The trend for hand-brewed beer had not yet emerged when Rienzbräu in Bruneck/Brunico began brewing in 2005. Today, Rienzbräu is one of the oldest craft breweries in South Tyrol, and is a veritable institution in the Pustertal valley. Virtually everyone here is familiar with the atmospheric restaurant, and of course the beer brewed there.
And yet, the Pustertal valley has a long tradition of brewing beer. Key ingredients such as barley and hops were cultivated in this area and provided the raw materials needed by local breweries even as far back as the 18th century. This time-honoured tradition is now being revived by small craft breweries such as Rienzbräu.
“Our Export, Heller Bock, South Tyrol IPA and spelt beer varieties are still brewed using malt cultivated by the community of Südtiroler Handwerksbrauereien (South Tyrolean Craft Brewers Association) and bear the South Tyrolean seal of quality,” explains master brewer Maximilian Ried. Lager is the house beer at Rienzbräu while the other beer varieties rotate on an annual cycle. Consequently, over the course of a year, up to 25 different beers are available at the restaurant.
As an “open brewery”, visitors to Rienzbräu can watch live how its South Tyrolean seal of quality beer is produced, since the brewhouse is located directly in the guest area. “We are one of a small handful of breweries still using traditional hand-brewing methods with open viewing. Guests can see through a glass screen into the cellar where the newest beer is fermenting in the vats,” says master brewer Maximilian Ried.
And he and the owners are more than happy to talk shop with visitors. The aim for the future is now to maintain and enhance this attractive feature of the brewery and bar as a meeting place for beer lovers and connoisseurs.
We are one of a small handful of breweries that still have open viewing. Guests can see through a glass screen into the cellar where the newest beer is fermenting in the vats.