Austrian Beer and Wine Bleg:

Next weekend, my girlfriend and I will be hosting a party in honor of F.A. Hayek's 110th birthday. To celebrate the occasion properly, we need an appropriate supply of Austrian beer and wine. Perhaps some of our more alcoholically sophisticated readers can recommend a good place in the DC or northern Virginia area where such beverages can be purchased.

The party might well be the DC libertarian social event of the season, with various luminaries attending, including multiple Volokh Conspirators. So we need to supply the assembled company with praxeologically appropriate sustenance. The Constitution of Liberty needs proper fortification!

On a slightly more serious note, here's a link to my post on why Hayek is still relevant today. Indeed, given current efforts to impose at least temporary government planning on large portions of the economy, Hayek is even more relevant today then when I wrote the post last summer. Also still relevant is Hayek's critique of conservatism.

Rick Blaine (mail):
Gösser. I spent three days in Salzburg during the Danube flood of 2002 living off the stuff.
4.25.2009 1:33pm
eapen (mail) (www):
I recommend the wines of Alois Kracher if you can find them. His trockenbeerenausleses can be particularly phenomenal.
4.25.2009 1:36pm
4.25.2009 2:01pm
I don't know anything about Austrian wines, but for DC boozing in general, it's hard to beat Calvert Woodley liquor up on Connecticut. From their site, they appear to have at least a few Austrian wines in stock.
4.25.2009 2:05pm
Titus Andronicus:
I've never had it, nor do I know how well it goes with a critique of conservatism, but the Austrian Knights of Malta have been making a a white Grüner Veltliner called Kommende Mailberg for centuries.
4.25.2009 2:10pm
Sk (mail):
"Next weekend, my girlfriend and I will be hosting a party in honor of F.A. Hayek's 110th birthday."

That's a sentence I never expected to read.

4.25.2009 2:29pm
Kelly (mail):
Total Wine &More in NoVa may be your best bet. They have stores in Alexandria (Landmark) and McLean (Chain Bridge Road). I've bought Gösser at the Alexandria store and I'm sure they have at least some selection of Austrian wines.
4.25.2009 2:38pm
GU (mail):
Oddly, some of the best brewers in Austria have decided to make "Scottish" style beers, which are good, but are probably not what you are looking for. Here a few Austrian beer recommendations:

Nussdorfer St. Thomas Brau (Altbier style)

Schloss Eggenberg Hopfen Konig Pils (Pilsner style)

Schloss Eggenberg Urbock 23 (Doppelbock style)
4.25.2009 2:45pm
- (mail) (www):
Chevy Chase Wine &Spirits has a great selection of beers and pretty knowledgeable people. I'm not much of a wine drinker and haven't bought any there, but they seem to have a good selection, as well. They might be able to help you out.
4.25.2009 2:55pm
Hauk (mail):
Despite living in DC for three years, I can't really help you with a place to buy Austrian beers. But I should mention that Stiegl and Gösser are the Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon of Austrian beers, respectively. Stiegl's alright, but stay away from Gösser at all costs.

My personal recommendation, if you can find it--and I have reservations about whether you can--is Fohrenburger Pilsner, from Vorarlberg, the westernmost state in Austria.

As far as wines go, I recommend nearly anything from South Tyrol--though it's no longer a part of Austria (it's the part of Northern Italy known as Alto Adige)--it was at the time Hayek was born. My personal favorite variety is the Vernatsch, a mild, smooth red that's low in tannins. You can get a good, inexpensive bottle at the Whole Foods on P Street in DC.
4.25.2009 3:02pm
Whole Foods sells the wine
4.25.2009 3:05pm
Oh, go to the Brickseller and they might be able to help with the beer.
4.25.2009 3:06pm
I can't get the link to work so just type in Brickseller into goggle and it comes up
4.25.2009 3:07pm
Dave Friedman (mail) (www):
Brickskeller is what you're looking for: DuPont Circle, Washington, DC:

They will be able to point you to all Austrian beers. As for wine: call the Austrian embassy in DC.
4.25.2009 3:12pm
Dr. Weevil (mail) (www):
You need to spell it Brickskeller, not Brickseller. You want a basement (Keller) built with bricks, not some guy who sells bricks.
4.25.2009 3:14pm
Ben P:

Despite living in DC for three years, I can't really help you with a place to buy Austrian beers. But I should mention that Stiegl and Gösser are the Budweiser and Pabst Blue Ribbon of Austrian beers, respectively. Stiegl's alright, but stay away from Gösser at all costs.

Some of my friends from college refer to those types of brands as "Eurotrash beers."

Although pilsen's technically in the Czech Republic I've always associated Austria with Pilsner style beers and the Bock and Doppelbock style beers more with Western and Northern Germany, although they're really pretty evenly spread out.

