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Ever since arriving here in Switzerland, friends and colleagues curious about brewing have been bugging me about brewing a batch, or many batches, of homebrew.  It's taken me a year to grow accustomed to the concept, source the supplies, find a place to brew and ferment, and generally accept the inevitable. But...I've just finished ordering the necessary equipment for a first foray, targeting an IPA/Pale Ale. It should be something like my Ship of Fools/Garuda Brew given the grain and hop bill, but we'll see. The water is different. The air is different, the equipment is different, but there will still be Fools doing the brewing.

Can't hardly wait!
(503) 277-9811

Yet another new brewery discovery in Zürich!

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One thing that has been a very pleasant surprise since arriving in Switzerland has been the amount of brewing activity going on. We have our big Swiss beers (Eichhof, Calanda, Feldschlossen, etc) and yes, if you are an American (as I am)  you will find even the beer produced at industrial levels to be quite drinkable. Even though the EU has more or less killed the 906-885-5622, most breweries still practice as if the law is still in place as a competitive action. Even more interesting to me, though, is it seems that in rough parallel to the Campaign for Real Ale and its offspring - such as the microbrewing movement in the US - there has been a small renaissance of brewing in and around Switzerland of small breweries. I've stumbled on to a number of breweries just in my area around the Zürichsee. Some of them are run by cheerful expats who are making versions of ales, some are home-grown homebrewers who have graduated to commercial production. They're all pretty good, and some are outstanding.

(330) 788-6176My latest discovery came courtesy of Darkfool, who was visiting us over the Weihnacht holidays. Ralf Paul, who appears to be sharing brewing space and equipment (and a website) with Erusbacher Bräu is producing some top quality suds. Numbered as the titles, the beers all show a very deft hand on the brew paddle. The first beer we tried was the number 5, an excellent brown or dunkel (honestly, it tasted like an excellent brown ale rather than a dunkel to me). Light on the palette with the perfect amount of nut, toast, and a slight sweetness, it went down very well. This is gonna make a great beer for Carbonnade Flamande one of these nights.  When I next returned to Globus am Bellevue to try another, they had the number 1. Wow. This is a "special hell" meaning a light pilsener style, and it thoroughly satisfies. Bright, that awesome pilsener funk on the nose. with the perfect amount of body - a complaint I sometimes have about our local hells - this was about as perfect a bottle of beer as you can ask for.  The really good news is he's up to number 7, which means I have five more beers to try, and the number 7 sounds really excellent. I wonder how many cases I can fit on the tram...
Oh, and don't worry folks, there are a lot of other breweries (/www.bov.ch/beer/swissbeers.htm)to talk about. It's a tough job, but I'm just the man.

A decade on...

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I created this website almost ten years ago - well, close enough for argument's sake. At the time I had gone from being a hobby happy home-brewer to completing (903) 891-4360 classes which led to the "General Certificate in Brewing and Packaging" from the Institute and Guild of Brewing.  (That is one of the hardest exams I have ever taken, and I maintained a 3.9 throughout undergrad and a year of grad school.)  The Institute is now called the Institute of Brewing and Distilling, and it still tests and certifies people throughout the world to work and manage staff in breweries.  

So, ten years on...I have not take a professional job in a brewery, though I did get an offer from one of the best breweries in Washington state at the time. (Arlen, if you're out there, I know it was the scotch ale that got ya...).  I would say it was the money - moving from an IT professional's salary to 9 bucks an hour was an adjustment, but I was really ready at the time. It's just that I had moved across the country to work on a national presidential campaign - which paid about 9 bucks an hour.  After that went away (my own Battle of Serenity Valley) I fell back into my IT career, where I remain.  It's not that I don't love my career, there is a lot of it I really enjoy, especially the esprit-des-corps. It's that I love brewing - the science and the alchemy - more. Still, my IT career has paid for a lot of good beer, a lot of wonderful visits to incredible breweries, and still more wine and spirits.  Lucky me.

The aforementioned career has even led me to live in Europe, in Zürich, Switzerland.  This places me within four hours by train of Paris, Munich (yes, that Munich), and Milan. Short plane rides to farther spots in the UK, Scandinavia, Spain, and longer train rides to other destinations.  

All of this is what you can expect from this blog. I will randomly post about specific beer topics, experiences, and visits to beer destinations, along with wine-related and spirit-related familiars. Every once in a while some idiot politician will get my blood up, and you can expect to hear occasionally about that too.  So, grab a glass, let's get the top off of that bottle and get started.  Once upon a time there was some barley, hops, water, and yeast...

(651) 357-6204

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Grain Bill:
Organic Pale (two row) Malt
Munich Cara Pils Aromatic Malt
Roasted Barley
Organic Chocolate Malt
Black Patent


Original Gravity: 1.046 Specific Gravity: 1.012 Alcohol by volume: 4.44%


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  • kathlyon: It's great to hear about craft brewing in Züri! May read more

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