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Jagdhausalmen Alpine Pastures, Defereggen, East Tirol, Austria, Europe

The Top Beers from Tirol

Updated on 24.04.2023 in Food & Drink, Photos: Johannes Sautner


From pale ale to the fearsomely strong "Bockbier", Tirol’s brewing landscape is diversifying. Small start-ups are appearing throughout the region, while larger and more established breweries are experimenting more than ever before. We put together a team of beer experts and set them the onerous task of selecting the top beers from Tirol. Cheers!

1. Huber Bräu / St. Johanner Original

Huber Bräu "St. Johanner Original"Huber Bräu "St. Johanner Original"

"We ate a soup and drank a pretty decent St. Johanner Bier with it," wrote Wolfgang A. Mozart once of a stop en route to Italy. Huber Bräu has been around for almost 300 years and is still one of the most popular breweries in the eastern region of Tirol, known as the Unterland. A highlight (quite literally) is the Beer Tower, where visitors are invited to try many of the beers while enjoying wonderful views of the Wilder Kaiser Mountains.

Beer style: somewhere between a fresh Pils and a full-bodied Spezial
Aimed at: beer fans who like both hops and malt
Taste: very drinkable, slightly bitter
Alcohol: 5 % vol.
Original wort: 11.6°
Available: Huber Bräu Beer Tower, from the brewery itself, local bars and restaurants, supermarkets in and around Kitzbühel
Other beers: Vollbier (full-bodied), Hefeweizen (wheat beer), Zwickl (a cloudly, full-bodied beer), Meisterpils, Bock (strong), Dunkel (dark, malty beer), alcohol-free beer plus many more

2. Freundsberg 66 / Schwazer Schwarze

Freundsberg 66 "Schwazer Schwarze"Freundsberg 66 "Schwazer Schwarze"

Robert Holzleitner made a name for himself in Tirol’s culinary scene with his fantastic sausage in curry sauce served at Hurry Curry, but since 2014 the Bavarian native has also run his own small brewery in the village of Vomp. All beers are brewed according to the German beer purity law, which dictates that the only ingredients permitted are water, barley and hops. Austria’s “Beer Pope” Conrad Seidl is a regular visitor to Hurry Curry and is also a fan of Holzleitner’s Freundsberg 66 beer. Dark like the night and with a smoky-malty taste, this top-fermented black beauty is definitely something different. Drinkers will either love it or hate it!

Beer style: dark beer/ale
Aimed at: fans of dark, malt-rich beer willing to trying something different
Taste: coffee aroma, malty, slightly hoppy and smoky
Alcohol: 4.7% vol.
Original wort: 12°
Available: Hurry Curry, Vomp
Other beers: Fiechter Spitz (bottom-fermented special beer) and Kellerjoch (fruity, top-fermented beer)

3. Vilser Bergbräu / Hell

Vilser Bergräu "Hell"Vilser Bergräu "Hell"

Beer was brewed in the small village of Vils 500 years ago, but it wasn’t until 2013 that this tradition was revived. Vils is located just a stone’s throw from the German border, in the far west of Tirol, and this location is reflected in its Vilser “Hell” beer. The design is modern, but the content is full of tradition and strictly in line with the German beer purity law dating back to the 16th century. Unpasteurised, this pale lager has a refreshing taste with a hoppy finish.

Beer style: pale lager
Aimed at: fans of classic bottom-fermented beers
Taste: easy to drink, refreshing, rounded finish
Alcohol: 4.9% vol.
Original wort: 11.5°
Available: MPREIS supermarkets and selected locations in Innsbruck and around Reutte
Other beers: Hefeweizen, Lechweg Bier (pils), Zugspitz Bier (top-fermented beer), Schwarzer Krampalar (dark doppelbock), Tiroler Dunkel (bottom-fermented beer) and Kellerbier

4. Zillertal Bier / Tyroler Imperial Zwickl

Zillertal Bier "Tyroler Imperial Zwickl"Zillertal Bier "Tyroler Imperial Zwickl"

The Zillertal Bier brewery from the village of Zell am Ziller has been making beer for more than 500 years. “Old barley, new beer” is the idea behind its Tyroler Imperial Zwickl, which bears the Qualität Tirol seal of approval. This naturally cloudy beer is made from 100% Fisser Imperial Barley. This ancient type of barley was forgotten for many years before being rediscovered by the brewing experts at Zillertal Bier. Our experts loved the Imperial Zwickl's full-bodied taste.

