Hans (Vienna Lager)

Reviews are done by Jim Matt, our Head Brewer, who is also a veteran FoBAB judge, GABF judge, and BJCP Master judge.

Fresh off the canning line for the first time is Hans (4.8% | 25 IBU), a rich, flavorful Vienna-style lager. The brother of Franz, our Oktoberfest, Hans offers soft and clean notes of toasted bread from Vienna and Munich malts while German hops provide a subtle bouquet with moderate bitterness.

Malts: Vienna, Pilsner and Munich

Hops: Bravo, Huell Melon

How did the Vienna Lager come to be?

Vienna Lager and German Marzen beers are quite similar. The Marzen beer was brewed in March and is similar to a Fest Bier. In Vienna, “Vienna Malt” was used instead of the slightly darker and more malt forward “Munich Malt” in Germany. This style became rare in Austria after World War I but Austrian immigrants kept the spirit of the style alive in Mexico. The style in Mexico “(d)evolved” into a darker beer that now contains adjuncts and coloring.

What’s the difference between an ale and a lager and how can we notice that in Hans?

We use a lager strain to ferment Hans. Lager strains are bottom fermenting, and ferment at cooler (55 degrees F) temperatures. After the fermentation is complete, the beer is cold conditioned (lagered) for a couple of weeks. This usually produces a beer that is largely absent of much yeast characteristics, in contrast to ales that are fermented warm with top fermenting yeast that produce esters (fruity flavors).

What are the notable characteristics of this beer?

Light in color for the style, clean, low bitterness, and dare I say, “sessionable.”

What gets you excited about Hans?

Hans is a great addition to the portfolio. Combining the dryness of Puma (Pilsner), but less hoppy, with the malt character of Franz (Oktoberfest), while being less sweet and overtly malty.

Any beers you would compare Hans to?

The classic “Vienna Lager” that is mass-produced now is Negra Modelo, but Hans is an all-malt beverage (Negra Modelo contains adjuncts), plus Hans is much lighter in color and more delicate.

Appearance: Clear gold color, medium carbonation, and a moderate persistent white head.

Aroma: Medium malt aroma that is cracker-like and reminiscent of lightly toasted bread. Light sulfur aroma that quickly dissipates and a very low noble hop aroma, no fruity esters.

Taste: Medium malt flavor that has saltine cracker, and a light toasted baguette character. Dry on the palate, with a clean finish. Medium-low bitterness that may come across higher due to the dryness of the beer — very balanced.

Mouthfeel: Medium-light body, medium carbonation with a hint of creaminess.

Overall: A light, easy drinking malty beer that walks the line between a hoppier Pilsner and a maltier Fest beer. Lower in alcohol than either and very easy to drink.

What foods would pair well with Hans?

A simple soft pretzel, or spicy chicken fajitas.

Ideal glassware for Hans?

Half liter or liter mug (Stein).