Years Back - Vienna and Brataslavia.

Vienna's near northside hosts the Erste Wiener Gasthaus und Brauerei. Yellow of course, like all good Austrian buildings. This hosts Fischer and their Fischer Brau brewhouse in a back 1-story windowed pavillion behind the terrace. The Gasthaus is a very busy local hangout with jazz, blues, and classical music on Saturday night and Sunday afternoons.

The Brauerei makes only Fischer Helles - Yellow, unfiltered, organic, pure malt very balanced between hops and malt but unbiting. Very fresh.

Vienna's other brewpub is the Seven Stern Brewery (7Sternbrau) on Siebensternstrasse (Seven Stern Street). It's near the old section of town down a side street. A big place with an attentive staff. "Wurde im Jahr 2000 vom englischen bierguru <<Beerhunter>> M. Jackson zuden Sieben beste Osterreichischen biere gazhalt".

Their 7 beers:
  • Bamberger Rauchbier - Bamberger malt. Dark cordovan. Mild smoke helps crisp the beer rather than give the main theme. 5.2%
  • Prager Dunkles - Dark brown with a long lasting creamy tan head. Thick and sweet. Filling. Roasty malt.
  • IPA - They were out.
  • Chilli - PAY ATTENTION HERE - ABV - 4.8%.Style - Hell (in more ways than one). IBU - who cares? Measure it in Scofield units, it's about the same as jalapeno pepper. The waiter served two beers and said "be careful of the chilli". It's made with little red peppers. "Fur chilli freaks und mitglieder des clubs". Order a pretzel with this one.
  • Marzen - Typical. Good. 5.2%.
  • Wiener Helles - Long lasting white head. Bitter helles. Saaz hops. Pils yeast. 4.8%.
  • Hanf - Made with hemp seeds and belladonna in a "style brewed since the 16th century". Puckering dry yet very rich. Aroma of butter and green beans, but not vegetal.

A block down the Siebensternstrasse is Centimeter II which has 8 beers on tap. A worthy visit.

There are barley fields aplenty in northern Austria. They don't smell as good as malted barley though.Sebastian Stroh Obst Schnaps. 35%. Clear. Smooth with no throat burn. Apple and pear on the label. Some actual apple/pear in the drink - tough to tell with any schnapps. I'd buy it again and would probably keep a bottle at home.
Other beers tasted:
  • Hof Brau Munchner - At the Eagles Nest in Berchtesgaden. Skunked very fast in the sun.
  • Konig Ludwig Dunkel - From Schlossbrauerei Kaltenberg, Furstenfeldbruck. Creamy and sweet. Sweet malt and sugar sweetness combined.
  • Erdinger Hefeweiss (from Bayern, Germany) - Very mild with no citric notes.
  • Andecher Dunkel (from a Benedictine cloister in Andech) - Malty brew. Chewy and very sweet.
  • Ottakringer Dunkles (from Vienna) - Chocolately aroma and lingering taste. Ottakringer brewery dates back to 1837.
  • Kapstreiter Landbier (from Sharding, Austria) - Golden hell with Tettnanger hops. More creamy.
  • Edelweiss Hefetrub Klarweiss - From Hofbraw Kaltenhausen. Very typical fresh German weiss with strong banana. Since 1475.

Slovakia is obviously a post-war country and Brataslava where we spent a four days showed not only the old dilapidation but also the dour attitude of the people. At the small museum inn town we were followed around by an old woman who's job making sure we didn't steal anything was more important than her knitting.

  • Staropramen 12º - Deep gold. On tap with a thin white head and good carbonation. Maybe the best East European beer I've ever had (and that's not saying a whole lot since I really don't appreciate the style). Creamy. Bitter that seems like Noble German hops rather than the slightly skunky, slightly soapy bitterness many Czech, Polish, Russian beers have.
  • Zlaty Bazant - On tap downtown. A quick, pleasant hit of caramel sweetness. Followed by a hop bitter finish. Maybe I'll need to rethink the style.
  • Zlaty Bazant - In a bottle at a Jewish Pension/restaurant. Uggggh. Now I remember why I don't like the style. It's not good in bottles - but this one was produced on February 8th.
  • Zlaty Bazant tmany - Dunkel. On tap and maybe stale. Oxidation built very quickly in the glass and I didn't finish it.
  • Pivovar Cerna Hora - On tap. Bold yellow copper color. Thick white head. Adequate carbonation. Passable bitter east European lager. Not much more to say about it.
  • Kelt 12º -  On tap. YAEEL (yet another east European lager) but creamier than most. Got skunky fast even on a cloudy day under an umbrella.
  • Pilsner Urquell - Bottled. Same as at home - very hoppy.

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