Archive for the ‘Top ten’ Category

2019 was an intensive beer year, during which I sampled 1754 new beers, attended 20 festivals, innumerable TTO and was judge at 4 contests. I have reached my primary goal – i.e. drink less new beers than in 2018 – but by a small margin, which was definitely not the original idea… I r-e-a-l-l-y want to go down to something around 1000 new beers per year.
2019 saw also the death of RateBeer after a long and painful suffering caused by the AB InBev cancer. It was a tough decision, but I had to bury this companion after almost 19 years of friendship. You can find my ratings now on Untappd ( And of course still on my homepage.

For the third consecutive year, the top 5 countries from which I sampled the most new beers is exactly the same: Switzerland, of course, with 753, followed by the USA (163), England (144), Spain (109 – thanks to the amazing Antonio Rey) and Germany (71). To my disappointment, I have not been able to find beers from a new country during the last 12 months. So I have now a total of 17’241 beers from 185 countries.

Sweden (best beer country) and Brewski (6th best brewery) are strong again!

My favorite country in 2019 (with a minimum of 5 beers tasted) has been (like in 2018) Sweden. Then come the USA, Russia, Denmark and Ireland.

Among the 600 breweries I met last year, here are those from which I had the most different beers:

1) WhiteFrontier (20)
2) Riot Act and Brewski (18)
4) Fuerst Wiacek (17)
5) Jens+itzer (16)

N.B. all the 16 beers from Jens+itzer were sampled on the same day at Bacon Beer Day. And there were even some more available…

Talking about beer styles, the depletion of their diversity is unfortunately going on and the presence of IPA and its more or less enjoyable derivatives is more overwhelming than ever. Here are the most represented styles in my new beers of 2019:
1) IPA (217 – for the ninth consecutive year!)
2) sours (137)
3) American Pale Ale (130)
4) Imperial IPA (116)
5) Imperial Stouts (115)
6) NEIPA (109)

My favorite styles in 2019 (with a minimum of 5 beers tasted):
1) Flanders red
2) Imperial Porter
3) American Strong Ale
4) Barley Wine
5) Imperial IPA

And here the styles I enjoyed the less (worst on top):
1) Radler/Shandy
2) Pale Lager
3) Dunkler Bock
4) Amber Ale
5) Golden Ale

My top ten breweries of 2019 shows far less Swiss breweries as usual. Very surely because I got lucky to try some international top ones.

edit: please note that this ranking is weighted by the number of beers tasted and is computed as followed
(n / (n+m)) * R + (m / (n+m)) * C

C = the midpoint of my scale (11)
R = rating average of the beers tasted from the brewery
n = number of beers tasted from this brewery
m = the minimum of beers required to enter the list (3)

WhiteFrontier: best brewery, most beer sampled and 8th best Swiss beer with their 33 1/3 RPM

1) WhiteFrontier (was also top brewery last year!)
2) Tree House
3) Trillium
4) De Moersleutel
5) Gipsy Hill
6) Brewski
7) Alefarm
8) nine brothers
9) Cascade

Four of them were already part of my top ten last year (WhiteFrontier, nine brothers, Cascade and Blackwell).

This lead us to the top 20 breweries in my country (on a total of 210):
1) WhiteFrontier
2) nine brothers
3) Blackwell
4) BFM
5) Craftfeld
6) Old School
7) l’Apaisée
8) À Tue-Tête!
9) Hoppy People
10) S&A
11) Riot Act
12) Güschu 58
13) Cayon’s
14) Altes Tramdepot
15) Fjord & Fjell
16) Tap4
17) la Cave
18) NordSud
19) Brau Rebel
20) Brauhuus 531

Last years, I was able to discover beers from 61 new breweries. Here were my favorites:

Best Swiss newcomer!

1) Craftfeld
2) Tap4
3) la Cave
4) Dystopian
5) Quatre Pouces
6) Brasserie des Diablerets
7) Kunstwerk
8) AnderThaler
9) la Mine
10) B2F (Birrificio Due Fusti)

If you don’t know them already and have the possibility to put your hands on some of their beers, don’t hesitate!

