Vienna′s Best Beer:
Breweries & Microbreweries in Vienna
Since I originate from the "beer-belt" of Austria, namely Bavarian-influenced Salzburg, I was rather surprised to find that Vienna′s gastronomic scene had more to offer than wine. Not to get me wrong: I do like the Heurige Inns that are typical for eastern and southern Austria a lot, but good beer is a different matter altogether. I did not expect too much of a scene in Vienna when it comes to beer gardens with chestnut trees, 1-liter steins and butch men with beards; but there it was: More than a dozen of microbreweries and other venues dedicated to beer culture and consumption, places that combined innovation with authenticity.
I usually refrain from naming individual restaurants and bars in Vienna - TourMyCountry.com is not intended to be a directory (even though I have one in a separate section). As a great aficionado of beer, however, I make an exception to this rule. Here we go: Beer in Vienna was for centuries suppressed by wine; the beer that was made was generally produced for very local consumption, just like elsewhere in Austria or Europe.
The term microbrewery is only a few decades old, but the concept of brewing beer in a local inn that was sold only in this particular place was quite normal until well into the 19th century, when Europe′s beer markets started to consolidate. By 1983, Vienna had only two breweries. Only since the 1990ies this trend was reversed due to the rise of Microbreweries or Gasthausbrauereien.
Breweries & Microbreweries: Beers of Vienna
Vienna′s biggest brewery is Ottakringer, named after the 16th district Ottakring, which is where the brewery can be found. It produces a decent but unspectacular lager and is sold on every corner, which makes it sort of the "national beer" of Vienna. For specialists, Ottakringer does an excellent Zwicklbier (unfiltered beer that is clouded due to protein and yeast contents). The Zwicklbier is harder to find in restaurants and inns. Note also Schwechater, a brewery in nearby Schwechat (already beyond the border to Lower Austria, right at Vienna′s airport). Schwechater, too, engages mostly on reasonably exciting lagers fit for the masses.
In the following, I will list the Microbreweries of Vienna, but note that I have not been to all of them yet. My personal favourites are the Highlander (excellent Märzen, even though it tastes suspiciously like an ale); the Wieden Bräu (watch out for the beer of the month; conveniently close to the Diplomatic Academy and thus, frequently invaded by my colleagues and myself); and the Fischer Bräu (nice beer garden and good food). Note also that Salm Brä (next to the Belvedere Palace) and Siebensternbräu (at Spittelberg; try the chilli beer if you like it hot) are both great places with good beer and food, but a bit touristy at times.
Microbreweries of Vienna
1516 The Brewing Company
Cobenzlgasse 3 Himmelstraße 4
Linzer Straße 275
Altes AKH - Hof 1