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Category: Around the World

Swimming in Beer at the Starkenberger Brewery, Austria

Swimming in Beer at the Starkenberger Brewery, Austria

The Starkenberger Brewery is situated within a castle nestled high in the mountains of Northern Austria. The brewery remains one of the only places where you can swim in beer. I visited with a dozen or so friends late afternoon one Saturday in October.

We arrived around 4 pm, and firstly did a ~1 hour tour of the operations followed by a tasting. We then had a great meal at the on site restaurant, to prepare for our beer swimming adventure.

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By around 7 pm, the staff were getting ready to go home. They gave us instructions for where to go and how to close-up the brewery, then we were left to our own devices…

The beer swimming room is adjacent the actual production operations, and consists of two large fermentation tanks filled with beer/mash, at different temperatures. Wooden seating and flooring has been installed in the tanks, which are otherwise too deep to sit/stand in. There is also a beer tap in the room, which serves unlimited beer. The atmosphere is humid and yeasty-smelling.

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It is quite a weird sensation to swim in beer, and not at all as disgusting as it otherwise sounds. The swimming beer is quite different from the stuff that gets drunk, and is quite dilute and not sticky at all. Apparently it is very good for the skin.

After a fun few hours wallowing in beer, we somehow made our way out and down the mountain. We were staying in a hotel in Tarrenz, which was a convenient and pleasant village surrounded by beautiful mountains.

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Key Facts:

  • Getting There: Fly to Munich, from where it is a ~2 hour drive.
  • Brewery: Recommend to pre-book direct with the Starkenberger Brewery
  • Accommodation: Plenty of good hotel options in Tarrenz.
  • Recommend taking a taxi up the mountain to the brewery from Tarrenz, and back.
  • Do not plan to drive after a visit!
Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3 Air China Business Lounge (PEK)

Beijing Capital Airport Terminal 3 Air China Business Lounge (PEK)

Overall Rating: 5/10

A flagship lounge run by Air China in a key hub. Accessed on this occasion at 11:00 am using a Turkish Airlines Gold card with a Air China flight.

Food:

A good selection of hot and cold food:

  • Sandwiches
  • Soup
  • Dumplings
  • Rice, squid, duck, chicken and pasta
  • Noodle soup
  • Sushi
  • Vegetables


Drinks:

A standard selection of beers (Tsingtao, other local chinese beers), wines (Great Wall), spirits (Gordons, Red Label, Chivas) and soft drinks are available with self service.


Wifi and Power:

Used the free airport Wifi, which is slow and filtered (no Facebook, Google etc). Limited power plugs are available through the lounge, many of which don’t work.

Views and Comfort:

For such a key hub, the lounge was fairly small. It was extremely crowded on both of our visits, and we struggled both times to find a chair.


Reasonable views over the apron.

Manila Terminal 1 Miascor Lounge (MNL)

Manila Terminal 1 Miascor Lounge (MNL)

Overall Rating: 4/10

A contract lounge serving mainly Star Alliance airlines. Accessed on this occasion at 05:00 am using a Turkish Airlines Gold card with a Air China flight.

Food:

A reasonable selection of hot and cold food:

  • Sandwiches
  • Soup
  • Rice and chicken in sauce.
  • Cereals


Drinks:

A standard selection of beers (San Miguel), wines, spirits and soft drinks are available with self service. Spirits on the higher end of the standard selection – Tanquery Gin and Black Label Whiskey, for example.


Wifi and Power:

Used the free airport Wifi. Limited power plugs are available through the lounge.

Views and Comfort:

Lounge was small and felt very dated, and quite dirty as a result. Chairs were comfortable  but ancient.

Limited views over the apron, towards gates 9 and 10.

Gibraltar Airport Calpe VIP Lounge (GIB)

Gibraltar Airport Calpe VIP Lounge (GIB)

Overall Rating: 9/10

An airport run Contract Lounge. Accessed on this occasion at 13:00 using a British Airways Silver card with a BA flight.

Food:

A reasonable selection of cold sandwiches, crisps and nuts.


Drinks:

A standard selection of beers (Heineken, 1664), wines, spirits, soft drinks and cocktails are available with self service. No whiskies on offer.


Wifi and Power:

Lounge wifi with password. The free airport Wifi is also available.

Limited power plugs are available through the lounge (but not on the terrace outside).
Views and Comfort:

Inside: Very comfortable, modern chairs.The lounge has windows that overlook the apron and runway.

Outside: a beautiful open terrace overlooking the apron and The Rock. Large, comfy chairs with tables. A great place to relax, as you watch your aircraft arrive and taxi.

St Lucia Hewanorra Lyanola Airport Lounge (UVF)

St Lucia Hewanorra Lyanola Airport Lounge (UVF)

Overall Rating: 4/10

An airport contract lounge, accessed on this occasion at 13:00 using a British Airways Silver card with a BA flight.
Food:

A limited selection of pastries, biscuits and sandwiches.


Drinks:

A full selection of beers, wines, spirits, soft drinks and cocktails are available from the waiter-served bar (super friendly and helpful).


WiFi and Power:
Lounge wifi with password.

Power plugs are available throughout the lounge.

Views and Comfort:

The lounge has limited views over the apron, but is otherwise quite dark and limited.

London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2B Air Canada Business Lounge (LHR)

London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2B Air Canada Business Lounge (LHR)

Overall Rating: 7/10

An Air Canada outstation lounge, accessed on this occasion at 21:00 using a Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Card card with a Lufthansa flight.