Finally, let’s have a look to my top beers for 2019. First, here is the overall ranking:
1) Cantillon Goldackerl Gueuze
2) 3 Fonteinen Oude Geuze Armand & Tommy
3) 3 Fonteinen Speling van Het Lot VII.vii – Aardbei + Kriek – Raw & Uncut
4) Mikkeller Spontanhexadrupelraspberry
5) Cascade Kriek (2018)
6) Tree House Aaaalterrr Ego!
7) nine brothers MF Gose
8) l’Apaisée Coetus Framboise
9) Finback Premium
10)FiftyFifty Eclipse – Apple Brandy

The amazing Cantillon Goldackerl Gueuze: beer of the Year! (courtesy of Per Forsgren)

And here are my top Swiss beers of 2019:
1) nine brothers MF Gose
2) l’Apaisée Coetus Framboise
3) Güschu 58 Cacao Strawberry Seduction
4) À Tue-Tête! Noire Betterave
5) nine brothers Hopefully Something Imperial
6) Blackwell So Long and Thanks for all the Fish
7) Cinq 4000 Wanderlust Abricot
8) WhiteFrontier 33 1/3 RPM
9) Hoppy People Dragonfly
10)Blackwell Tannenbaum Effekt V

cheers and see you soon!

Exaggeration would be the best word to qualify my year 2018 in beer and, frankly, I wish I’ll stay in the future far away from the numbers I reached last year. For my own good.
Of course, the 1783 new beers I have tasted look pretty modest in comparison with top RateBeerian fonefan (4516) or the top Swiss beer ticker Thomas “TTT” Schneider (3403). But come on… an average of 4.9 new beers per day?

Best beer country in 2018!

Nevertheless, I’m pretty proud of having sampled more than one thousand new Swiss beers in one year! A milestone only reached and topped by my fellow beer ticker Marcel Vogt with … some more (never try to get an accurate statistic from an Untappd guy ;-))
The attending of 20 festivals in my country made this possible.

Behind Switzerland (1017), the USA can be found with 167 new beers. Then come England (150), Spain (74) and Germany (49). The same countries as last year.
Unfortunately, the hunt for new countries brought only modest results with only 2 ticks: Guam and Guernsey. I’m currently at 185 different countries and a total of 15’485 beers.

My favorite country in 2018 (with a minimum of 5 beers tasted) has been Sweden. Then follow Croatia, Denmark, Belgium and the USA.

Among the 641 breweries met last year, here are the ones from which I had the most different beers (the top 4 are the same as in 2017, just in a slight different order):

1) WhiteFrontier (28)

Best brewery and also the one I had the most beers from.

2) 523 (22)

3) Cinq 4000 (17)

Blackwell (17)

5) la Nébuleuse (16)

Brew by Numbers (16)

Dr. Brauwolf (16)


No surprise in the category of the most represented beer style, as IPA is in front for the 8th consecutive year with 205 beers (glad you ask: yes, I’m really getting tired of the over-representation of this style). Then come Sour (131), American Pale Ale (102), Saison (98) and Imperial Stout (91). Here were my favorite styles in 2018 (minimum of 5 beers tasted):

  1. Lambic – Fruited
  2. Baltic Porter
  3. Foreign Stout
  4. Quadrupel
  5. Sour/Wild Ale

Who says “best” must sometimes say “worst”. Talking about the styles which made me less enthusiastic lead us as always to the same usual suspects: 1) Pale Lager 2) Hefeweizen 3) Oktoberfest/Märzen 4) Dunkler Bock (a bit surprising) and 5) Amber Lager/Vienna.

My top ten breweries of 2018 shows as always an overwhelming presence of Swiss breweries (forgot to tell you I’m partial? ;-)):

1 WhiteFrontier

2 Nine Brothers

4th best brewery overall and best Swiss newcomer (tied with NordSud)

3 Cascade

4 NordSud and l’Apaisée

6 Blackwell

7 523

8 À Tue-Tête!

9 S&A Brewing

10 Jester King


This leads us directly to the top 20 breweries from Switzerland (on a scary total of 264):

1 WhiteFrontier

2 Nine Brothers

3 NordSud


5 Blackwell

11th rank in Switzerland (4th best newcomer): keep an eye on this brewery!

6 523

7 À Tue-Tête!