Beer style: Zwicklbier (unpasturised, naturally cloudy)
Aimed at: fans of traditional, unpasteurised beer
Taste: full-bodied, fruity, easy to drink
Alcohol: 5.7% vol.
Original wort: 13.2°
Available: in many supermarkets and selected locations throughout Tirol
Other beers: Zillertal Pils, Zillertal Märzen, Zillertal Weißbier and 13 futher specialties

5. Tiroler Bier / Zwickl Märzenbier

Tiroler Bier "Märzen Zwickl"Tiroler Bier "Märzen Zwickl"

Harald Baumgartner is an institution in Innsbruck. He began making beer on a small scale 20 years ago, long before the hype around micro-breweries began. Today he and his sons produce 1,500 hectolitres of beer each year. His unfiltered, unpasteurised Märzenbier is a “thirst quencher”, he says. The term Märzen is specific to Austria and refers to a light or pale beer with a lower-than-normal alcohol concentration. The beer is available not only in standard bottles and one-litre bottles but also in two-litre XXL bottles – perfect for parties.

Beer style: unfiltered pale beer
Aimed at: fans of classic unpasteurised beer
Taste: slips down a treat
Alcohol: 4.5% vol.
Original wort: 12.3°
Available: from the brewery, at the Fruchthof Innsbruck, from Interspar Innsbruck and in selected locations
Other beers: light wheat beer and dark Christmas wheat beer

6. Bierol / Mountain Pale Ale

Bierol "Mountain Pale Ale"Bierol "Mountain Pale Ale"

What do you get if you combine the words “Bier” and “Tirol”? Bierol! It was during stay in the US that Christoph Bichler fell in love with craft beer. Back home in Schwoich, he joined forces with his friends Max and Marko to launch a brewery in an old farmhouse. Five years later, the trio have received numerous awards, including from the renowned restaurant guide Gault & Millau. The Mountain Pale Ale is one of their flagship beers and is a classic “Tirolean IPA” – strong, hoppy and malty.

Beer style: Indian Pale Ale
Aimed at: individualists, IPA fans and those who like to experiment
Taste: hoppy, caramelised malt – a beer to enjoy and appreciate
Alcohol: 7.3% vol.
Original wort: 16°
Available: from the brewery, in the Bierol Taproom and in selected locations in Innsbruck.
Other beers: The Padawan (Pale Ale), Bomboclaat (Imperial Stout), El Patrón (Double IPA) and a dozen further varieties

7. Loder Bräu / Kaiserwinkler Doppelbock Hell

Loderbräu "Kaiserwinkler Doppelbock Hell"Loderbräu "Kaiserwinkler Doppelbock Hell"

This beer takes its name from the expression "schneidiger Loder", which is used in local dialect to refer to a courageous man. Men (and women) who want to take on this beer will need a fair bit of courage themselves – it is almost 8% vol. Behind the beer is a family called, you guessed it, Loder. The have been brewing award-winning strong beers in the village of Walchsee since 2009. Petra Loder also makes beer-flavoured vinegar, while Sabrina Loder is responsible for the brewery's graphic design. 

Beer style: double bock
Aimed at: drinkers who like strong flavours and strong beers
Taste: fruity, malty, delicious
Alcohol: 7.7 % vol.
Original wort: 18.8°
Available: StarkbierLadl, Gästehaus Seerose in Walchsee, Käse Tollinger at the DEZ shopping centre in Innsbruck
Other beers: Dunkler Bock (strong, dark beer), port beer, seasonal ales

8. Sölsch / Eh klår

Sölsch "Eh klår"Sölsch "Eh klår"

Dark bottle, light beer. Cousins Simon Gstrein and Florian Schmisl opened the Bäckelar Brewery in Sölden in 2020. One calls himself the Master of Good Times, the other is the Master of Good Taste. Sölsch comes in a stylish aluminium bottle and is made using ingredients sourced from sustainable producers. It can be purchased in a wide range of locations, including via a nicely designed webshop. In case you were wondering, the name comes from the local dialect spoken in the Ötztal Valley.

Beer style: top-fermented light beer
Aimed at: open-minded beer lovers
Taste: hoppy, bitter, slightly fruity
Alcohol: 4.7 % vol.
Original wort: 11.8°
Available: bars and restaurants in the Ötztal Valley, online shop, many branches of the supermarkets Spar, Billa and MPREIS in Tirol

9. Starkenberger / Tiroler Kraft

Starkenberger "Tiroler Kraft"Starkenberger "Tiroler Kraft"

The Starkenberger brewery in Tarrenz has a long and proud tradition of brewing dating back 200 years. During that time it has been awarded numerous gold medals by the “Monde Selection”. Since 2017 this brewery has produced Tirol’s first organic beer in cooperation with the organisation BIO vom BERG. All of the barley used comes from organic farms in Tirol. “Tiroler Kraft“ is a classic unfiltered and unpasteurised light beer made according to the German beer purity law. Delicious!

