By Darren Murphy, General Manager, The Brickmakers Pub & Kitchen
The Craft Bier Fest Linz was held again in April this year at the city’s Tabakfabrik, about a ten minute taxi ride from the main train station. On approach the area itself seemed pretty dull, a kind of sterile industrial heartland, but boy was I wrong. As I approached the factories inner courtyard the place was buzzing with a mixture of hipsters, beer geeks and a few familiar faces too, all spilling out of the main hall and making a dash towards the variety of food trucks parked up in front of the entrance.I’m a weakling when it comes stuff like this and had to try a burger and tacos too. „A bit of soakage“ as we say in Ireland, as if eating ten tacos is somehow going to make you more resistant to the effects of Alcohol… Well, you can decide for yourself on that one!
The exhibition area was just amazing, full of all the colours of a busy market place packed with hundreds of beer enthusiasts, tasting, chatting, laughing, buying, selling, eating, drinking and I couldn’t help but think to myself that this really is ‘the life’ and how lucky I am.
With a cheeky smile on my face I made my first port of call, the ‘Beer Lovers’ stand. Of course many of the beers were familiar to me but it’s always nice to shoot the breeze with friends and colleagues like Markus Betz and Dominique Schilk. I tried the Bear State IPA from Thornbridge just to remind myself how really talented Rob Lovatt is as a brewer and my curiosity wouldn’t let me move on without trying the Blacstok Hoppy Austrian Cider. Tasty!
One of nicest things in life is to find something you’re not expecting in a familiar place. Did you ever find a ten euro note in your pocket that you didn’t think was there? Well meeting Patrick van Leijsen from the Palm Belgian craft brewery at the Ammersin stand was one of these moments for me. One of the nicest men you will ever meet and just mad about everything beer. For me drinking beer is all about the social interaction and I just love talking to people who know the industry more than I do. I learned so much about the wonderful products from Rodenbach, Palm, Boon, De Gouden Boom and De Hoorn, that this alone was worth the trip.
So isn‘t craft beer also about local produce? For sure it is and Austria has some of the finest regional breweries in Europe. I had the pleasure of trying „Bier von Hier“ the label of Schloss Eggenberg. They have great aged bock beers along with a range of some of most drinkable organic beverages you will find in Upper Austria.
Next stop on my tour of Austrian breweries was „Rieder“ where I bumped into Christof Helmreich, one of the most positive and upbeat guys you could meet in beer. We tried a few different styles together, including top and bottom fermenters, with my favourites being the Schwarzmann and the Rieder IPA. I was really starting to understand the whole concept behind „Bierland Österreich“ at this stage.
This coming weekend is of course Craft Bier Fest Wien and I personally can’t wait! See you there!
Darren is the General Manager of The Brickmakers Pub & Kitchen. ou can visit him at Zieglergasse 42, 1070 Wien, www.brickmakers.at. The Brickmakers is hosting an Austrian Craft Beer Tap Takeover during from 28. April – 8. May. More details here: www.fb.com/events/232101660486598
Craft Bier Fest Wien begins on Thursday 28. April 2016; More info at www.craftbierfest.at