clouds seems to me rather stupid a result of not being able to keep two thoughts in your head at the same time.

In the photo there is a decent can of Ottakringer Helles on an Austrian airlines flight. Pity about the sorry excuse for a meal that came with it.



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