Friday, April 29, 2011

A visit to the Schweizerhaus

The easiest way to get to the Prater park in Vienna is by taking the U-Bahn to the Praterstern metro station. The park is next to the station, but first you must walk through the fun fair.

There are several eateries and restaurants in the Prater park. One of them is the traditional Schweizerhaus, which has a large beer garden. The menu has an extensive selection of Austrian courses, and there are several beers available on tap.

The Czech Budvar golden lager is the main beer at Schweizerhaus, but you can also get Budvar's dark lager or a G'mischtes where you get a mix of both lagers. Also available as draught beers are Grieskirchner Dunkles, Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier, Rotes Zwickl and the alcohol free Clausthaler.

I have had my share of Budvar on my visits to the Czech Republic, so I started with a Rotes Zwickl after sitting down at the beer garden. This brownish beer from the Ottakringer brewery is a naturtrüb beer. In the glass it had very little carbonation and a medium to small sized head. The nose had malts and a touch of yeast. In the mouth malts and caramel had a dance together with a touch of sourness before a bready finish with some yeast. A lovely beer!

In retrospect I should have taken another Rotes Zwickl or tried the Grieskirchner Dunkles. Instead I went for a beer I know very well, Paulaner's wheat beer. For some reason I had a craving for a weizen, and I knew that I would get a good one.

Paulaner Hefe-Weißbier has a lot of banana in the nose, and the taste is dominated by banana, bread and a touch of spices before a sweet and lasting finish with more banana. The beer is lovely, and it is one of my favourites. It is also better as a draught beer than from bottles, so it was pure bliss. The Paulaner brewery knows how to make an excellent wheat beer.

I left Schweizerhaus knowing it was a great experience being there. The beer was good, the weather was good and the beer garden was good. Actually, life and Vienna was good.

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