For those of you who don’t know it yet, I have to say it again: the little beer world of Switzerland is far from being static ! Do you need a proof ? So take these 8 days from mid-October…
It began with the opening festivity of the new Napf brewery (October 7th to 9th). Martin Bühler and Ruedi Schütz first started back in 2005, taking over the former Stadhaus Huttwil and founding the Brauerei Napf GmbH. After almost 5 years in Huttwil they decided to go a step further by becoming fully professional and moved their brewery to Walterswil, in a 4-floor building formerly used by the retailer Landi.
Walterswil is a little village located in the rural north-east part of the canton of Bern and about 10 kilometers away from Huttwil. No need to say I had to switch-on my GPS to find it … I had unfortunately not much time on my hands the first evening, but it has been just enough to taste a pretty interesting Walterswiler Zwickel, to exchange words with people like Öufi-Chef Alex Künzle or UHB brewer Ueli Bösiger, as well to visit the pretty nice new brewery’s installations.
During the 18 months needed for the brewery’s move (yes, people from Bern are reputed to be very slow …) the about 1’000 hectoliters production have been brewed at Felsenau. Napf offers a line-up of 6 beers based on the German tradition: the Napfgold, a pale lager I personally enjoyed but which may present to much diacetyl if you are unlucky; the previously mentioned Walterswiler Zwickel; a decent Dunkel but in which the evil diacetyl tends also to be too present; the nice Füürwehrbräu, a smoked beer; the unconvincing (at least the last time I got it) and hoppy Doppelbock Müeti’s Hopfebock and finally the top-fermented Schwarze Spinne, a Schwarzbier brewed partially with maize.
I’m sure Ruedi and Martin have enough potential to stabilize their beers, increase their production and offer more creations in the future. Good luck guys !
On the same day came an announcement for a new beer magazine: biergenuss. This magazine, written in German, will be released quarterly. It will contain interviews, presentation of breweries, results from tasting, reviews of books, news, ideas for cooking with beer and much more.
A very welcomed idea which should close a deep gap leaved partially by the discontinued and very uneven “Courrier de l’Orge” from the Association des Buveurs d’Orge. Here also, all my wishes of success go to editor-in-chief and publisher Reto Rudolf.
And then, one week later on October 14th, a little event took place in Crissier (a municipality located west of Lausanne) in front of the beer shop Au Grain d’Orge in honour of the publication of the first brewery guide of the French-speaking part of Switzerland (“Brasseries artisanales de Suisse romande“). The first ? Regular visitors of my Switzerland Beer Guide may disagree, so let me say the first in hardcopy form😉
Six breweries were present at this festivity, (almost) one from each canton of Romandy: les Murailles (Genève), Bière Buse (Vaud), l’Enclave and Freiburger Biermanufaktur (Fribourg), Bières de Neuch (Neuchâtel) and BFM (Jura). Incontestably a selection of very good breweries ! This has resulted in an interesting and pleasant evening which even the deadly cold temperature has not been able to spoil.
Finally, some words about the guide: it is a very informative and well-designed book from which, unfortunately to my mind, every comments and reviews are deliberately absent. And in the present-days, chances are high that this guide could be very soon out-of-date, so I hope the editor is willing to publish future updates !