8 S&A Brewing

9 Cayon’s

10 Degenbier

11 Rufibräu

12 Brasserie du Temps

13 les Garçons

14 Güschu 58

15 Cinq 4000

16 Trois Dames

17 Chien Bleu

18 Brygger Øl

19 BFM

20 Bierwerkstatt Eberhard


I have been particularly efficient at finding new Swiss breweries last year and discovered 89 new ones. The top ten of the new Swiss breweries in 2018 looks like this:

1 NordSud and l’Apaisée (yes, exactly tied for first)

Tied for 1st as best Swiss newcomers

3 Rufibräu

4 Bierwerkstatt Eberhard

5 Brau Rebel

6 La Vadge

7 Brasserie du Dzô

8 Dive Bär

9 Brasserie des Celtes



Time now to take a look to my best beers from last year. Here is the top ten overall where Switzerland shows a strong presence:

1 Prairie Artisan Ales Prairie Bomb! (USA)

my best new beer in 2018

2 Wild Beer Beyond Modus IV (England)

BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2016 (Switzerland)

4 Cayon’s Bad Boy’s Breakfast (Switzerland)

5 Nine Brothers Broken Leg – Apple and Pears (Switzerland)

6 Eberhard / Berner Kollektiv Spezie Rara – Cassis Saison (Switzerland)

Evil Twin Imperial Biscotti Chili Hazelnut Break

8 Alvinne / Hair of the Dog Fred Meets Freddy

Alvinne Sour’ire de Mortagne

Evil Twin / Westbrook Imperial Mexican Biscotti Cake Break

Nine Brothers Brett Galaxy Shake


This leads us to the last ranking with my top ten beers from Switzerland:

1 BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien 2016 (Switzerland)

2 Cayon’s Bad Boy’s Breakfast (Switzerland)

3 Nine Brothers Broken Leg – Apple and Pears (Switzerland)

2nd best brewery of 2018 and 2 beers in the top ten: the amazing nine brothers!

4 Eberhard / Berner Kollektiv Spezie Rara – Cassis Saison (Switzerland)

5 Nine Brothers Brett Galaxy Shake

6 523 Imperial We Trust

7 Blackwell Black Magic

8 Degenbier Unikat – Revolution

WhiteFrontier Ekuanot Amarillo

10 S&A Green Knuckles


I wish you all a wonderful 2019!


N’étant pas doué pour les résolutions de début janvier, je me rabats traditionnellement et avec une joie toute mathématique sur les statistiques de l’année écoulée.

la Grenade: un “country tick” particulièrement difficile

Or donc, ce ne sont pas moins de 1229 nouvelles bières qui ont égayé – mais pas toujours – mes jours et mes nuits en 2017. Une de moins, il faut le souligner, que lors de mon année record de 2015. Les bières helvétiques atteignent une proportion sans précédente (57%) avec 696 représentantes. Les pays suivants sont loin derrière avec l’Espagne (73 – grâce à Antonio Rey !), l’Allemagne (67), la France (50) puis les USA et l’Angleterre (48) pour un total de 46 nations différentes. 2017 a été une année faste pour la chasse aux nouvelles contrées avec 11 trophées: la Grenade, les Îles Turques-et-Caïques, Gibraltar, Bonaire, Vanuatu, la République turque de Chypre du Nord, le Bhoutan, le Niger, Curaçao, le Malawi et le Paraguay.

Mon pays préféré – avec au moins 5 bières dégustées – a été l’Estonie. Il devance le Danemark, les USA, la Norvège et la Suède.

Parmi les 492 brasseries rencontrées en 2017, voici celles dont j’ai bu le plus de bières différentes : WhiteFrontier (33), Blackwell (26), 523 (24), Cinq 4000 (15) et Labietis (15).

Pour la 7ème année consécutive, le style de bière le plus représenté a été –ohhhh surprise – l’IPA (152 – stable) suivi par les American Pale Ale (94 – en hausse), Saisons (62 – légère hausse), Imperial Stout (50 – stable) et Spice/Herb/Vegetable (50 – en baisse). Mes styles favoris (avec un minimum de 5 bières dégustées) :

    1. Eisbock (là j’en tombe sur le cul car je n’avais même plus conscience d’en avoir goûté 5 l’année passée…)
    2. Baltic/Imperial Porter
    3. Imperial Stout
    4. Barley Wine
    5. Imperial IPA

A celles et ceux qui pourraient avoir l’impression que les trucs lourds boostent mon niveau de sérotonine, je répondrai deux choses : 1) oui 2) sans aucun doute. Après, ce n’est pas ma faute s’il est si rare de trouver des brasseurs capables et motivés pour produire d’excellentes Pils.

Ce qui nous amène au fond du trou, c’est-à-dire vers les styles qui m’ont le plus fait douter du bien-fondé de mon hobby. Le pire – et largement – a été Pale Lager suivi de Specialty Grain (je suis rarement chaud pour boire de l’avoine ou du seigle et je ne parle même pas du maïs), puis Amber Lager/Vienna (peu sont capables d’en brasser de bons exemples), Kölsch (même remarque) et Golden Ale/Blond Ale.

