Monday, April 30, 2012

Schlagl - Austria

Schlagl Abtei Pils....$3.29 / pint
Rated 98 on Ratebeer in the Classic German Pilsner

Schlagl Kristall Lager....$3.29 / pint

Rated 98 on Ratebeer in the Dortmunder/Helles Style

Schlagl Roggen Gold Rye Ale....$3.49 / pint
Austria's first and only rye beer.
Thrive in the beautiful hilly landscape of the Mühlviertel barley, hops and best "Schlägl Rye", the indigenous ingredients for the delicious Schlägl "Organic Rye". 

Muhlviertel, Austria

The only brewery in Austria 100% owned by a religious order, the historic Abbey Schlagl was founded in 1218. The "Jewel of the Mühlviertel" has been the spiritual and cultural center of the region since it's inception.

The monastery was originally founded in 1203 by a Cistercian Monk named Kalhoch from the village of Bamberg in Bavaria and was commissioned by Bishop Wolfger of Passau to build a church and monastery on the border of Bohemia in a densely wooded area. Under extreme conditions and with the help of the Abbot Theodoric and other brothers, a small convent and church was built. The Schlagl Monastery was first mentioned in travel accounts by Bishop Wolfger of Passau in April of 1204.

The second mention of Abbey Schlägl is found in a document by the Bishop Mangold of Passau from 1209 where the Bishop confirms the rights and freedoms of the bishop of the Cistercian monastery "Slag" and the Abbot Theodoric. However, many of the Abbot's brothers died in the fierce Bavarian winters of 1214 and 1215 and the monastery was abandoned soon after.

In a document dated July 9th, 1218, the Bishop Kalhoch and a group of brothers from the lower Bavarian monastery of Osterhofen build a new monastery close to the original buildings and donates the "Slag" Monastery to the Premonstratensian Monks. The name "Slag" is a Latin derivative of the world "Plaga" - or "shock" in English. "Shock" because the abbey was used as an "introduction house" for new brothers just joining the faith and a "clearing house" for brothers leaving the faith.

The beautiful stone Romanesque church that is still the heart of the grounds was built in 1250. Under the rule of Ulrich I, a great war was fought that did great damage to the monastery in 1321. By this time the monastery was the cultural center of the region sitting at the heart of the triangle of Austria, Bavaria and Bohemia.

The most important monastery leader of the Middle Ages was provost Andreas Rieder (1444-1481). He enlarged the church and gave it great presence with elaborate work. He also expanded the monastery. Provost John III (1481-1490) built the great fortified tower (which helped keep out the enemies during wartime as well). 

The 16th Century saw the influence of the Reformation. The brewery was"formally" founded in 1580 to brew beer commercially though the abbey had been brewing beer for private use since the 12th century. 

Provost Fuck Crispin (1609-1622) rebuilt and improved much of the property and his successor, William Propst Capreolus (1622-1626) added many "Baroque"elements to the church that was very controversial at the time, and after his death in 1626 rebellious peasants set fire to the church and monastery destroying a good portion of the abbey. The following provost and later Abbot Martin Grey Sing (1627-1665) restored the church and monastery buildings (adding the north wing)and continued the "Baroque movement".

A number of fires have plagued the monastery over the years with seven major fires between 1702 and 1850 completely restructuring the monastery adding the stunning "Baroque" library in 1852. A new wing was built the following two years replacing old farm buildings. The fabulous art collection at the Abbey Schlagl was started by the abbot Lebschy Dominik (1838-1884). 

The cellars have been used to store and lager the beers since 1865. In 1954 a new brewery and cellar was built and eventually enlarged in 1974. A new fermenting room with modern stainless steel fermentation tanks was added in the 1980s and the brewery was certified to the E.M.A.S. for their environmental improvements(building a new waste water system to neutralize water for reuse and new low emission equipment). This decade has seen the addition of a new bottling line and a state of the art bottle washer.

Everything is done assure the brewery's status as the finest brewer in Austria. The beers are noted for their fresh hoppy flavors that come from the famous Muhlviertel hops grown in the district.

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