Tuesday 14th August 2012
Salzburg is very well known as the birthplace of Mozart and there is a massive tourist industry connected with this. A few of the multitude that descend on the city even manage to make it to this beer hall. These are the smart ones because although Mozart's music is still heard and his houses remain to visit, the Augustiner Braustüberl is living history and it's older than Mozart!
I've heard it said that this is the best beer hall in the world. That could well be true, I'll have to make some more visits to decide, as I've only been there three times as this is written and these things take a long time. Yet what is certain is that no visitor should go to the city without making at least one trip to the Augustiner.
The brewery is to be found on the lowest level. It was built in 1912 as a replacement for the previous building that wasn't able to cope with the demand for the beer. The Biergarten is served from this level.
The first floor contains the majority of the beer halls and they are big. It is on this level that you'll find the food corridor. This consists of kiosks selling traditional and modern food. Solid traditional Austrian meat and sausage dishes abound, along with fish. There are also bakeries serving freshly baked breads with a myriad of fillings. There is a specialist cheese counter and more, including Asian food, yet it is perfectly permissible for you to bring your own food.
From the end of this corridor it is possible to walk up several flights of stairs up in to the older parts of the monastery. This is a must even if you only come back down, although there is a way out here into the monastery courtyard. On the way you'll see some well-preserved stucco decorations dating from 1710.
The monastery was built between 1607 and 1614 by Augustine monks from Munich. It is recorded that they first started brewing in 1621 and sold beer to the general public. At a point during the 19th century the Augustine fathers died out and the Benedictines were asked by the Emperor to take over. This occurred without a change of name.
Back to the present day, because of changes that occurred before, during, and after the Second World War the current ownership is divided between two Austrian breweries and the remaining 50% is held by the Michaelbeuern Benedictine monastery that is represented by Abbot Nicolaus Wagner, so there is still a monastic connection.
The brewery produces about 9,500 hectolitres of beer a year. Most of this is Märzen (4.6%) which is available all year round. It is brewed with two Austrian malts, Stadlau Pilsener and Kara-Extra. The hops are Hallertau-Spelt-Select from Germany.
The other two beers also have religious significance. From mid November to the end of December there is a Christmas Bock beer (6.5%). This has the same ingredients as the Märzen so I guess it is a stronger version. Between Ash Wednesday and Easter Monday Lenten Bier (5.2%) is available. This uses the same malts but the hops are Saaz (German version).
Whether you are on the ground floor for the biergarten, or the first floor for the beer halls, you have to buy a token(s) for the appropriate size of stone mug (krug), half or full litre (Mass). You then select your mug from a cupboard, washing it in the ancient sink if you wish. Then you hand it to the server with your token. He fills it from a wooden barrel. Simple! Repeat as often as necessary.
All the beer is served from wooden casks of 15, 25 or 50 litre capacity, adjusted to the potential demand. The beer is lagered for about sixteen weeks, no skimping here! This place is a must not miss experience.
Augustiner Bräustuberl, Lindofstrasse 7, Salzburg-Mülln A-5020
Open: Mon-Fri 15.00-23.00; Sat, Sun and Holidays 14.30-23.00 (last orders 22.30)
The brewery is served by buses and trolley buses 7, 10, 20, 21, 24, 27 and 28.
It is about five minutes walk from the new railway station of Mülln-Altstadt, served by the
S-Bahn and a few regional trains.
On foot it is about 20 minutes from the Hauptbahnhof (Central station)
and around 15 minutes from the Altstadt.