Venons-en au top des brasseries.

Celui-ci est traditionnellement dominé par les brasseries helvétiques, en partie à cause (ou grâce) à ma moyenne pondérée par le nombre de bières goûtées. Mais si je ne mets pas mon pays un peu en avant, qui va le faire? 😉 Voici donc le top 10 des brasseries pour 2017 (pour mémoire, le vainqueur de 2016 était Cinq 4000) :

  1. Blackwell
  2. Cinq 4000
  3. 523
  4. WhiteFrontier
  5. BFM
  6. Aabachbier
  7. Stigbergets
  8. Cayon’s
  9. To Øl
  10. Degenbier


Ce qui nous conduit directement au top 20 des brasseries Suisses de 2017 (sur un total de 190 brasseries différentes):

WhiteFrontier: 4ème meilleure brasserie de l’année et la plus prolifique avec 33 bières!


  1. Blackwell
  2. Cinq 4000
  3. 523
  4. WhiteFrontier
  5. BFM
  6. Aabachbier
  7. Cayon’s
  8. Degenbier
  9. CôteWest
  10. Storm&Anchor
  11. Bierzunft Wehntal
  12. Güschu 58
  13. Brygger Øl
  14. Unser Bier
  15. la Nébuleuse
  16. UG Bräu
  17. Nine Brothers
  18. Bear’N’Stein
  19. Chien Bleu

Franchement, si certaines d’entre elles vous sont encore inconnues, je vous conseille de combler cette lacune le plus vite possible!


Quant au classement des meilleures nouvelles brasseries suisses pour 2017 (sur un total de 48 brasseries découvertes), le voici :

  1. Bear’N’Stein
  2. Chien Bleu
  3. Beer Guerrillas
  4. HuM (hopfenundmalz)
  5. Ã Tue-Tête !
  6. Soo.Soorser Bier
  7. Annwn
  8. Bad Fish Brewery
  9. Tucho Brew
  10. Obersee Brau Union


Abordons maintenant la dernière ligne droite avec les classements des meilleures bières de l’année.

Tout d’abord les 10 meilleures bières suisses :

1. Cinq 4000 Morning Glorya

2. BFM Importer

Nine brothers Lemon Milkshake

Blackwell Kafitante Gose

5. UG Bräu Berliner w Ice-01

6. WhiteFrontier New England Triple IPA Cryo

7. 523 Citra ❤ Centennial

8. WhiteFrontier Idaho 7

9. BFM Highway to Helles – Liberty Edition

Blackwell / Bierversuche die 4 ??? Wild Ale


Puis les 10 meilleures bières, toutes nations confondues:

1. Avery Uncle Jacob’s Stout

la bière de l’année 2017

2. Cinq 4000 Morning Glorya

3. Cigar City Hunahpu’s

4. la Pirata Black Block Tequila BA

5. Mikkeller Brian

6. Stigbergets GBG Beer Week 2016

BFM Importer

Blackwell Kafitante Gose

Nine brothers Lemon Milkshake

10. Sante Aderius Recency Effect


Sur ce, je vous souhaite une excellente année 2018!


Another year just came to an end and while some like to share shitty quotes on kitschy pictures to welcome you to the new year, my specialty consists to overwhelm you with statistics and other top lists from the past year. The whole thing being mainly of course as subjective as my taste buds are, though I would like to remind you that I have never been paid for good (or bad) ratings. As this sounds like an evidence to any normally constituted human being, believe it or not, some dumb-asses actually think the opposite.

So, ready ? If you don’t like stats and lists, it’s your last chance to surf somewhere else. You have been warned …

I have been able to discover 1’164 new beers last year, 66 less than during my record year of 2015.
The graphic below displays my number of new beers per year since 2000 (I have no detailed information about my first 13 years of beer hunting).


In this total, Switzerland accounts for more than 50% with 604 new beers. The next most represented are Spain (77), Germany (62), the USA (51) and Denmark (48) for a total of 41 different countries.
Happily, I have been able to tick 5 new countries – Tajikistan, Rwanda, Gambia, Cape Verde and Belize – for a total of 169. There are only 41 left …

My favorite country (with more than 4 beers tasted) has been Serbia (could this be by chance ? Not sure ;-)).
The USA, winner of 2015, are second followed by Norway, Denmark and Belgium. Switzerland appears only on place 12, 2 places down in comparison with 2015.

