Brewer Tom Mondor Wanted a Vienna-Style Lager, So He Went Ahead and Made One, Dang It
The cool thing about the Summit Unchained Series is that it allows Summit brewers to make whatever the heck beer they want. The not-so-cool thing? Brewer Tom Mondor brewed his first three years ago — Unchained 17: Fresh Harvest IPA — and he’s been waiting ever since to make another. Eight brewers, three Unchained beers per year, carry the two… ugh, math stinks, and waiting does, too.
Fortunately, Mondor’s wait is over, and so is yours. Summit Unchained 25: Vienna-Style Lager is almost here.
Inspired by Mondor’s past travels through Germany, Unchained 25 features balanced bitterness and spicy and herbal aromas from Hallertau Mittlefruh and German Perle hops. You may remember the Hallertau variety from our Unchained 20: Sticke Alt release, but the German Perle hops are brand new to Summit.
Additionally, Weyermann Barke Vienna and CaraFoam malts provide nutty notes of toast, biscuit, and caramel, plus very little residual sweetness. If you tried our most recent Double IPA release, you just might recognize the Barke Vienna malt.
Topping everything off is an authentic Munich lager yeast that we’ve used previously in Keller Pils and this year’s Maibock. Which are both awesome, obviously.
But with all these authentic and traditional German ingredients, you might wonder why the beer is named after Vienna, a city in Austria. Which is not the same country as Germany. (We checked.)
“Vienna Lagers are a bit of a forgotten style,” says Mondor. “First brewed in the early 19th century in Austria, the style was created by an Austrian brewer who applied English roasting techniques to German malts.” Vienna Lagers were popular around the region for a few years, but the slightly darker, roastier lager hasn’t been mass-produced there since its early years. It did, however, gain a more permanent foothold in Mexico when Austrian brewers began emigrating in the 1860s.
“The Vienna-Style Lagers still brewed in Mexico today aren’t terribly representative of the original,” Mondor says, “as many are made with adjuncts like corn or rice.” In fact, few true examples of the style exist. “My goal was to use good ingredients, good processes, and good quality assurance to make a good beer.”
Careful to follow traditional methods, Mondor’s Vienna-Style Lager is decoction-brewed — a continental European brewing method that involves boiling a portion of the mash and then mixing it back in to achieve different temperature rests in the main mash. In addition, the beer was lagered, or stored, at near-freezing temperatures for weeks to help mature and develop the flavors.
“Really,” says Mondor, “in the end I just wanted to make one because I can’t find many.”
Unchained 25: Vienna-Style Lager will be tapped first at the Summit Beer Hall at 4 p.m. Thursday, June 29. We’re going to have a Party and everything (FYI: “Party” is German for party).
Join us Thursday 6/29 from 4–8 p.m. for Nails and Ales presented by our “Freunds” from the Germanic-American Institute, plus concertina music from Josh Eidsor and German food from the Black Forest Inn. Oh, and the new beer!
Summit Unchained 25: Vienna-Style Lager will be available on draft and in 6-packs of handsome blue 12-oz. cans in early July.
Unchained 25: Vienna-Style Lager
Color: Copper (12 L)
Malts: Weyermann Barke Vienna, CaraFoam
Hops: German Perle and Hallertau Mittlefruh
Yeast: Munich lager yeast
Serving Tips: Serve at 45ºF in a fluted glass. Pair with grilled pork and sausage, spicy chicken tacos and burritos, gruyere and gouda cheeses, or giant pretzels the size of your face.