22 December 2007

Beer Warmer?

Bierwärmer

We popped into the Augustiner Brewery a couple times while we were in Salzburg, and one of the first things we saw when we walked in the door was the Beer Warmer. It's basically just a big sink full of warm water, and people soak their full beer mugs in it if it is too cold. I don't understand how a still-liquid beer could possibly be too cold, but I suppose Austrians are different Volk and they apparently have different strokes.

Augustiner Beer Fountain

The procedure at the Augustiner Brewery is interesting. Perhaps all Austrian (& maybe even German) beer halls are like this, I don't know. I guess much, much more research is in order. The whole deal is mostly self-service. You grab a new mug from the shelves near the door (your choice of 0.5 or 1.0 liter mugs), then wash it in the beer fountain, pictured above. Then you pay for your beer. Then you go to the guy at the keg, and he fills it up. Optionally, you can then go to the beer warmer, if you swing that way.

The first day we were there, they were serving only Märzen beer, but we came back a few days later when they cracked open the keg of bock beer. I wasn't a big fan of the Märzen, but the bock rocked.

The beer hall was pretty cool, there were 4 huge rooms, at least one of which was non-smoking. That was nice. There are several stalls outside the hall that served food. The first day I was at one of the sausage stalls, and I watched the guy put some yummy looking grilled sausages into a nice looking bun with mustard and what looked like curry powder for the woman in front of me. I asked what it was. He told me it was a "wadlfjkhao diuvkjhba" or something like that. This Salzburger Austrian dialect of German is pretty bizarre. I didn't see anything on the menu with the perceived first couple syllables, so I asked again. This time I heard a bit differently, he clearly said "wdlafhjkoa dovkjhab"! Aahh... Still not on the menu, and the woman didn't hand him much money, so I asked for one of "what she had".

It was the best €2.20 I ever spent. What I missed while watching him make the one for the woman in front of me was the toasting of the bread and, more importantly, the sauce that featured tons of onion and horseradish cubes that went into bun first. It was incredible, And I have no idea what it is really called. Jeannette was even there, and with her mastery of German and several bizarre dialects, she couldn't make it out either.

Allanimal & His New Drinking Buddies

The second day we came, the day that they served bock beer, was much more crowded. We shared a table with an Austrian couple, who told me that my German is pretty good. That was nice, but they don't have to lie like that... Maybe I should have asked them what the horseradishy toasty sausagey thingy was. They probably would have just told me it was a "woldajhogka vodhjkba". But I already knew that. Eventually they left (probably because Jeannette was eating oranges with her beer), and the group of Italian kids that were waiting for a table sat with us. We talked a bit, and Jeannette decided I needed to be in a picture with them. OK! We also were quite jealous of the guys at the table next to us. They were apparently throwing a bachelor party, and had brought in all kinds of great food. I wanted to join them. I'll have to get over my shyness
before I can do that.

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