The Origin of Vienna Lager
This lager variety was developed by brewer Anton Dreher in Vienna in 1841. He learned the new hot air kilning method during his travels to England and then exported it to the continent. Dreher was hailed the “King of Beer” when he revolutionised brewing by combining lightly air-kilned malt with lager yeast – which is exactly how Vienna lager is made. Austrian brewers then took the style with them when they emigrated to Mexico in the late 19th century, which is probably how this style of lager was preserved. World War I gravely weakened the Austrian economy and Vienna lager completely disappeared from its country of origin.
Vienna Lager Style
Vienna lager is a reddish-brown or copper-coloured beer with medium body and slight malt sweetness. The malt aroma and flavour should have a toasted or slightly roasted character. Despite being developed in Vienna, it’s not that popular in Europe anymore. Often called pre-Prohibition style amber lager, it became very common in pre-1919 North America and this is where you will find it in abundance. In Europe, Vienna Lager remains popular mostly in Norway, where it is produced by Hansa Borg Bryggerier, Aass Bryggeri, Hegg and others.