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Colorado Brewery Is Reviving Mozart’s Favorite Summer Beer, Which Hasn’t Been Produced In More Than 100 Years

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Photo Courtesy of Seedstock Brewery.

There’s no better time than summer to sit down and crack open a nice cold one but while there might be tons of efforts for this time of year, one Colorado brewery has something much different.

With more than 8,000 breweries throughout the U.S., many of which brew a steady stream of IPAs and Imperial Stouts into the beer drinker’s consciousness, it might not seem like there’s many new styles of beer to discover, though there are a lot that have been forgotten.  One of those styles is Horner Bier, a traditional Austrian beer brewed with 100 percent oats, which eliminated both barley and wheat to create a sour beer, as opposed to something bitter or malty.  Oats have become a go-to addition for brewing hazy New England IPAs these days but to create a beer entirely out of the ingredient was quite popular over 300 years ago.  In fact, Horner Bier was even named-dropped by Mozart as one of his favorite summer efforts.

According to Seedstock Brewery, it’s mentioned in one of the 18th Century musician’s compositions: “The horner beer, invented in Vienna in 1750, was called out in Mozart’s ‘Bei der Hitz im Sommer ess ich’ canon, naming the horner as the drink of summer.”

The Denver-based brewery actually created a very limited batch of Horner Bier, a style that’s so rare you’ve certainly never tasted one, and it might very well be the first time the beer is available in the U.S.  It’s been more than 100 years since Horner Bier was brewed commercially but on Aug. 28 Seedstock will release it in 22-ounce bottles, with pre-sale available online.

“[Horner Bier is] kind of a sweeter, citrusy beer, not quite a lemon [flavor], but it leans that direction, but the sweetness of the oat almost gives it a malty feel,” Seedstock head brewer Jason Abbott told VinePair’s Evan Rail.  “It is so different.  It’s super dry.  It definitely has the appearance that it’s going to be very full-bodied, but it finishes quite dry.”

There’s one main reason as to why the Horner Bier probably disappeared. The emergence of mainstream lagers were just so much easier to brew, in part because of Horner Bier’s hyper-sticky mash which created a gummy, sticky blob that required extra effort in order to keep the beer moving, leaving the style to almost disappear.  

Only a small amount of Seedstock’s historic beer, simply named Horner Beer, will be available as it was brewed in just a half-barrel pilot batch. But if all goes well with the release we have to imagine the brewery, which focuses on Pilsners and other German styles, will revisit it down the road – surely, other craft brewers will also take notice.