A quick search discovered this site listing a number of Austrian beers. If there's a local liquor store that stocks specialty beers they're sure to have a few of them.
4.25.2009 3:30pm
Brett Marston:
Balducci's in Bethesda is a little pricey, but it does carry two wines from the Meinklang winery. The pinot noir and the sparkling blanc de pinor noir are quite good.
4.25.2009 3:34pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Good red wines are made from the Blaufrankisch and the Zweigelt grapes. While Gruener Veltliner is ubiquitous, also try Weisser Burgunder (Pinot Blanc) and Rotgipfler.

I agree with looking for Italian wines from the Alto Adige. If the winemaker has a Germanic name, you're looking at a Sudtiroler.

I wouldn't diss Steigl. Try their Maerzen. Austrian Maerzen beers are not high alcohol like their German brothers.

On the West Coast, the twin of Salzburg's Trumer beer is brewed in Berkeley.
4.25.2009 3:48pm
salzburger bier:
Yes to STIEGL, preferably in one of the five-liter miniature keg cans. Delightful stuff.
4.25.2009 3:49pm
Amanda L Butler:
German Gourmet in Falls Church may also stock Austrian beers, wines, and munchies. I think I've gotten some Austrian zweigelt there before.

I'd also suggest checking Rick's Wine and Gourmet on Duke St. in Alexandria. They have a broad selection, including my favorite Lichtensteinian riesling (even harder to find than Australian wine). Even if they don't have what you need in stock, if it's a wine that one of their distributors carries, they will order it for you. When I needed three cases of champagne, it arrived in half a week.

(And if you hurry, you can get to Rick's before today's beer tasting ends at 5pm).
4.25.2009 4:34pm
Amanda L Butler:
Oh, of course, Schneider's of Capitol Hill, which is sadly not open on Sundays. They have wine from seven different regions in Austria, including an eiswein marked down from $49.99 to $14.99.
4.25.2009 4:42pm
Teh Anonymous:
Orin's post about the banning of single beer sales in DC may be relevant too, sadly. (Though perhaps Australian beers are not popular enough to be sold singly - I don't drink beer, or buy it in DC, so I wouldn't know. --;;)
4.25.2009 5:27pm
NickM (mail) (www):
Hayek wouldn't have been protectionist. His beer selection would have been based purely on their value to him.

4.25.2009 5:32pm
Teh Anonymous:
Austrian, rather. Whoops!
4.25.2009 5:33pm
Chevy Chase Liquor on Connecticut Ave has by far the best beer selection I've come across in the DC area.

On a side note, I was incredibly disappointed with Wegman's options. Much inferior to Whole Foods.
4.25.2009 6:36pm
Amanda--What liquor store in DC is open on Sundays?
4.25.2009 6:47pm
t-boy (mail):
Servus! Make sure and get some Almdudler and Red Bull to add to the non-alcoholic selection of Austrian drinks.
4.25.2009 8:06pm
George Lyon (mail):
No liqour store is open on Sunday in DC. But grocery stores sell wine and beer on Sunday. Chevy Chase is the best place for beer. Austrian wine should be available at any of the major liqour stores: Calvert Woodley, Pearsons, Sneiders or MacArthur.
4.25.2009 8:08pm
Looking a bit outside the normal (though I am surprised no-one has suggested an Austrian riesling?), as at the time of his birth(pre WW1) the Austro-Hungarian empire (the "dual crown") still existed, perhaps you would be willing to add Hungary? I suggest that because Tokaji (depending on your price range, 4 puttonyos up to aszu essencia) is one of the world's great sweet wines (like a Sauternes) which reportedly the Austro-Hungarian emperors used to drink aged 200 years or so. Some of the Austrian BAs and TBAs (beerenausleses and trockenbeerenausleses) not made from riesling are also good values if you want a sweeter wine. I've had some good Hungarian reds also but also some pretty bad ones...

My recollection is that Austria-Hungary may also have controlled part of what now is Italy, and Wikipedia notes Hayek fought on the Italian front in WW1, so if you want an excuse to add Italian wines, I'd go Italian for reds, Austrian for whites, and Hungary for tokaji (not to be confused with "tokay" from Alsace).
4.25.2009 8:58pm
Eli Rabett (www):
You might be interested in one of the sweeter 1985s, still edgy and quite appropriate
4.25.2009 11:52pm
The Austrian Embassy has an "Office for Science and Technology": they maintain contacts with scientists, so they might even support your party symposion (their telephone number is (202) 895-6754: When you call, introduce yourself as "Professor Somin"..).

I do not view wine and beer as the highlights of Austrian cuisine.

