Let’s talk hops. In Salzburg, they put them to excellent use. Austrian beers are usually served in mammoth glasses so hefty you’ll need to lock in some bicep sessions before you reach Salzburg. Once here, you can put your new found strength to the test, raising glasses across the city. And, for those who may just be expecting some timber clad Austrian inns, we’ve got great news.
The best beer in Salzburg can be found in some seriously forward-thinking and innovative spaces. Yes, those traditional pubs hold their charm – and we’ve recommended a couple – but life’s all about variety. So we’ve added an ale-peddling place that’ll surprise you. And those hops we mentioned? Well, let’s let your tastebuds take care of those.
Salzburg’s best bars
It looks like the phrase ‘go big or go home’ was in use far earlier than anyone realised. Centuries ago, Salzburg’s beer was stored in the StieglKeller. And, judging by the size of the vast beer halls carved into rock under the Hohensalzburg fortress, Salzburg of yore liked a drink. Now you can step into the city’s beer-laden history by having a drink in the beer halls. They are still brewing one of the 500 year old recipes – the Märzen beer, though there are more modern ales on tap too. Quench your thirst in the beer garden for some rather nice views of the city. Or, pair your pint with an Austrian classic in the restaurant. Though the wiener schnitzel is tempting, it’s worth having a bowl of the cheddar beer soup – to really get the full ale experience.
Adopt the brace position, we’re going to drop a serious curveball into our best beer bars in Salzburg list. If you’re into aviation, architecture or art – you need to see the bars at Hangar 7. Yes they serve beer, but it’s part of a bigger drinks menu of cocktails, champagne and just about every other alcoholic drink. As a concept, the space mingles tech, planes, sleek design, art, race cars, gourmet food and premium drinks. It’s ideal if your travel companion(s) prefer cocktails to beer – or if you’re really into the Red Bull team’s various vehicles.
Some very lofty claims are made about the Sternbrau. The building dates back to the 1500s and beyond, though records get murky around that time. What is known is that the site has been linked to beer and brewing long before the hipster crowd and their craft beers waltzed in. It’s said Mozart used to enjoy a pint here and Karl Reisenbichler – a famous Austrian artist also enjoyed a tipple or two under this roof. Of course, none of that matters. You’re here for the beer. And there’s a reason this is the biggest beer inn in Salzburg. The beers – and the food – are on point. And, though the site may be historic, the interiors are far from fusty. The brewmaster’s room serves up the wood panelling and decor you’d expect from an old-timey inn, whereas the Sternlounge bring things firmly into this century.
Salzburg beer tasting tours
In Salzburg, you don’t simply go on a beer tour for a casual hour or two of bar hopping. You go on a beer hike. Ranging in length from 3 – 6 hours, these tours take stamina. The longer 6 hour walk includes a brewery tour and then various stops in Salzburg’s hospitable inns. Those walks are ideal beer tasting sessions to get a sense of the beer scene. But for true hop enthusiasts, Salzburg’s Historic Beer Walk is a must do. You’ll explore the Old Town, keeping beer as a running theme, tour a brewery and visit the Augustiner Bräustübl – a vast beer hall with an impressive beer menu.
There’s more. You’ll also drop in to the Stiegl-World of Brewing, conduct a beer tasting and a run through the Paracelsus-Stube beer tasting menu. There’s also talk of a pretzel, though you may need more than a light snack to sustain you on this beast of a tour. For €84, it’s a steal.
Way back in 1621, some Austrian monks decided Salzburg was the place to set up a brewery. Today, the monks are long gone, but their traditional recipe is still brewed by hand at Augustiner Bier. If that doesn’t tempt you onto this brewery tour – how about a freshly poured pint, tapped straight from the wooden cask. Now we’re talking. You’ll also get to follow the ‘path of beer’ and take a snoop around their living brewing museum. Which is a slightly lost in translation way of saying – you get to see the beer being made. Historic, hoppy and reasonably priced at just under €17 a ticket. Do make sure you sample in beer in the beer garden – it’s Austria’s largest and puts some UK beer gardens very much in the shade.
If you order a beer in Salzburg, chances are it’ll be this brand. So you might want to a take a peek behind the scenes to see what makes it so popular in a country filled with beer-based options. Well, for starters Stiegel has been on Salzburg’s brewing scene for centuries. Historians have traced it back to 1462 – but even as far back as the 1600s, Stiegel was one of the city’s largest breweries. They also trot out the Mozart connection – though they’ve actually got some evidence to prove the concerto composing chap swigged their ales, at least once. There’s an entry in Mozart’s sister’s diary documenting their visit.
All this preamble is a long-winded way of saying, their brewery tour is the one. Not least because of their vast brewery, tour experiences and tasting sesh. They set themselves apart with an in-house cinema and optional scavenger hunt. Kind of like an escape room – but with a tasty beer at the end. Cheers!
Heading to Salzburg in winter and looking for more inspo? Our guide has everything you need.