As part of our mission here at Why Daddy Drinks to revel in the humorous lunacy that is fatherhood, and to promote the drinking of quality beverages, we bring you our weekly segment highlighting something that should be in your glass. This is The Drink Of The Weekend.
Here’s a quick world geography quiz:
Have you ever heard of Austria?
Do you know where Austria is?
Are you thinking of Australia, instead?
Because Australia is where kangaroos and koalas are from
No, really…Austria and Australia are different places.
The reason I bring this up is because, as Americans, we tend to think about Austria about as much as we think about margarine. Yeah, it’s there, somewhere, and it must serve some purpose. But we tend to pass over Austria on our flights from Britain to Greece just like we skip over margarine as we move from the butter to the Yoplait yogurt.
However, Austria is more than just Switzerland East. It actually has a pretty colorful history. Back when Austria was tied up with Hungary, the Austro-Hungarian Empire was one of the great nations of Europe. That was until the Empire backed what ended up being the losing side in World War I. The Bad Guy Soviets occupied part of Austria after WW II, and unlike the rest of the countries the Red Army conquered, Stalin & Co. actually gave up and let Austria have its freedom. Austria’s capital, Vienna, is where both OPEC and the International Atomic Energy Agency are based. And maybe to top it all off, Austria is the birthplace of Mozart…But it’s also the birthplace of Hitler, too.
And unlike any other Americans I know, I’ve actually been to Austria. I went to there 10 years ago as part of a three-country trip I took across Central Europe that also included swings through Hungary and the Czech Republic. My entire time in Austria was spent in Vienna, where I saw such sights as Schoenbrunn Palace, mastered the city’s subway and tram system and took a sauna at one of Vienna’s upscale steambaths. I also got ridiculed in both German and English by an older gentleman there due to the fact that I kept my swim trunks on while in the sauna.
“Ah, you Americans are very coy!” he said.
Well, we may be coy about undressing in the local sauna, but we are not coy about the beers we drink. And while I was in Vienna, I was not coy at all about partaking in what I assume was the Austrian national brew, Stiegl.
But, after a few days in Vienna, it was time for me to take the train to Prague and I left the Stiegl behind. In fact, I left it behind for the next following decade. I never tried the stuff again until this past summer when my wife and I visited her cousin in Portland and he offered up an ice-cold can of Stiegl. Only this was a little different than the beer I had in Vienna.
That’s because this was Stiegl Radler…Which is Stiegl infused with grapefruit, of all things. I don’t like that we have a fruit called grapefruit when we already have a fruit called the grape, which is nothing at all like a grapefruit. And I don’t like grapefruit itself.
I also normally don’t like fruit-flavored beers. Bud Light Lime, for example, is an affront to both God and man that should only be drunk if you are in Las Vegas, it’s a million degrees out, and every other beer or other adult beverage in the entire city is sold out. But, I’ll be damned if this Stiegl Radler didn’t refresh like nobody’s business. It was just citrusy enough and the beer part of it cut down on some of the normal tartness that comes with grapefruit. It went down easily, probably because it’s only 40% Stiegl Goldbrau Lager and 60% grapefruit soda and has just a 2.5% ABV. On that summer afternoon in Portland, I could have easily downed one of Stiegl’s four-packs, but thought better of it as we still had about four hours of driving ahead of us.
However, there was little to hold me back when I cracked one open this pastweekend as I watched the Cougars of my alma mater, Washington State, get there literal asses handed to them by their cross-state rivals, the Washington Huskies, in the annual Apple Cup game, 45-10. The fact that Wazzu came into the game ranked No. 20 in the country and riding a turnaround season at 8-3, and the U-Dub was 5-6 and could have been knocked out of bowl contention with a Cougars win made the brutal loss even harder to stomach.
But if you have to stomach something bad, I can say that Stiegl Radler is a good, and refreshing option, to help wash that badness down. And drinking it will give you a reason to think of Austria instead of Australia.