“ Historic tavern and brewery in Salzburg, Austria. „
Salzburg has a long brewing tradition and it's a great destination to consider if you are into visiting breweries and beer halls. Having spent a couple of hours at Stiegl Brauwelt, we moved on to the Augustiner Brewery which is on the same side of town but much nearer the centre.
As the name suggests this brewery was set up by monks in the first half of the seventeenth century. Today the Augustiner Brewery is a large commercial concern and the beer is made in a modern purpose built brewery situated beside the abbey but the techniques are still largely traditional and the enterprise is described as a 'craft brewery'. You can buy the beer in shops and in numerous pubs and restaurants but the best place to drink it is at the brewery itself; there is a lovely big beer garden (with seats for up to 1500 people) for summer drinking, and several beer halls upstairs in the main building (together the halls, measuring over 5000 square metres, form the largest beer hall in Austria). As we'd already done a brewery museum tour at Stiegl we weren't interested in doing another so we were quite happy to sample the beer in the garden have a light lunch. As it happens tours are by arrangement only and then only on weekday afternoons so we didn't come away thinking we'd missed out.
We visited on a hot Saturday in September and arrived in the middle of the afternoon. It was busy but it was still possible to find the odd table so we went straight to buy our beers. The beer is sold on the ground floor and for your first visit you need to go to the till and pay for your drink and collect a receipt which you'll present to the guys who pour the beer. It's a good idea to look at the sizes available before you go to the cashier. They make two beers of which two - 'Lenten' and 'Christmas Bock' - are seasonal, being available only around Easter and around Advent respectively. The main brew is the Märzen beer which clocks in at 4.6% alcohol by volume. Stadlau Pilsen and Kara-Extra-Hell malts are used in the making of Augustiner's Märzen along with Hallertau-Spalt-Select aromatic hops making this a flavoursome beer, the sort of beer often described as a 'session beer' meaning you can drink a few in one outing. I liked it a lot and found it really refreshing for a summer's day.
Soft drinks come in the form of apple juice which you can have with a spritz of soda if you choose. (Some people had brought drinks with them for the kids)
Once you've paid you need to collect your stein from the shelf. These are simple undecorated mugs, not your ornate stein with the hinged lid, but they make a great souvenir if you have space and they are an intrinsic part of the experience. In the middle of the room there are taps over a stone basin and you can warm your mug as you like before passing it with your receipt to the barman.
Carefully carrying our mugs of beer we went off to find a table pausing on the way to look at the tempting filled rolls at one counter and the roast meats at another. As well as the two counters outside, you can buy from the parade of market style outlets upstairs in the main building. This is like an indoor market arcade with stalls selling cheese, cold meats and sausages, different kinds of bread and even sweet things. Alternatively you can order a full meal to eat in one of the large beer halls; these rooms have the look of an old castle with mullion windows and large paintings of the walls. There are lines of simple wooden tables and benches and I can imagine it's a noisy place when full of drinkers.
We found a table and deposited the mugs and Himself went back to buy a couple of rolls. Smoked salmon for me, herrings and onions for him. The fillings were spilling out of the bread rolls and for just Euro3 each it was a good and filling snack lunch, made even better with the accompaniment of Augustiner beer.
The atmosphere was lively and relaxed; there was lots of beer being consumed but nobody was rowdy or obnoxious. There were families with young children; older teenagers or students; elderly people - couples enjoying a quiet drink or groups of old men putting the world to rights. Everyone is welcome and I really love the fact that there are so many younger drinkers here enjoying 'real ale': in the UK they'd be drinking boring gassy lager or synthetic alcopops.
The Augustiner Bräuhaus is definitely to be recommended for fans of real ales in particular, but it's also a good place to have an outdoor lunch on a warm day and really the delicious beer is a bonus. Should the weather be not so good, you can always venture inside and there's an excellent choice of deli snacks to make a tasty lunch. Even if you think you don't like real ales, you should give the Augustiner Märzen a try and soak up the laid back atmosphere.
Should I ever return to Salzburg I'll be dropping by for lunch and a Märzen (or two) .
The Augustinerbräu, Salzburg is in Mülln, a ten minute bus ride from the centre of Salzburg.