A Vienna Lager
Brewery: Schell out of New Ulm, Minnesota
Background: In the 19th century, an industrial revolution was happening. Steam engines, railroads, factories, labor movements, and all sorts of new technology was going on. Brewing was effected too by this industrial revolution with the new production techniques this revolution was yielding. Porter and Pale Ale were some of the first beer styles brewed in England commercially. On the continent more styles were being brewed commercially for a longer time especially in the German speaking states from Bremen to Bolzano-Bolsen. One such style to emerge from the industrial revolution was the Vienna Lager.
Hence its name the Vienna Lager originated out of Vienna, the Hapsburg seat sometime in the 1840s. Beer Wiki credits the creation of the beer style to brewer Anton Dreher in 1841 you can read more about that here. Chances are, dear reader is that you’ve had one of these delicious, spicy, toasty, and malty brews. Dos Equis Amber, Negra Modelo, Sam Adams Boston Lager, and don’t forget Great Lakes Brewery’s Eliot Ness.
The August Schell Brewery is one of America’s oldest family owned breweries. Founded in 1860 in New Ulm, Minnesota the brewery’s website for Firebrick can be found here. Firebrick is a year-round beer made by Schell’s and it could be near you. I bought this beer on a business trip in the upper Midwest and it was available at a local ‘big-box’ grocery store.
Taste: Firebrick is a brilliant example of this beer style. The initial sip is one that introduces you to the toasty malt. The mouthfeel isn’t too thick or too thin, this is drinkable. As the beer lingers and warm the toasty malt becomes a little more on the biscuit tasting side. The finish is the best part: a spicy hop. This is a beer that will warm you on a winter’s night and delight you with its full flavored potency. When it comes to alcohol by volume the beer is not too strong either. It is under 6% abv, and therefore something you don’t have to worry over too much when imbibing.
Final Analysis: This is an excellent example of this beer style. Buy it.