Whenever you’re at the bar, you want to know what you’re sippin’ on. With so many new craft beers and brews to choose from, this can sometimes be difficult to do. But, that’s exactly why HomeBrewing Blog is here. When it comes to brews like Vienna Lagers, knowing everything about them can truly help you appreciate it more than ever.
In case you’re not sure about what Vienna Lagers are or what they taste like, we’re here to help. Below, you can read all about Vienna Lagers and even some of our personal favorite brews. By the time you’re done, you’re going to want to brew some for yourself–and we can help you with that, too.
The History of Vienna Lager
Vienna Lager is said to have first emerged back in Bavaria around the 1840s. Only a year after the introduction of the Vienna Lager came the introduction of the Märzen, and together, these two German beers took the brewing world by storm. Soon, Viennas and Märzens were some of the most popular beers in the country.
As the years passed and new brews were introduced, the Vienna Lager slowly started to die out in popularity. While Märzens are still largely drunk across the world today, really only the place to find high-quality Vienna Lagers nowadays is, interestingly enough, in Mexico and niche spots around the United States. Despite their delicious profiles, these beers just aren’t as popular as they once were. Because of that, finding a good brew can sometimes feel impossible.
Despite losing popularity over the years, the influence of Vienna Lagers are still largely present across the world today. Before these beers were introduced, light brews were few and far between. Most beers produced were incredibly dark and full-bodied. Vienna Lagers, on the other hand, were much lighter in appearance and smoother in composition than brewers had seen before.
Today, we’re lucky enough to have brews varying from all shades, appealing to taste buds of every beer drinker. Without the introduction of the Vienna Lager, who knows when the world would’ve experienced such a shift.
Now that you know a little bit about where Vienna Lager comes from, it’s time to talk about what this refreshing lager looks like, tastes like, and even what to pair it with.
You will immediately recognize the novel appearance of a Vienna Lager due its red, copper color in a glass. Almost reminiscent of a deep cider, these reddish brews aren’t too dark nor too light, creating a beautiful balanced hue when poured. A Vienna Lager is technically categorized as a dark lager, though it definitely isn’t as deep in color as some other lagers on the market.
The head on a Vienna Lager is a creamy white color and tends to be quite heavy. You won’t notice any murkiness is a beer like this one, either; in a glass, these red-brown brews are perfectly clear.
Aromas and Tastes
Vienna Lagers were quickly popularized not only for their novel appearance, but for their incredible aromas and flavors, too. On the nose, you’ll immediately notice a clear aroma of toasted hops as well as slightly roasted nuts. More than anything though, the malt scents are prominent and enticing, even just to the nostril.
When you actually take a sip of one of these brews, your tongue will instantly pick up on a super subtle bitter profile on the hops, as well as a nice sweetness behind it all.
The roasted malt flavor is still the main profile within the lager, but the added layers of subtle bitterness and sweetness create a full-bodied flavor profile that other brews struggle to accomplish. While the individual hop flavors depend largely on the brewery that’s crafting them, you’ll likely always pick up on the signature toasted hop notes.
The composition of Vienna Lagers is fairly straight forward. You’ll notice medium-rising bubbles in the bottle and in a glass, letting you know that there is a medium level of carbonation, as well. Without being too bubbly nor too flat, the perfect balance creates a soft body in the mouth that’s easy to sip on (or chug, we don’t judge).
To best accentuate the flavors and composition of this beer, you want to serve a Vienna Lager in a flute glass between 45 and 50°F. When it’s served like this, you’ll enjoy your lager more than ever before.
Perfect for a party or family gathering, this delicious roasted malt Vienna Lager pairs wonderfully with meats and cheeses of all kinds. Charcuterie boards–or meat and cheese plates–make for the ideal pairing with this light copper beer.
On top of meats and cheese, roasted vegetables taste absolutely delicious with Vienna Lagers. That being said, you can relish in a full plate of your favorite meats, cheese, and vegetables all while sipping on this brew. How much better can that get?
When it comes to dessert, try pairing your Vienna Lager with a yummy almond Biscotti. The roasted nut flavors in the biscotti pair beautifully with the roasted flavors inside the lager, making for a pairing that just cannot be beat. With dinner or with dessert, you can easily enjoy these nice Vienna Lagers.
Best Vienna Lagers for You to Try
In case you’re curious about trying a Vienna Lager for yourself, there are a few American breweries that craft this brew incredibly well. Here are four of our favorites.
Schell Brewing’s Firebrick
Schell Brewing’s Firebrick Vienna Lager boasts all the flavors of a classic Vienna Lager. Schell Brewing named this beer “firebrick” after the red bricks that line traditional boilers, reminiscent of the days when Vienna Lagers were in their prime.
This beer is brewed year-round and has won awards of all kinds, both for its flavors and smoothness in the mouth. In the mouth, you’ll experience that classic maltiness that Vienna Lagers are known for.
However, Schell Brewing’s are a bit sweeter than classic lagers, giving you a unique flavor profile that Vienna Lagers will thrive off of. In general, this beer is one of the most drinkable ones on the market.
Big Oak Vienna Bock
The Big Oak Vienna Bock is a twist on the traditional Vienna Lager. This Vienna Lager is brewed with the classic flavors of a Vienna Lager, but is brewed to the strength of a Bock. Because of this, you get an incredible mix of lager and bock. These brews are made with a 7% ABV, but you wouldn’t even know it: this brew goes down as smooth as any other.
Brewed in North Carolina, this seasonal brew can be found all across the US. It is available during the summer months, primarily for its refreshing flavors and soft body.
On top of the traditional malty flavor, you will also experience wonderful notes of earthy flavors, creating a novel Vienna Lager that you’ll never forget.
Von Trapp Brewing Vienna Lager
Von Trapp Brewing has blended traditional German hops and malts to create a classic Vienna Lager feel. In the mouth, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by the sweet notes of caramel and biscuits.
With every sip, you will experience a subtle note of baked bread and malts that will have you going back for more until the glass is totally empty.
Von Trapp Brewing produces this delicious Vienna Lager year-round, so if you’re lucky enough to be near a store that sells it–or if you’re in Vermont and near Von Trapp–at least you can enjoy it every month of the year.
Great Lakes Brewing Eliot Ness
Great Lakes Brewing Eliot Ness Lager is a unique take on the classic Vienna Lager we know and love. This smooth, malt-filled lager boasts flavors of traditional German malts and bright, bitter hops that come forward in every whiff and every sip.
Once you try it, you’ll fall in love immediately. And you’re not the only one: this beer is a twelve-time award winner dating back to 1995. Winning both gold and silver, this Vienna Lager is famous among beer-lovers.
The Eliot Ness Lager is smooth, rich, and full of delicious tastes that you can enjoy all year long. Pour it in a glass, and you’ll see firsthand the classic amber colors of the Vienna Lagers you love most. Just make sure you serve it in a flute glass!
Brewing Your Own Vienna Lager
Now that you know all about Vienna Lagers, there no doubt you’ll want to try some for yourself. And you can! Even if you can’t find any delicious Vienna Lagers at your local beer and liquor store, you always have the option of brewing some Vienna Lagers right in your own home, and Home Brewing Blog can help you every step of the way.
But, whether you buy a bottle at the store or bottle your own in your kitchen is ultimately up to you. At the end of the day, you’ll still be appreciating and relishing in the beauty of this copper-colored, malt-based lager.