This lounge is in the Heathrow Terminal 2B satellite, where the majority of the long haul services leave from. It is possible to return back to the main (A) terminal, but it is a long walk back (15 minutes).

Food:

A limited hot buffet and a selection of hot and cold food:

  • Cold rolls and sandwiches (ham, cheese, etc)
  • Soup, crisps, nuts etc
  • Limited hot buffet


Drinks:

A bar with a server – full range of spirits, beers and wines available. Soft drinks for self-serve.



WiFi and Power:

Private lounge wifi, accessed by password.
Power widely available inside on comfy chairs, and in the business centre.

Views and Comfort:

Comfortable, modern chairs with side tables. Good views over the apron. Quiet at the time of our visit.

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) Terminal 2B Singapore Airlines Business Lounge (LHR)

London Heathrow Airport (LHR) Terminal 2B Singapore Airlines Business Lounge (LHR)

Overall Rating: 9.5/10

A flagship Singapore Airlines outstation lounge, accessed on this occasion at 19:00 using a Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold Card card with a Avianca flight.

This lounge is in the Heathrow Terminal 2B satellite, where the majority of the long haul services leave from. It is possible to return back to the main (A) terminal, but it is a long walk back (15 minutes).

This is my favourite lounge in LHR Terminal 2.

Food:

A comprehensive and delicious buffet selection of Asian cuisine is available from early in the morning until late:

  • Asian noodles, pasta, rice, curry beef/chicken, spring rolls and crab dimsum.
  • Sandwiches, cold meats, smoked fish, salads, cheese, pastries.
  • Soup


Drinks:
An selection of spirits, wines and soft drinks available for self serve.
A bar with a server for cocktails and other drinks.


WiFi and Power:
Private lounge wifi, accessed by password.
Power widely available inside on comfy chairs, and in the business section. A reasonable selection of newspapers.

Views and Comfort:

A large range of seating options. Mostly comfortable, modern chairs with side tables. Excellent views over the apron (the best ofany lounge in Terminal 2). Also an interesting concept of little self contained provate “pods” with a chair, table and power socket etc.

Quiet at the time of our visit. A business area with computers and printer is available for those who wish to use it.


London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2B United Airlines Business Lounge (LHR)

London Heathrow Airport Terminal 2B United Airlines Business Lounge (LHR)

Overall Rating: 9/10

A flagship United Airlines outstation lounge, accessed on this occasion at 18:00 using a Turkish Airlines Star Alliance Gold card with a TAP flight.

This lounge is located at the Terminal 2 B Satellite – where the majority of longhaul flights depart from. It is possible to access this lounge when departing from a T2A gate, but it is a long walk there and back (15 mins each way).

Food:

A comprehensive self-serve buffet selection is available throughout the day:

  • Morning: full cooked breakfast buffet, pastries, yoghurt, cereals, fruit etc.
  • Afternoon/Evening: a wide selection of hot buffet – pasta, meat dishes, sandwiches and dessert options.


Drinks:

A stylish bar with service is available with a full selection of beers, cocktails and wines. There are even a few custom cocktails created directly for the United lounge.

Staff are friendly, fast and professional.



WiFi and Power:

Private lounge wifi, accessed by password.

Power widely available inside on comfy chairs, and in the business centre.

Views and Comfort:

A wide range of seating options. Mostly comfortable, modern chairs with side tables. Reasonable views over the apron. 

Fairly quiet later on, but it gets very busy at the peak of the day when most US-bound flights depart. A business area with computers and printer is available for those who wish to use it.

Munich Airport Lufthansa Senator Lounge (MUC) – Non-Schengen

Munich Airport Lufthansa Senator Lounge (MUC) – Non-Schengen

Overall Rating: 7.5/10

A flagship Lufthansa lounge at a key hub. Accessed on this occasion at 16:00 using a Turkish Airlines Gold card with a Lufthansa flight.

We initially visited the Senator Lounge next to the security area. However it was tiny, dark and unbelievably crowded, so instead we passed through passport control into the non-Shengen area and went to the lounge there.

Food:

A limited selection of hot and cold food:

  • Cold rolls and sandwiches (ham, cheese, etc)
  • Soup, crisps, nuts etc
  • Simple hot buffet of pasta, rice, meatloaf and pork (a meaty selection!).



Drinks:

A simple selection of soft drinks available for self serve. Local beer on tap and in bottles for self serve.

Wines, spirits and cocktails were available from the bar on request (free). However, the server at the bar was most unfriendly and unhelpful – felt like a real inconvenience to her to get a drink.

A selection of new/special interest spirits available on the bar for self service/trial.


WiFi and Power:

Private lounge wifi, no password required.

Power widely available inside on comfy chairs, and in the business centre.

Comfortable, fairly old fashioned chairs with side tables. Limited views from the lounge. Fairly quiet at the time of our visit.

London Gatwick North Terminal “My Lounge” by No 1 Traveller (LGW)

London Gatwick North Terminal “My Lounge” by No 1 Traveller (LGW)

Overall Rating: 5/10

Quite an unusual concept – effectively a coffee shop with paid-for entry. Accessed on this occasion with a PriorityPass.

Food:

A simple selection of pastries and chopped fruit.

Drinks:
Coors beer and Magners cider available for self serve on tap (yuck!). An standard selection wines, spirits and soft drinks available.

WiFi and Power:

Private lounge wifi, accessed by signing up for the newsletter.


Views and Comfort:

Coffee shop style seating. A few plug sockets available.