Heinrich Dieter Kiener is not only the largest private brewer in Austria. He is also a man of vision and foresight. This is best shown at the Stiegl-Gut Wildshut, about 30 kilometers north of Salzburg, between the Flachgau and the Innviertel, not far from the Bavarian border.
“A change of values is taking place in our society today; people are once again paying more attention to regionality, responsibility, tradition and respect for what the world generally perceives as the ‘simpler’ things,” explains Heinrich Dieter Kiener, owner of Stiegl. “The motto of our economy should be ‘better instead of cheaper’. Wildshut builds on this way of thinking.”
The “Biergut” – or beer estate – founded by Kiener and his wife, Alessandra, is based on a very special circular economy system focused around brewing and beer: a brewery; organic farming on humus-rich soil and with crop rotation; breeding of old livestock breeds; a bakery; a distillery; beekeeping; restaurant hospitality, and a shop directly on the premises. A small universe that is unparalleled across Europe and likely worldwide.
At the only brewery estate in Austria, all beer ingredients such as hops and grains are produced here. The Kieners rely on ancient grains like einkorn, spellt, emmer and rarities such as Alpine Peacock Barley, black oat, Black Hulless barley or Laufener country wheat.
Master Brewer Markus Trinker, “Gault Millau Brewer 2018” in Austria, produces some notable beers like the “Wildshuter g’madhe Wiesn” (an herb beer), the “Wildshuter Sortenspiel” and the “Wildshuter Männerschokolade” (“chocolate for men”), a porter. Borrowed from the wine sector are large, 1000-liter amphorae that are buried in the ground; in these, the “ancient” beer matures – just like wine did in ancient Mesopotamia. Trinker is one of the few master brewers who also produces distilled beers and whiskeys that mature in small wooden barrels.
“At the beer estate, brewing begins in the field,” says Alessandra Kiener in emphasising the special importance of organic farming at Wildshut. “The basis for the best barley and the best hops is healthy, good soils.” Thanks to sophisticated crop rotation, humus and fertilizer from our own production – with manure, slurry and compost – an absolute showcase operation has emerged here over the years.
The Kieners are particularly proud to be able to use diatomaceous earth, which is used as a filter in beer production, also as a fertilizer – making the circular economy even “rounder”.
Pinzgauer cattle, Mangalitza pigs, Brown Mountain sheep – and the powerful Noriker, a typical breed of horses in the Salzburg / Bavaria region – complete Wildshut as an exemplary organic farm. Also butter, curd cheese, cheese, sausages, organic meat, bread and honey are produced here. All of these and more are available for you to taste, eat, drink and buy in the “Kråmerladen” and a restaurant.
An important concern and goal of the owners, the Kieners, is to protect and preserve the diversity of the crops in the best possible way also for future generations.
Biergut Wildshut – The Wildshut Beer Estate
Th-Sat 12 – 22 pm; Sun and holidays 10 am – 8 pm
For information, reservations and tours: tel.: +43/6277/64141
Copyrigth: Slider-Photos by Marco Riebler, Gabi Scheinast, Markus Bassler, Leo Neumayr