Austrian brewer revives 300-year-old beer

Mon Aug 19, 2013 1:15pm EDT
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VIENNA (Reuters) - An Austrian brewery is offering beer lovers a trip back in time by reviving a 300-year-old recipe it found in the town archives.

The family-owned Hofstetten brewery in the Upper Austrian town of Saint Martin recreated the "Neuhauser Herrschafts Pier" from ingredients listed in an invoice for the local Neuhaus castle in 1720, when Austria was one of Europe's big powers.

Using small crops of emmer and malting barley grown from ancient seed varieties agricultural historians had preserved, owner Peter Krammer was able to reproduce the mix of barley, wheat and hops that marked the brew made three centuries ago.

"We thought that old kinds of grains must have more taste," he said, adding it took five tries before he was satisfied.

It breaks with tradition only by relying on old-style French yeast from a rural brewery. The original Austrian brewers did not use yeast, but rather remnants of the previous batch of beer to help the fermentation process.

The brewery, one of the oldest in Austria, made only a 4,000-litre batch of the brew that tastes like wheat beer and made its debut this month at the town's volunteer firefighter festival.

(Reporting by Michael Shields and Georgina Prodhan, editing by Paul Casciato)

Austrian brewer Peter Krammer displays two bottles of his "Neuhauser Herrschafts Pier" in the family-owned Hofstetten brewery in the Upper Austrian town of Saint Martin August 13, 2013. REUTERS/Heinz-Peter Bader