The Tapsters competition final at Imbibe Live 2019 identified the nation’s best beer and cider team as Brewhouse & Kitchen. The prize, from sponsors Euroboozer and Stiegl, was an all-expenses paid trip to Austria to visit Salzburg and the Stiegl brewery
The Brewhouse & Kitchen team that joined Euroboozer founder Martyn Railton and Stiegl UK ambassador Jessica Mason on the trip, included: David Quinn, Mike Mason, Caitlin McErlean, Alex Double and Jordan Childs. Each experienced city-guided tours, beer tastings of Stiegl’s finest and rarest beers and an unforgettable snow-capped Salzburg experience during their trip.
Stiegl was founded in 1492 and is steeped in brewing history and heritage. As Salzburg City tour guides have oft pointed out: ‘Austrians didn’t discover the New World, we were all too busy drinking beer.’ Austrians are the second largest consumers of beer per capita in the world with one of the highest concentrations of breweries. Those are some pretty good credentials.
Stiegl really is the jewel in Austria’s crown. Not only is it a privately owned, wholly family run brewery, it is in fact, the largest family run brewing concern in the entire country. Its flagship beer, Stiegl Goldbräu is a wonderfully refreshing 12° original gravity 5% abv lager that has been brewed in strict adherence to the 1516 Purity Law.
Stiegl brews with alpine spring water drawn from Salzburg’s ‘house mountain’ the Untersberg and its Goldbräu (‘Goldbeer’) is a fine example of an Austrian-style lager with a deliciously inviting deep-golden appearance. Soft and full-bodied, it has an inviting floral aroma and a well-rounded caramelised honey malt character that is followed by a soft, velvety mouth feel bursting with elegant citrus, grassy hoppy high notes on the finish.
Stiegl has been imported by speciality beer importer and distributor Euroboozer since 2006. In that time, Stiegl has gained some of the most revered listings in the industry – from the Mandarin Oriental and the Corbin & King group, to iconic beer and food outlets such as The Draft House and MEATliquor.
‘We’ve never stocked a beer as relatively unknown as Stiegl that has sold as well,’ said Scott Collins, co-founder of MEATliquor which stocks both Stiegl Goldbräu and Stiegl Grapefruit Radler (which also forms the main ingredient in the group’s incredibly popular Radlerita cocktail). ‘Stiegl Goldbräu, we have always thought, is a brilliant example of a traditional lager,’ agreed Charlie McVeigh, founder of The Draft House chain of pubs. ‘It’s an amazing family-owned business that has a fantastic story and a fantastic sense of place. The quality is absolutely paramount.’
Euroboozer MD Martyn Railton stated: ‘Stiegl holds a special place in my heart. I love showing this place off, both the brewery and the city, and feel immensely proud that we represent Stiegl in the UK. As a result, we place a huge amount of support and training with our customers. There is an abundance of PoS available and Stiegl is served in perhaps the most eye-catching glassware in the UK but even more importantly, we have always focused our time, money and resources into educating bar teams and staff.
‘We see this as a fundamental part of developing such a wonderful beer in the UK, hopefully passing that knowledge onto consumers. A big part of that training is bringing people out to see the brewery and see where the beer is brewed. Euroboozer and Stiegl sponsored The Tapsters competition as it aligned perfectly with how we do things in the UK. Seeing how interested and engrossed the Brewhouse & Kitchen team are with beer and how impressed they are with Stiegl really does bring a smile to my face.’
On the trip to Austria, the Brewhouse & Kitchen team saw first-hand how revered Stiegl is within the city of Salzburg. During their walking tour, its appearance on menus of the finest cafés, bars and restaurants reinforced that Stiegl and its owners, the Kiener family, were upheld with pride by a city that loves its ethos as much as its creations. The links with slow brewing, sustainability and its most famous fan, the composer Mozart, all helped to amplify the message that Stiegl wasn’t just delicious, but hugely admired.
The brewery also boasts a beer library featuring not just their own, but beers from all over the world. During the visit, the beer library was unlocked for an afternoon tasting and the group was treated to some of the rarest and most enjoyable beers within the brewer’s portfolio.
‘I have to admit that, before I accepted the trip, I didn’t know Stiegl was family run, or independent, or anything about its sustainability or even how great the beer clearly is, but I have to say that I’m so impressed,’ said Brewhouse & Kitchen brewer, Caitlin McErlean. ‘It has been incredible,’ agreed her colleague, trainer Alex Double, adding: ‘I think it’s safe to say that I’m definitely a Stiegl fan.’
This feature was originally published in the 2020 Spring issue of Imbibe Magazine.