Beer style: light beer (unfiltered)
Aimed at: fans of regional produce and lovers of traditional light beer
Taste: fresh, bitter, easy to drink
Alcohol: 4.8% vol.
Available: MPREIS supermarkets
Other beers: Gold Lager, Gold Spezial Hell/Dunkel, Schloss Pils, Bioperle, Festbock, Zwickl and many more.

10. Achensee Bier / Hefeweizen

Achensee "Weizen"Achensee "Weizen"

Alois Rupprechter’s brewery in Pertisau is just a few kilometres from the German border, so maybe that is why he makes such excellent wheat beer. Using hops and barley from Bamberg and fresh spring water from the Karwendel Mountains, he creates a naturally cloudy what beer brewed in line with the German beer purity law. This top-fermented specialty is available both as a light wheat beer and as a dark wheat beer. Its fruity taste makes it the perfect thirst-quencher. In 2019 the Achensee Bier brewery was named Austria’s most popular mini-brewery by the beer and restaurant guide Falstaff.

Beer style: wheat beer
Aimed at: wheat beer fans, sports enthusiasts and traditionalists
Taste: bitter, yeasty, fruity with a touch of banana
Alcohol: 4.8% vol.
Original wort: 11.8°
Available: Karlwirt and Langlaufstüberl in Pertisau
Other beers: Achensee Hell and strong beers in autumn and winter

11. Tux 1280 / Alpine Amber Ale

Tux 1280 "Alpine Amber Ale"Tux 1280 "Alpine Amber Ale"

Since autumn 2016, Neil Vousden and Timothy Jones have been making beer in Austria’s highest craft beer brewery. The number “1280” stands for the altitude of their adopted home, Tux-Lanersbach, and for the year in which the village was first mentioned. The reddish Alpine Amber Ale is made from fresh glacier water and has an intense, hoppy-malty taste. A percentage of each bottle sold goes towards supporting the local mountain rescue service in Tux.

Beer style: American Amber Ale
Aimed at: mountain rescuers, craft beer enthusiasts and fans of top-fermented beer
Taste: rich, malty flavour with a slightly bitter finish
Alcohol: 6.8% vol.
Original wort: 16.5°
Available: Online, from the brewery and in selected locations in the Zillertal Valley
Other beers: Wit Bier, Mountain Porter, Raspberry Beer, Tux Pale Ale

12. Zillertal Bier / Gauderbock

The strong "Gauderbock" bier brewed by Zillertal BierThe strong "Gauderbock" bier brewed by Zillertal Bier

The Gauder Fest in Zell am Ziller is held each May and is the biggest traditional celebration anywhere in Austria. Indeed, in 2014 it was made part of UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage. The beer traditionally drunk at the Gauder Fest is the Gauderbock brewed by Zillertal Bier. At 7.8%, it is stronger than normal beers and brewed in September ready for the celebrations the following year. It is then left to rest for eight months and is only available to buy during the period around the Gauder Fest. If you see it, grab it – you never know if you will find it again!

Beer style: pale, strong beer
Aimed at: visitors to the Gauder Fest, fans of strong beer
Taste: full-bodied, well-balanced, surprisingly easy to drink
Alcohol: 7.8% vol.
Original wort: 16.8°
Available: at the Gauder Fest and in selected shops (while stocks last)
Other beers: Zillertal Pils, Zillertal Märzen, Zillertal Weißbier and 13 further specialties

13. Braukunst Neidhartinger / Kolsasser Helles

Braukunst Neidhartinger "Kolsasser Helles"Braukunst Neidhartinger "Kolsasser Helles"

Bored of drinking the same old beers from the same old breweries, three friends – Alex, Martin and Sebastian – decided to make their own. In 2015 they set up the smallest micro-brewery in Tirol in a former barn. Initially they produced beer to drink themselves, but soon there were so many other people asking for some that they ended up making around 15 hectolitres of beer a year.  

Beer style: naturally cloudy lager
Aimed at: fans of classic hoppy beer
Taste: bitter, tangy
Alcohol: 5.2 % vol.
Original wort: 12°
Available: from the brewery in Kolsass and the Schatzkammer in Schwaz
Other beers: Bernstein Märzen (amber ale)

14. Kristall Bräu / Dunkles

Kristall Bräu "Dunkles"Kristall Bräu "Dunkles"

In 2006 Josef "Jos" Moser set us his own brewery and named it after the crystal-clear water found in the Alpbachtal Valley. The beers he makes there are produced according to the German Purity Law using ingredients sourced from the region. Easy-to-drink and the perfect thirst-quencher, you will find them in local bars and restaurants. There is even a beer vending machine in front of the brewery in Inneralpbach – perfect for those keen to pick up a pint outside opening hours.

