A Good Beer Blog


Have you read The Unbearable Nonsense of Craft Beer - A Rant in Nine Acts by Alan and Max yet? It's out on Kindle as well as Lulu.

Maureen Ogle said this about the book: "... immensely readable, sometimes slightly surreal rumination on beer in general and craft beer in particular. Funny, witty, but most important: Smart. The beer geeks will likely get all cranky about it, but Alan and Max are the masters of cranky..."

Ron Pattinson said: "I'm in a rather odd situation. Because I appear in the book. A fictional version of me. It's a weird feeling."


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Knut -

I also remember this as a fairly standard lager, despite the umlaut and everything. At RateBeer it is classfied as a premium lager, though you can always discuss the concept premium!

I am off to Austria in a few weeks, and hope to be able to report on some more exotic beers than this. Quite a few brewpubs around Vienna, according to my sources.

Alan -

Fabulous! Maybe "premium" is one of those red flag words. It is certainly a beer I would pick out of another's fridge over a Labatt Blue due to that richness but I would buy many others before it for my own cooler.

Ron Pattinson -

There´s a good reason why Stiegl-Goldbräu is called a Märzen, despite not being amber, toasty or 5.8% ABV. I would tell you, except you probably wouldn´t believe me.

Here´s a hint from Michael Jackson:


Knut -

Interesting. So, there should be separate categories for German and Austrian Märtzen, perhaps.

Alan -

Interesting and well-sourced fact, Ron. That's the spirit! Knut, now you have a theory to pursue on your trip.

Knut -

To add to the confusion I looked a bit further, and found this on the web site of the Salm Bräu brewpub:

MÄRZEN war ursprünglich das typische Wiener Bier. Die rötliche Farbe war vor langer Zeit signifikant für diesen Biertyp, welcher später von den Münchner Brauereien als Oktoberfestbier eingeführt worden ist. Es hat einen deutlich malzigeren Charakter, besticht durch seine Vollmundigkeit und ist wenig gehopft. Insbesonders Frauen, welche den ausgeprägten Hopfengeschmack nicht so sehr mögen, finden den Einstieg in den Biergenuß über das Märzen. Noch heute ist dieses Bier sogar in den USA als Vienna-Red bekannt.

So, let's see how rusty my German is:
Märtzen was originally the typical Vienna beer.The red colour was for a long time typical for this type of beer, which was later imported (I think it means that the style was imported, not the beer) by the Munich breweries as the beer for their Oktoberfest. It has a clear malty character, has a full taste and is lightly hopped. Particularly women, who are not too fond of the characteristic hoppy taste, find their way into enjoying beer through Märtzen. Today, this beer is known in the USA as Vienna Red.

Alan -

Worthy of research. I think Ron is based in Europe so maybe you can work as a team on this for the betterment of us all.

Ron Pattinson -

It's a shame established beer writers have written so little on the subject. Roger Protz says almost nothing about Austria in his Beer Encyclopedia.

In "Classic Beer Styles: Vienna, Märzen, Oktoberfest" all it says about modern Austrian Märzen is:

"Beers with the term Märzen on the label are still brewed in Austria, the term "Märzen" as well as "Spezial" being used for brews of the export type."

Alan -

Then we three shall lead the charge! I think this is very interesting as that richness of the malt is potentially as interesting as, in each their own way the distinctiveness of the malts in French country ales, Belgian blonds or Scots ales.<p>Austrian wine sort of gets similar short mention, too.

Knut -

A type of beer related to the Vienna style has somehow survived here in Norway as Christmas beers. Amber color, lots of malty sweetness. They try to brew this in a weaker version for the supermarkets (4,7%), but the really good ones are about 6,5%.

gr -

A kindly and well intentioned neighbor offered up Labatt Blue at a dinner party the other day, then a couple more. Comparisons to Labatt Blue are NOT complimentary. It is not one of Canada's better exports......blech.

Alan -

Sorry to have misled you. You must be careful as Blue is a hugely popular but sadly poor import into upstate NY.

gr -

Oh, no, Alan, I was not misled, just backed into the corner by a terrific and friendly friend, and then next time I noticed some rather fabulous pale ale in their fridge and I was able to get into that. Labatt Blue really stinks, though, and I do not recall seeing it in New England.

Pootz -

Stiegl is a fairly well established Austrian brewer http://www.stiegl.at/ with a rich brewing history, from Salzburg.

The style is NOT Grman but uniquely Austrian and unique to the city of Salzburg. This is what they call simply a "golden" lager. It's an all malt (Light vienna malt [17-23 deg Lovibond] wich has lovely gold melonins ) with a malt forward and Nobel hop antennuated flavor profile. It is a straight forward soft, 2 dimensional lager meant to be drinkable.

Lager heads around Kitchener have been sinking a lot of this beer at sessions and have invented a black and tan session klager that that make by mixing this beer with Kostritzer schwarzbier.

Try it.

Pootz -

To clarify: for the past 60-75 years Stiegl lager has brewed a style simply known as "Salzburg lager" which is gold in color, malty in in profile, medium in body and mellow in character...the main ingredient is Vienna light ( golden) malts ( not the dark and red malts used in Marzens and Viennas).

Stiegl is the only brewer of the style who distributes their beer widely for export.

Eileen -

can you tell me, where can I buy Stiegl beer in England?

nsm -

Being Austrian (so I know practically all the beers there), being a big beer drinker, having being all over the world to a.o. try different beers, I must tell you: Stiegl beer is a really nice beer, it just trickles down ones throat so smoothly, and has this great malty taste which is not sweet, not bitter, but just right. I can really only recommend to try a nice cold Stiegl (pls. no ice) and see for yourself.

nsm -

ahhh, my English, terrible, sorry for "having being all over the world", of course I have been all over the world ;-)

Gorthos -

I must say that this is one of my fave beers of the region and comparison to Labbatt Blue is (shudder) questionable. :)

jjl -

I lived in Austria for nearly a decade, and this is far and away my favorite Austrian beer - probably, my favorite all-time. It is a high quality beer that many Austrians, and Germans alike enjoy.

If you are ever in Salzburg and you like Weizen, check out "Die Weisse", a cool brewpub that caters mostly to locals.

ben turner -

I moved to Austria in Sept 2006.

Stiegl is brewed in Salzburg and is the main Salzburgerland beer. It is a standard 'european' lager.

Austria seems to be quite a boring beer country. Most areas have there own local brewery that takes care of all of the local cafes. I seem to be between stiegl and Schladminger.

It is all very similar blonde beer.... Except for the wheat beers.... that is a diffferent and much more exciting story...

Richard Lewis -

They stock this at my local specialist beer shop in London. I really rate this smooth lager, very refreshing and a crisp depth to the flavour. I often go back for more despite the shop stocking 100's of others from around the world. Often simular lagers dont quite cut it in the same way for me. Good on the Austrians for this.