2005 | REVIEWS | BLIND BEER TASTINGS
CBN Vienna Lager Blind Tasting
CBN Blind Tasting Panel
• Jay R. Brooks, Tasting Panel Director, Cranky Oldster,
• Tom Dalldorf, Editor/Publisher, CBN
• Vic Kralj, Owner, The Bistro, Hayward, Calif.
• Special thanks to Mike Long, BTP Tasting coordinator/head
Anton Dreher, a Viennese brewer, created the style of Vienna
lager around 1840. It’s an amber or red lager, similar
in style to a märzen but having a more subtle nose and
slightly lower alcohol content (4.8% to 5.4% abv, while märzens
tend to be above 5.3%) and a bit more hop character (22–28
IBUs versus 18–25 for märzens). Also, Vienna lagers
use all-Vienna malt, whereas märzens tend to use some
It is believed that a German brewer, Gabriel Sedlmyer, based
the first märzen (or Oktoberfest) beer on Dreher’s
Vienna lager shortly after lager yeast was first isolated.
Like kölsch, Vienna lager is a delicate style that has
subtle flavors and nuances rather than a big, overpowering
taste profile. The style had all but died out in Vienna by
the 1970s, and thanks in part to Michael Jackson’s efforts,
it was revitalized in the 1980s in the city by the Danube.
It flourished in other parts of the world, such as Eastern
Europe, Scandinavia and North America.
Other available examples of this style that were not available
for this panel tasting include Anacortes Vienna, Gordon Biersch
Vienna Lager, Great Lakes Eliot Ness, Iron Hill Vienna Lager,
Squatter’s Vienna Lager and Stoudt’s Fest.
Adams Boston Lager
Boston Brewing Co., Massachusetts
Rich, malt nose with light, flowery hop aromas. Copper color
with a creamy, white head. Rich, malty sweetness with enjoyable
creaminess and a faint nutty undertone.
River Vienna Style Lager
Snake River Brewing Co., Wyoming
Light nose with golden-amber color and a tan head. Soft,
rich flavors with malt and hops in nice balance. A great mouthfeel.
Very well made, with a long, clean finish.
It Up Vienna Lager
Brew It Up Personal Brewery, California
Fresh, clean nose, straw-yellow color and a thick, white
head. Creamy, with a clean, soft palate and some tartness.
Very enjoyable and refreshing.
Dos Equis Brewing Co., Mexico
Roasted malt and caramel nose. Brown color and a light tan
head. Rich, very malty and sweet on the palate, with bittering
a little on the light side.