STOWE, Vt. — The Trapp Family resort motto, “A little bit of Austria, a lot of Vermont” just got a little more Austrian with the recent completion of the Trapp Family Bierhall and Brewery. After five years of construction, Johannes von Trapp, president of Trapp Family Lodge and son of Maria and Georg (Baron) von Trapp, realized his long held dream of opening a beer hall. Johannes’s son Sam, vice president of the Trapp Family Lodge, says it was partly modeled after the warmth and magnificence of the Augustiner-Brautheir Bierhall in Salzburg. Looking around, Johannes feels he has accomplished that and much more.
Johannes von Trapp loves the taste of crisp, clean Bavarian lager and spent a long time deciding on what he wanted to brew. He knew that he wanted to include Trapp’s fresh spring water in the recipe, but it took a trip to Austria, where he conducted blind taste tests of traditional Austrian beer, for him to identify his favorites. Johannes sent the Trapp Family brewer over to Bavaria to research recipes, some of which date back to the 1500s. By 2010, they were brewing their flagship beers — Helles, Vienna, Dunkel, and Pilsner — in a retrofitted bakery. When Johannes saw how popular the lager was with his guests, he decided that it was time to get them out in the world. Thus the new Trapp Family Bierhall was born.
The Trapp Family Bierhall recently opened its massive wooden doors to the public just in time for its 2016 Octoberfest. What greeted visitors is a huge open and airy space with custom-made, large wooden beams, shiny stainless steel brewing equipment, and huge hammered copper light fixtures made by local craftsmen. The hall includes a gift shop, coolers filled with cases of Trapp lagers and a European styled Bierhall. The first impression of this bright and busy Bierhall is of light, lots and lots of light. Massive windows allow guests to gaze out at the surrounding green mountains. Straight ahead you see a wood-fired Parrillas, an open Argentine grill. Johannes was inspired to include this unique grill after seeing them on a trip to Argentina. The menu includes many ingredients grown on premise, with the remainder coming from as many local sources as possible. The glowing fire adds ambiance to the Bierhall as well as a distinct wood grilled taste to the meats.
The Bierhall seats 175 guests European style, sitting on benches at long wooden tables. The tables are easy to move and allow large groups to sit together. When visiting with a small group, the host places several guests at the same table, giving visitors the chance to meet new people. All of the architectural details take into account not only authentic Austrian Bierhalls but also the Von Trapp’s musical history. Around the hall, visitors can see details like enormous conical light fixtures modeled after the traditional Alpenhorn. In addition, guests can also choose to sit in the glass-walled atrium or outside on the patio, offering views of prime Vermont vistas.
Guests can order a lager and take it on a self-guided tour of the authentic Bavarian Rolec brew house, reached by elevator or a wide, sweeping staircase. Once at the top, guests are eye-to-eye with a mounted Austrian Ibex, a trophy of one of Johannes’s hunting expeditions. The head is the symbol for Trapp Lager. Every tap handle is a replica of an Ibex horn. Through large windows one can see huge stainless steel brewing equipment.
When designing the new Bierhall, the von Trapps wanted to emphasize its connection to the outdoors. The von Trapps hold dear their connection to nature and their love of sports, thus the Bierhall is intentionally located in the center of the Trapp Family Resorts mountain biking, hiking, and cross-country ski trails.Dale and Darcy Cahill can be reached at darcy.cahill@my