Apparently Ireland were playing Austria in kickball the other evening. Fair play to them. Of far more interest to me was the launch of some Austrian beer in Ireland. Stiegl are being introduced to Ireland by Carlow Brewing. They had a launch in the very civilised surroundings of Café En Seine early Sunday afternoon.
Michael Schmitzberger is Stiegl’s Export Director and a Beer Sommelier and he was there to talk to the assembled bloggers, blaggers, and to steal the Beer Nut’s word; liggers! He told us that the brewery is independently owned since 1492 and that they produce a million hectolitres of beer and year. If you’re insistent on categorising breweries then I wish you luck with that one, they’re not an evil Macro giant and they’re certainly not Johnny come lately craft. The obvious comparison would be with some of the more august German breweries. No matter, they seem to be very committed to producing quality beer and apparently Heinrich Dieter Kiener the owner is very hands on.
The first beer I tried was the Weisse. This one goes down a treat with Germans holidaying in Austria and I’m not surprised. It’s a very good example of the style. Spoiler alert: it was my favourite!
Next up was Goldbräu, which Michael described as a Märzen Lager. I had several pints of it on a visit to Salzburg many years ago, never once suspecting that it would one day be available in Sean’s Bar in Athlone. (It’s on draught there now, in case that wasn’t clear.) Anyway it’s a grand easy drinking beer, made for having a few pints.
The Grapefruit Radler comes in at a mere 2% and is Stiegl’s biggest seller in the USA. I could quite happily drink it for breakfast.
We were lucky enough to get to try Stiegl’s 2016 Seasonal Special: Sonnenkönig III; a Barrel Aged Double Chocolate Oatmeal Porter. I say we were lucky because there were only around 2,000 bottles produced. It was very unusual, strong with a boozy warmth and rich fruit flavours. I’m not sure you could drink a lot of it but it was good to be able to get a sample.
The Columbus 1492 followed that, Christopher’s voyage coinciding with the brewery’s foundation. It’s a fairly straightforward Pale Ale but it went down nicely after the strong special.
Finally I finished with the Max Glaner’s Wit. A pleasant summery beer, I can imagine it going well with light fish dishes.
That was quite enough drinking for me on a Sunday afternoon. I made my excuses and met my family for an excursion to the National Gallery.
I was a guest of Carlow Brewing, thanks folks for looking after me so well, it was a very enjoyable event. Sláinte!