Beer style: dark beer
Aimed at: fans of good beer made using local ingredients
Taste: bitter, tangy
Alcohol: 4.9 % vol.
Available: from the brewery and in many bars and restaurants in and around the Alpbachtal Valley
Other beers: Zwickl (cloudy beer), Weizen (wheat beer), Kellerbier, Bockbier (strong), seasonal ales

15. Starkenberger / Gold Lager

Starkenberger "Gold Lager"Starkenberger "Gold Lager"

Another beer from those guys and girls over at Starkenberger! Producing a mind-boggling 11 different beers, this brewery in the west of Tirol is the big player among Tirol's beer producers.Its Gold Lager is another cracker – light and easy to drink, but with plenty of flavour too. If you happen to be near Tarrenz, we recommend stopping off a the BierMythos adventure world featuring (no, really) a beer swimming pool.  

Beer style: lager
Aimed at: everyone 
Taste: mild, malty/hoppy, not too fizzy
Alcohol: 5.0 % vol.
Original wort: 11.8°
Available: MPREIS, Spar, Rewe, Brauereiladen, Starkenberger Schloss-Stube, bars and restaurants in Tirol
Other beers: Heimatbier, Dunkel, Pils, BioPerle, Festbock, Zwickl, Alkoholfrei

16. Die Bergbrauer / Bio-Naturtrüb

Die Bergbrauer "Bio-Naturtrüb"Die Bergbrauer "Bio-Naturtrüb"

Roman Hänseler originally comes from Switzerland and is a trained beer sommelier. This partner's family run the Hotel Berghof in Pfunds, where in 2020 he turned the gym into a brewery. Since then he has been making small batches of his Zwickl beer each week. Guided tours of the bewery with tasting session and food can also be booked.

Beer style: naturally cloudy Zwickl beer
Aimed at: those who appreciate genuine hand-made beer
Taste: bitter, fruity, wheaty, delicious
Alcohol: 5.2 % vol.
Original wort: 12.3°
Available:  Berghof Pfunds, Grissemann Zams, many farm shops and fine food shops in the region
Other beers: Bio-Weizen (organic wheat beer)

17. Bürgerbräu Innsbruck / Tiroler Helles

Bürgerbräu Innsbruck "Tiroler Helles"Bürgerbräu Innsbruck "Tiroler Helles"

The most international of the beers in our list, the Tiroler Helles beer from Bürgerbräu Innsbruck has Innsbruck in its name, is made in Lienz and will remind many of Munich. It is bottled by the large Brau Union corporation in Upper Austria, which itself is part of the Heineken Group based in the Netherlands. Sounds complicated? It is. But the most important thing is, of course, the taste. Our panel of experts reckind the Tiroler Helles is just as good as any of the many Bavarian beers it wishes to imitate. All of the ingredients come from Austria.

Beer style: lager
Aimed at: fans of typical Bavarian lager beers
Taste: mild, easy-to-drink, refreshing
Alcohol: 4.8 % vol.
Original wort: 11.2°
Available: branches of the supermarkets MPREIS, Spar and Billa as well as selected bars and restaurants in Tirol

18. Stadl Bräu / Hefeweizen

Stadl Bräu "Hefeweizen"Stadl Bräu "Hefeweizen"

A real insider tip! This wonderfully easy-to-drink wheat beer is made in Austria's highest brewery, which produces no more than a few hundred hectolitres a year. Since 1995 head brewer Christoph has been making this beer for guests staying at his Hotel Thaneller in Berwang. There are also guided tours of the brewery. Beer can be purchased from the brewery in small and large quantities, including special party barrels

Bierstil: wheat beer
Aimed at: fans of wheat beer with a strong, intense taste
Taste: easy-to-drink, hoppy, sweet with a touch of banana
Alcohol: 5.0 % vol.
Original wort: 12.9°
Available: Hotel Thaneller Stadl Bräu in Berwang
Other beers: Helles (lager), Dunkles (dark beer)

Pssst… a few more top-secret tips!

  • Most breweries offer guided tours and tasting sessions. Simply get in touch to find out more.
  • Monika Atzl-Klingler runs the Bieraterie in Kramsach, the first craft beer shop to open in Tirol.
  • If you're in Innsbruck, don't forget to check out the BierWelt.Tirol. This shop is just a stone's throw from the main tourist attractions. It is run by Igor, a real craft beer expert, and offers a wide range of good beers from Tirol and around the world.

Having worked overseas for years, Klaus Brunner returned home to explore Tirol with his camera and microphone in tow. Home is where the heart is.

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