Famous for their beer & schnapps!
Beer in Austria
Beer is generally sold in the following sizes: 0.2 litre (a Pfiff), 0.3 litre (a Seidel, kleines Bier or Glas Bier) and 0.5 litre (a Krügerl or großes Bier or Hoibe). At festivals one litre Maß and two litre Doppelmaß in the Bavarian style are also dispensed. The most popular types of beer are pale lager (known as Märzen in Austria), naturally cloudy Zwicklbier, and wheat beer. At holidays like Christmas and Easter bock beer is also available.
Austrian beers are typically in the pale lager style, with the exceptions noted above. A dark amber "Vienna Style" lager was pioneered in the city during the 19th century but is now not common there. The most common style of Austrian beer is Märzen.
Beer après ski © Creative Commons / EverJean
Lagers: decent classic "Märzen" lagers commonly availible include Stiegl, Egger and Zwettler. The quality of many others including Gösser, Puntigamer, Schwechater, Wieselburger and Zipfer all now under the Heinicken umbrella has debatebly dropped.
Pilsners: are normally noted with Pils or Spezial, most common is Hirter Pils.
Dunkles: is a rich dark brew offered by most breweries.
Weiße: is wheat beer. There are several breweries and many imports from neighboring Bavaria, though its rarely found on tap.
Zwickl: is unfiltered lager and the pride of several breweries.
Among Styrian breweries, in the south, are the popular Gösser, Puntigamer and Murauer brands. Hirter is produced in the town of Hirt in Carinthia. In Lower Austria Egger, Zwettler, Schwechater, and the popular Wieselburger predominate.
From the more westernly parts of Austria come Kaiser, Zipfer and Kapsreiter in Upper Austria. Upper Austria is also home to famous Freistadt beer (Freistädter Bier). The brewery's organization is unique in that the brewery is a commune - owned and operated by those individuals who own a house within the city walls, thus the name of the town Freistadt (free-city). Continuing West, Salzburg (state) is home to aforementioned Stiegl, as well as Augustiner Bräu (not related to the German one) and Edelweiss. Weissbier (wheat beer) is the most popular type of beer in this region. From Tyrol and Vorarlberg come Falkenstein, Frastanz, Mohrenbräu, Starkenberger, Zillertaler and the popular Fohrenburger.
One of the most common brands of beer to be found in Austria is Stiegl, founded in 1492. Stiegl brews both a helles (a light lager) and a Weissbier (Hefeweizen), as well as other specialty beers. Stiegl is the most popular beer of Austria that isn't owned by Brau AG and is know for its slightly sour taste.
Ottakringer from Vienna can be found more often in the eastern provinces. Over the past decades, it has earned somewhat of a cult status leading the company to name one of their canned variants "16er-Blech" (Ottakring is the 16th district of Vienna, "Blech" a slang term for a tin can).
In Voralberg is also a beer brand called Egger Bier, which is brewed by a brewery in Egg, Bregenzerwald. This led to a lawsuit with the above mentioned Egger from Lower Austria, which ended in an agreement between the two breweries. So, when buying a Egger in Vorarlberg you get one from Egg, whereas in the rest of Austria it will be from Lower Austria.
Creative Commons / infraredhorsebite' s
Spirits in Austria
At the close of a meal, schnapps of typically up to 60 % alcohol or fruit brandy is drunk, which in Austria is made from a variety of fruits (for example apricots), as well as rowanberries, gentian roots, various herbs and even flowers. The produce of small private schnapps distilleries, of which there are around 20,000 in Austria, is known as Selberbrennter or Hausbrand. A very high percentage schnaps is called "Umblachter" and has up to 85% Alcohol.
Wine in Austria
Wine is principally cultivated in the east of Austria. The most important wine-producing areas are in Lower Austria, Burgenland, Styria, and Vienna. The Grüner Veltliner grape provides some of Austria's most notable white wines and Zweigelt is the most widely planted red wine grape. Southern Burgenland is a Region that mainly grows red grapes while the "Seewinkel" area around the Neusiedlersee has more mixed wine cultures. Wine is even grown within the city limits of Vienna - the only European capital where this is true - and some is even produced under the auspices of the city council.
Young wine (i.e. wine produced from grapes of the most recent harvest) is called Heuriger and gives its name to inns in Vienna and its surroundings which serve Heuriger wine along with food. In Styria, Carinthia and Burgenland the heuriger inns are known as Buschenschanken.
Eiswein is a type of dessert wine produced from grapes that have been frozen while still on the vine. Eiswein is generally quite expensive due to the labour-intense and risky production process.
Cider In Austria
In Upper Austria, Lower Austria, Styria and Carinthia, Most, a type of cider or perry is widely produced, whilst Sturm, a semi-fermented grape-juice is drunk after the grape harvest.