I got beers from 488 different breweries (24 more than last year) and the most represented have been Mikkeller (18), Cinq 4000 (17), Virage (16) and then To Øl, CôteWest Brewing and Darkwolf with each 13.

My top ten breweries of 2016 (worldwide) is totally dominated by the Swiss with 8 ambassadors !

1. Cinq 4000cinq4000
2. BFM
3. CôteWest Brewing
4. Thornbridge (England)
5. To Øl (Denmark)
6. Bierzunft Wehntal
8. Old School
9. Storm&Anchor
10.Trois Dames


Once again and for the sixth consecutive year the most represented style has been IPA with 157 beers. Far behind you can find American Pale Ale (76), Spice/Herb/Vegetable (59), Imperial Stout and Saison (52).

My favorite style has been Gueuze ahead of American Strong Ale (5th last year), Imperial Stout (2nd in 2015 and winner in 2014), Baltic/Imperial Porter and Black IPA.

The styles I have appreciated the less are Pale Lager, then Dunkel, Vienna, Pilsner and Zwickelbier. Believe me (or not), I am fully capable to like all those styles (in contrast to Dunkelweizen for instance) if they are properly brewed. Unfortunately this is rarely seen nowadays.

Let’s now have a detailled look at Switzerland.

In 2016 a record number of 156 new breweries have been registered at the Swiss Federal Customs Administration. During the same time, I have discovered beers from “only” 58 new ones.
Needless to say that a global coverage of the Swiss beer market has become fully unrealistic, even for my very busy friend and ticker Thomas Schneider who is drinking Swiss beers 50% faster than I am … Personally I have tried beers from 371 of the 756 Swiss breweries in activity.

My best new Swiss breweries for 2016 are (the winner in 2015 was the recently closed BRAUBAR):

1. Bischoff (Frauenfeld, TG)bb_logo
2. Brucke (Etoy, VD)
3. Hoppy People (Sierre, VS)
4. BLZ (Biel, BE)
the Black Pig (Courroux, JU)
6. Braumanufaktur Schlachthuus (Lufingen, ZH)
7. La Pièce (Meyrin, GE)
8. Brasserie du Virage (Plan-les-Ouates, GE)
9. Mükon (Eschlikon, TG)
10.Mousse de Thoune (Thun, BE)

And here are my top 20 Swiss breweries in 2016 (the winner in 2015 was the BFM):

1. Cinq 4000
2. BFM
3. CôteWest Brewing
4. Bierzunft Wehntal
6. Old Schoolcotewest
7. Storm&Anchor
8. Trois Dames
9. Güschu 58
11.Brygger Øl
18.Bier Factory Rapperswil

And to close the Swiss chapter until next year, here are my 10 favorite beers from 2016:

1. Blackwell Poetry Slambic 2012quintessence2
2. BRAUBAR Toppling Heads 2.0
3. Bierzunft Wehntal the Pepper Goes QUINtessenCE
3. Cinq 4000 Je s’appelle Beetroots
5. 523 New World Wit
5. BFM Highway to Helles – Velvet Underground Edition
7. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru 2014 – Lasciatemi Chiantiare
8. Cinq 4000 Sour Sour Galaxy IPA
9. BFM / la Nébuleuse Degustatoro
10.Cinq 4000 / Mise en Bière Wartek

And the top ten of 2016 worldwide:

1. Thornbridge Love Among the Ruinsloveamongruins
2. FiftyFifty Master Bart
3. 3 Fonteinen Armand’4 Oude Geuze Lente
3. Blackwell Poetry Slambic 2012
5. Hanssens Oude Schaerbeekse Kriek
5. Evil Twin Même Jésus Plus
5. To Øl Black Malt & Body Salts
5. BRAUBAR Toppling Heads 2.0
9. Thornbridge Hall Bracia
9. Bierzunft Wehntal the Pepper Goes Quintessence
9. Cinq 4000 Je s’appelle Beetroots

You don’t know one or more of these wonderful Swiss breweries and beers ? You would like to have more details like breweries addresses or list of beers ? Take a look at my Switzerland Beer Guide , it might help you.

Meanwhile, I wish you all the best for 2017 and hope you will be able to discover a lot of wonderful new beers !

cheers !

