Holy Beer!

I was looking for an interesting experience with my very limited time in Salzburg. On the list of things to do/see was to visit the Old Town and see the incredible Salzburger Dom (cathedral), visit Mozart’s birthplace or eat at Mozart Cafe; join a Sound of Music tour. All great choices but with only a few hours left, I wanted something different and my web search guided me to the page of Augustiner Bräu: beer first brewed by monks in their monastery in 1621. This would be interesting…

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The brewery and beer garden is situated in the Mülln neighbourhood, about a kilometer or so out of the Old Town. This didn’t deter me at all as a “walking-enthusiast”, although the chilly early Spring air was something I could have done without during the brisk walk. Nonetheless food, beer and warmth waited at my destination and I pressed on.

The beer hall was set inside the old monastery and the venue offered beer tours and accommodation to those interested. The front door was unassuming and if you weren’t looking for the sign, it was easy to miss. Once inside, the first passageway was quiet and empty and for a moment I wasn’t sure that I was in the right place. I carefully pushed open the heavy, wooden door and the cheerful sound of chattering floated through the air to meet me. Down a broad, somewhat grand flight of stairs and I entered the food market – set up in market-style with small “stalls” of vendors offering bakery items, braised meats and vegetables and more. I followed the passage pass more food windows and at the top turned right toward a water fountain with gold taps. This was not where the beer was poured I would be corrected but where one could rinse your beer mug and warm it to ensure you drink the beer at the correct temperature. The food market ran in an L-shape along two passages surrounding the beer hall.

I entered hall – it was a fairly large space with wooden tables individual chairs and benches along the walls, high ceilings and big windows creating a cosy and easy atmosphere for unwinding and enjoying time with good company. In warmer months, the outside beer garden is open to visitors where often there is a band, once more crating an incredibly fun, vibey atmosphere.

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I ordered ribs and a baked potato with sour cream ordered and picked up my beer, served in clay porcelain mugs and found a table in the beer hall. Initially I sat on my own and was then joined by a group of young people meeting after work for drinks and conversation. A little while later an older gentlemen from Germany joined the table and tried very hard to strike up a chat while I was eating…that didn’t last long.

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The beer was cheap and food was tasty and traditional. More than that, this seemed like the kind of place the locals hung out at rather than being a typical tourist attraction and it felt like finding a hidden gem.

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