In the heart of Europe, Switzerland, best known for its majestic mountains, luxurious watches and delicious chocolate, also has a rich and thriving beer history. Far from the clichés of yodeling and edelweiss, Switzerland is experiencing an impressive brewing renaissance. Follow me in this fascinating insight into beer in Switzerland.
An ancient story
The Swiss brewing tradition is not new. Traces of beer production dating back to 3000 BC have been discovered in what we now call Switzerland. However, it was during the Middle Ages that beer really began to play a central role, with the emergence of many monastic breweries.
The role of monastic breweries
As in many parts of Europe, the monks were among the first great brewers in Switzerland. Monasteries provided the ideal setting for beer production, combining knowledge, resources and labor. Monks also used beer as a means of financing their religious and charitable activities.
Decline and rebirth
In the 20th century, with globalization and changes in consumer tastes, brewing diversity in Switzerland began to decline. However, since the 2000s, Switzerland has experienced a real brewing revival. With more than 1,000 breweries recorded in 2020, it has one of the largest numbers of breweries per capita in the world. This revival is largely due to a new generation of brewers who are passionate, innovative and eager to experiment.
The diversity of Swiss beers
Switzerland, with its four official languages and its varied cultures, has always been a melting pot of diversity. This diversity is also reflected in its beers. From Belgian-inspired beers from French-speaking Switzerland, to German-style lagers from German-speaking Switzerland, to innovative craft beers from the younger generation, there is something for everyone.
The essential Swiss breweries
If you really want to discover the Swiss brewing panorama, here are some breweries not to be missed:
- Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM) : Known for its sour beers and its experiments, this Jura brewery has acquired an international reputation.
- La Nébuleuse : With particular attention paid to balance and finesse, this brasserie in Romandie is a gem.
- Kitchenbrew : A marvel of German-speaking Switzerland, producing high quality beers with a modern touch.
Beer in Switzerland is much more than just a drink. It interweaves history, culture and innovation. So the next time you find yourself in a Swiss bar, faced with a wide selection of local beers, remember the thousands of years of history hidden in every sip.
To your health, or as they say in Switzerland, “Prost”, “Santé”, “Salute” or “Eviva”!
Stay Brewtiful 🍻