Craft beer is all the rage right now. I’m sure you can easily find yourself a new brew a day around Vienna (we do love our beers). But local microbreweries serving up their very own pale ales? Now that’s something a little more hard to come by in Vienna.
So you can imagine our delight when we hear there’s a new player in town, offering American style brews & eats in the 9th district. We hit the Beaver Brewing Company on their opening night. If the success of a new place can be reflected by the opening night, the future looks bright for the BBC.
The place is packed, with the modest bar manned by no less than three bartenders, including the friendly American owner – Mr David Beaver (who also answers to just ‘Beaver’). The high school teacher turned brew master teaches 8 graders by day and brews and serves up beer by night. With such a surname, we wouldn’t think twice about the name of our bar either. The choice of the bar’s logo was also written way before it came to be. We’re a little jealous of the name, actually – the beaver!
Despite the crowd, the wait staff is accommodating in finding our party of four a makeshift table. Thirsty as we were, we start with a round of Beaver Blue Ribbon – a light Zwickl (As an import Viennese, I’m a sucker for a good Zwickl, and this one doesn’t disappoint). Nice to see a true Austrian classic on the menu next to the likes of the craft beer pinup boy, Pale Ale and an Oatmeal coffee-tasting stout with the clever name Mrs Stoutfire.
The brief beer menu is a welcome change to the menu’s that could rival the encyclopaedia Britannica at most craft beer places. There are 6 beers in total – 3 in-house brews and 3 guest brews. The staff are friendly and switch seamlessly between both German and English as they work the room.
Having gone for the trending polished, yet rough around the edges look, The Beaver Brewing Company sports an industrial style décor. The bar welcomes you as you walk in to the U-shaped space, split in two by the bar. Large brewing kettles are at the back, and the walls are left raw with brick and mortar exposed, giving the place a homey feel while staying consistent with the unfinished … finish.
After our first round, we order their Big Lake Pale Ale. It lives up to the IBU (International Bittering Units) standard, and goes down a treat like a good Pale Ale should. As for food, the BBC offers the traditional American BBQ options found at a diner or bar, with the usual suspects all making their appearance – burgers, pulled pork sandwich, pastrami sandwich, ribs and chicken wings all accompanied by salads and homemade fries.
The pulled pork leaves us grasping for more napkins, before we give up, give in and lick up the sweet and tangy barbeque sauce spilling out the sides. And if you’re humming and hawing when the question – “sweet potato or normal fries,” – comes, simply answer “sweet, baby” before the waiter can even finish the sentence – Hoooo, mama! The portions are relatively small for Viennese standards, but filling, and the quality and pricing balances nicely. More importantly, the food goes really well with the beer.
When I manage to get the B’ man (aka. Beaver man, aka. David) on the side, he tells me that he decided to start brewery and open the bar because he was missing the authentic American microbrewery atmosphere in Vienna. I guess that’s as good a reason as any to start your own bar.
According to David, the aim of the BBC is to stand apart from other craft beer/microbreweries by constantly keeping things different, with the plan to offer a changing selection of experimental brews alongside the classics on the menu. As long as he keeps the Big Lake on tap, that’s fine with me. Leaving the bar around 11pm, our table is quickly snapped up by four new beer revellers.
The bill tallies up to a little over 60 € for the four of us, with each of us having had an entree and three beers. With the 0.4l versions of the beers costing just €3,50 each, this value and friendly service for craft beer in Vienna is as rare as a man named Beaver.