Dear Vienna Lager
Style: Vienna Lager
ABV: 4.7 – 5.5%
IBU's: 18 – 30
Aroma: I smell like moderately-intense malt aroma, with toasty and malty-rich aromatics. I’m all about being a clean lager, thank you very much.
Appearance: Check me out. I’m light reddish amber to copper color with a large, off-white, persistent head.
Flavor: Initially, my malt flavor suggests elegant malt, followed by a toasty taste. You’ll walk away from me with a crisp dry, malty with slight spicy hop aftertaste.
Mouthfeel: My mouthfeel is medium light to medium body, with a gentle creaminess. You’ll notice my moderate carbonation.
Dear Vienna Lager,
Good news. You are still a happening beer. Sure, you’ve been moved into the “Historical” category of the Beer Judge Certification Program Beer Style Big Book of Guidelines. And truth be told, we never really thought of you. Until now. Our Beer Judge Certification Program instructor Trevor Nichol says you’re a beer style we need to know. And, Pacific Brewing & Malting Co. head brewer Bethany Carlsen just brewed a batch of you. So … hello.
Can you blame us for overlooking you, really? Developed by Anton Dreher in Vienna (duh) in 1841, you reached your popularity in the mid-late 1800s. Then, you faded. Mexico embraced you 50 years later when vacation Austrian brewers returned to Central America to brew you. But, authentic examples of you are increasingly hard to find. You’re nearly extinct in your area of origin. Today, American brewers make you a little stronger. Europeans make you a little sweeter. Mexican brewers have gone loco and turned you into a sweet, adjunct-laden Amber/Dark International Lager.
So, you’re an interesting beer, Vienna Lager. You’re often closely associated with Märzen and Oktoberfest styles, but historically the malt used for you was more highly kilned, leaving you with more light-roasted qualities, biscuit notes and lower alcohol. In a nutshell, you’re a moderate-strength amber lager with smooth, lightly sweet maltiness, moderate bitterness and a dry finish. You range from 4.8 percent to 5.4 percent alcohol by volume. You could say you’re a standard-strength everyday beer, which should make you happy.
We heard you’re often called a Red Lager after your reddish-brown to copper coloring and medium body. OK, we see it. You do look fabulous in a dimpled mug as it shows off your brilliant reddish amber color and great head retention. Better Red than dead, huh?
Served at 45-48 degrees Fahrenheit, you pair perfectly with mild cheeses and sausages, modestly spicy dishes and, of course, Mexican food. We-o Mayo! The last thing we want to do on May 5 is cram ourselves into a bar serving margaritas from a tube. Margaritas should not glow like that. No way, José. We’d rather hoist you to say a little prayer for the feisty Mexicans who lost their lives.
And, May 7, 2016 we can. Pacific Brewing and Malting Co. will release you at their Siete de Mayo party. Exciting, yes, but it gets better, Vienna Lager. Carlsen will add a little corn then age you with tequila soaked oak. We’ll have dos, por favor.
See, Vienna Lager. So what if the BJCP brain trust moved you into the Historical category. You’re still a happening beer. And Pacific Brewing will prove it this spring.
In addition to your future home at Pacific Brewing, we have found other breweries honoring you:
Chuckanut Brewery, Vienna Lager, Bellingham, Washington
Devils Backbone Brewing Vienna Lager, Roseland, Virginia
Figueroa Mountain Brewing Danish-style Red Lager, Buellton, California
Hi-Fi Brewing Blue Danube, Redmond, Washington
Great Lakes Brewing Eliot Ness, Cleveland, Ohio
Metropolitan Brewing Dynamo Copper Lager, Chicago, Illinois
Sierra Nevada Vienna style Lager, Chico, California
Snake River Brewing Jenny Lake Lager, Jackson, Wyoming
von Trapp Brewery Vienna Lager, Stowe, Vermont
Vital Statistics: OG: 1.048 – 1.055, FG: 1.010 – 1.014, IBUs: 18 – 30, SRM: 9 – 15, ABV: 4.7 – 5.5%
To summarize, Vienna Lager, I think Jon Bon Jovi said it best when he encouraged, “Vienna Lagers happen everyday, change your perception of what a Vienna Lager is and you’ll see them all around you.”