Vienna is always a great place to visit, the city is very beautiful, everything is walking distance and the Musikverein is an unbelievably historic and gorgeous place to play.
After the first concert we headed to the Beerreiter around the corner from the hall. This is very popular with travelling musicians due to it’s location, friendly atmosphere, great traditional food and local beer. I had an Ottakringer Dunkles which is a nice light lager with a little bit of interest from it’s darker, perhaps slightly toasty malts.
We had a bit more free time on the second day which was spent mooching around the centre and, naturally, eating Schnitzel. Following another excellent concert we tried a bar nearer the hotel which promisingly advertised itself as “Haus der 100 Biere”. As well as some great Bavarian beers like Schneider Weiss and Schlenkerla Rauchbier there were a considerable line up of local Austrian beers which I’d never come across before. With some helpful suggestions from the friendly staff I tried a Bier Teufl Zwickl and a Weitra Brau Helle along with an excellent Farmer’s Toast- huge cheese on toast with ham, egg and tomato.
The Weitra Brau was a very nice traditional clean tasting Helle- a bit sweeter and perhaps with a marginally fuller body than a classic Pilsner while the Zwickl was very interesting. Apparently Zwickls are all unfiltered to provide a bit more interest and this was a hazy light red beer, again on the sweet side but with nice hints of fruit and perhaps a tiny bit of spice from the yeast. That description reads a little like a rich Belgian Blond or Tripel but it’s nothing like as full on, remaining essentially a very drinkable, refreshing lager but with a tiny bit of extra interest for if you, like me, get slightly bored of all the ultra clean Pilsners and Helles.