If you want to cook: You find some links at

If you want some almost real Austrian food try Leopold's Kafe in Georgtown:

They have coffee (DO NOT ORDER DRIP) and sweets which are almost as good as in Vienna...
4.26.2009 2:35am
The Mojo Bison (mail) (www):
Second on Gösser. If there is any way you could lay hands on some Augustiner Bräu (Salzburg), that would be mighty fine as well.

I am told that 2004 might well prove to be a century vintage for grüner Veltliner, but YMMV.

Coffee. Definitely coffee. Mit schlag. And order up some Sachertorte (or better, make an order for Imperialtorte, which is what is served at the Hotel Imperial and IMO is far superior).
4.26.2009 2:12pm
Joe Carl (mail) (www):
Sattler St. Laurent...ausgezeichnet!

And I second my brother's recommendation for Imperialtorte.
4.26.2009 2:19pm
Tony Tutins (mail):

If there is any way you could lay hands on some Augustiner Bräu (Salzburg)

Checking their website you have to be in the Salzburg metro area. They sell it by keg, carton, or case at their beer garden's Bierrampe, seven days a week; or they have a list of beer bars and dealers in the area that stock it.

Wisconsin's Point Special had a similar distribution philosophy: When you're out of Point, you're out of town.
4.26.2009 5:06pm
Tony Tutins (mail):
Other Austrian beverages are available in the US, including the formidable Stroh Rum, at 80% alcohol (160 US proof) one of the strongest drinks in the store. For an after-dinner drink, consider that Mozart and his balls*, the pride of Salzburg, gave rise to two sorts of chocolate liqueur.

Austria also produces various real fruit spirits, called Obstler, that are concentrated essences of fruit at their ripest.

*Mozartkugeln, chocolate covered marzipan, are made in Austria and copied in Germany.
4.26.2009 5:53pm
Cole Kendall (mail):
Bassin's MacArthur Beverages ( has the best Austrian wine selection in DC.
4.26.2009 7:08pm
Simon Spero (mail) (www):
Forget driving yourself around to find wine or beer. You need Cosmos and Taxis.
4.26.2009 7:15pm
GMUSL '07 Alum (mail):
If you want red wine, try a Zweigelt. Total wine should have some, and Arrow Wine in Arlington may as well.
4.27.2009 1:03am
Tanker J.D. (mail):
Arrowine on Lee Highway has a great selection of wines from all over, and even has some beers.

Gruner Veltliner is the "up and coming" Austrian varietal. It's kind of like a Reisling, but less fruity, and tending to be less sweet. I'm sure the staff at Arrowine will be able to recommend some good labels.

Don't overlook Gewurtztraminers, either; but those are more classically German/ Rhine.
4.27.2009 5:59pm
Tanker J.D. (mail):
4.27.2009 6:00pm
Random Wine Geek:
I'm moderately fond of Austrian red wines, but the real stars are the white wines. The best of the Rieslings and Gruener Veltliners from the Wachau, Kremstal, and Kampstal are the equal of any white wines produced anywhere in the world, while being perhaps the most food-friendly. While most German quality white wines are at least off-dry (though there are more quality producers vinifying their wines dry in recent years), Austrian whites from the Kremstal, Kampstal, and Wachau are typically bone dry, coupling intense fruit and mineral characteristics with a strong acidic backbone that balances the ripeness while prismatically illuminating the the complexities of the wines.

In the Wachau, wines are classified by ripeness of the grapes used to produce the wines (really the potential alcohol based on the sugar level of the grapes), the highest level of which is Smaragd (meaning emerald, and also the name of an emerald green lizard that suns itself on the hilly, rocky vineyards), which is roughly equivalent in ripeness to a German spatlese if memory serves correctly. Federspiel is the next lowest rung on the ripeness ladder, which tend to be somewhat shorter lived and less complex, though they can still be very good. I've had particularly good luck with Nikolaihof's Federspiels.

Taking a look at the Bassin's MacArthur website, they have wines from many of the top producers. Schloss Gobelsburg tends to offer outstanding value with a very high quality level. Other favorite producers of mine who are carried by MacArthur include include Alzinger, Brundlemeyer, Hirsch, Hiedler, Hirtzberger, Knoll, Jamek, Nigl, and Nikolaihof, and I've had consistently impressive results from each of them. F.X. Pichler is extremely highly regarded, and I've loved some of his wines, but they tend to push the envelope and can sometimes trade extraction for complexity. Prager has a very good reputation, but I have less experience with their wines.

The downside is that the better wines aren't cheap, but even the best (like Knoll's Schutt vineyard wines and Hirtzberger's Honivogl and Singerriedel vineyard wines) are good values on a global scale compared to other wines of comparable quality.
4.28.2009 11:18am

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