We both hit the bit six-O this year, so a short break in this lovely old city, taking in the Christmas markets (which start early in Austria), seemed as good a way as any to spend a bit of time before the Christmas rush begins.
I’ve been to Salzburg a couple of times before, and whilst it’s not the most exciting city beer-wise, there are some fine traditional beer halls in the old town. There is, or course, one place every beer lover should visit and that is Augustinerbräu Kloster Mülln. Attached to a working monastery, a kilometre or so from the city centre, in the suburb of Mülln, Augustinerbräu should not be confused with its better known Munich namesake.
The entrance from the street is quite easy to miss, and once inside, you descend a couple of flights of stone steps, which takes you to the beer halls. First you pass a number of kiosks selling various food items. The kiosks include a bakers and a couple of butchers; the idea being to allow customers to buy “picnic-style” food to go with the beer. As in many German Beer Gardens, patrons are also allowed to bring their own food, and many local seem to do this.
The beer halls are towards the end of the corridor and here there is a choice of three large rooms; all with high ceilings and long, sturdy wooden tables. You can then either queue up for your beer at a self-service counter or pay a little more for a waiter to fetch your beer for you.
The beer itself at Augustinerbräu is an excellent 4.6% ABV Märzen served directly from large oak barrels. As it is served in stoneware Krugs it is difficult to determine the colour, but it tastes delicious and is lovely and fresh.
Around Christmas, a stronger Bockbier is available, but I unfortunately missed it by just a few days on my first visit to Salzburg, in late December 2006. I wonder if I will have more luck this time? I will produce a more detailed report upon my return, but in the meantime zum Wohl!