Craft beer is one of the biggest growing movements in the global drinks industry with sales in the US and the UK increasing year on year, but it isn't only in these countries where it is starting to take hold. In Vienna Austria there are four intrepid young brewers who have a vision of bringing great beer to the forefront of a largely conservative drinking community. Their name is Brew Age and a new dawn of Austrian beer is what they are aiming for.
Brew Age was founded in March 2014 by four friends; Michael, responsible for sales and distribution, Tom, the all rounder responsible for brewing, customer care and creativity, Johannes, the brew master who has previously spent time with Firestone Walker and Raphael who is the man controlling the purse stings and other administrative stuff. They are all from Vienna and got started with brewing in pretty much the same way as everyone else, with homebrew in their parents basement. Having brewed consistently for a number of years a seed was planted and a plan was hatched to open their own brewery. However, due to expensive property rates in Vienna and the high start up costs of building and owning your own facility they approached a local brewery, Brauhaus Gusswerk in Salzburg to see if they would be willing to let them use their facility when it was free. Fortunately Brauhaus Gusswerk agreed and they started their lives as commercial cuckoo brewers.
In 2015 they produced around 800hl and this year they are looking at brewing approximately 1500hl which indicates that their beer is turning heads. This burgeoning reputation is backed up by the awards which they have collected for a number of beers in their range.
Imperial IPA - 8.2% ABV As you would expect with an Imperial IPA this is packed with an abundance of hop flavour. Grapefruit and citrus are at the head and with it being 70IBU, it isn't overly bitter meaning you can enjoy a few of them. Beware of the % ABV though as after too many you won't be able to walk away. This beer is the winner of the Best in Show Double / Imperial IPA at Craft Beer Rising 2016
Chicxulub Oatmeal Stout - 5.4% ABV Great mouth feel from the addition of oats, this has great flavours of roast and chocolate with a hint of espresso. Won Bronze at the 2016 Barcelona Beer Challenge
Barley wine - 10% ABV This is nutty and caramel forward with dried fruit in the background making this a very enjoyable and highly complex beer. It has been awarded a medal at the European Beer Star.
Black IPA - 6.9% ABV - Brewed using Pilsner, Munich and Roasted malt with the American hops Amarillo, Cascade and Columbus. This is a delicate combination of roast chocolate and floral citrus flavours. This is also the fist black IPA to be brewed in Austria.
Vienna Lager - 5% ABV - As Austrian brewers this had to be in the line up and uses traditional European hops and Austrian malt to create a beer which is true to the classic flavour profile.
Pale Ale - 5.4% ABV - The best seller in their line up this is a hoppy treat full of citrus flavours and also is much more sessionable than their imperial IPA.
Their aspirations for the future are to add the first funk filled wild and sour beers brewed in Austria to their range as well as playing with barrel ageing. This plan has been inspired by Johannes' time spent at the Firestone Walker Barrelworks in Buelton California. http://www.craftbeeradvocate.co.uk/journal/2016/1/28/firestone-walker-barrelworks Additionally, once they start producing a large enough quantity of beer per year they will be looking to create their own facility.
If you are in Vienna go over to Mittelgasse and visit these guys, buy some beer and enjoy a great atmosphere. Welcome to the new dawn of Austrian brewing. This is the Brew Age.