A very rich and exciting year – and not only related to beer – came to an end and it’s time again for some statistics and ranking lists (yes: if you are looking for poetry, I fear you’re on the wrong place ;-))

After my first slow-down during the last 9 years in 2014, my number of beers tasted was boosted again last year to reach a personal new record of 1230 new beers.
Let’s be honest: for me it is getting pretty close to exaggerated. So that I’m always wondering how the top guys on RateBeer can manage to taste 4 times more beers. The actual top rater – fonefan – has rated more than 4000 beers for the seventh consecutive year … A really impressive performance!

The graphic below shows the evolution of my total number of beer tasted during the last 28 years.


In this total of 1230 new beers, Switzerland is again accounting for approximately 50% of them with 668. The next most represented countries are far behind: the USA (94), Denmark (73), Italy (67), Spain (60) and Belgium (52).
I have been able to discover beers from 3 new countries – French Guiana, Pakistan and Transnistria – which brings my country total to 164 (or 166 according to RateBeer criteria).


the USA: best country in 2015

My favorite country (with more than 4 beers tasted) has been once again the USA ahead of Norway, Denmark, Canada and Scotland. Switzerland appears only on place 10.

Two years ago, when I started to analyze the average alcohol content of my sampled beers, I would never have thought to find such similar values from year to year. After an overall average of 6.5% in 2013, it has been identical in 2014 and 2015 with 6.4%. Scotland can be found on the top with 9.5% followed by Norway (8.8%) and the USA (7.7%). The value for Switzerland is identical with the one from 2014: 6.1%.

I got beers from 464 different breweries (55 more than last year) and the most represented have been Brasserie des 5 Quatre Mille (Switzerland, 31), Mikkeller (Denmark, 25), To Øl (Denmark, 22), 523 (Switzerland, 20) and UHB (Switzerland, 20).


Brewery of the year 2015 !

Here is my top ten of the best breweries worldwide in 2015 with not less than 5 Swiss ambassadors and among them one on the first place !

1. BFM (Switzerland)
2. Prairie Artisan Ales (USA)
3. 523 (Switzerland)
4. Blackwell (Switzerland)
5. Mikkeller (Denmark)
6. To Øl (Denmark)
7. Brasserie des 5 Quatre Mille (Switzerland)
8. Jester King (USA)
9. De Dochter van de Korenaar (Belgium)
10. UHB (Switzerland)

For the fifth consecutive year now the most represented style has been IPA again with 124 beers. And, thanks for asking, no: I don’t have problems with this hype. American Pale Ale follows far behind with 69, then Imperial Stout (58), Saison (55) and Sour Ales (53).

Talking about styles, my favorite in 2015 has been Sour Ale ahead of the winner of last year, Imperial Stout. Then come Imperial IPA, Fruit Lambic and American Strong Ale. On the other end of the scale we can find without surprise some beer styles I dislike: Dunkel, Dunkelweizen, Pale Lager and on last position Low Alcohol beers.

Let’s now take a closer look to Switzerland.

During the last 12 months the number of opened breweries has continued its cosmic-like inflation with 145 newcomers (there were 88 in 2014). The number of registered breweries in my country is now solidly established at more than 600 and there are no signs of possible middle-term weakening.

The market composition in itself – most of those breweries can be qualified of nano or even yocto-breweries maybe … – makes a complete coverage so illusory that I can be satisfied with my discover of 55 new breweries last year.

My best new Swiss breweries for 2015 are (the winner in 2014 was 523):


Best Swiss newcomer in 2015.

2. Rud Bir
3. Güschu 58
4. Aabachbier
5. Brasserie du Temps
6. Lance-Pierre
7. Birrificio del Pirata
8. Echec & Malt
9. Brewhouse
10.Kloster Fischingen

And here are my top 20 Swiss breweries in 2015 (the winner in 2014 was Storm&Anchor):


the utterly creative Blackwell Brewery is once again close to the top

1. BFM
2. 523
3. Blackwell
4. Brasserie des 5 Quatre Mille
5. UHB
6. Barbière
7. Braubar
8. Officina della Birra
9. Brygger Øl
10.Bierzunft Wehntal
11.Gutknecht’s Hammer-Bier
13.Trois Dames
14.Rud Bir
16.Old School
17.Unser Bier
18.Güschu 58
19.Strättligen Bier

Like every year I warmly recommend to you to try the products from these artists if you don’t know them already.

Best Swiss beer 2015

Best Swiss beer 2015

And to close the Swiss chapter, here are my 10 favorite beers from 2015:

1. BFM √226 Degustator
2. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2014) – Frenchy Sparkling Wine
3. Blackwell I Can See your Flanders &
3. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2014)
5. Blackwell Drahtesel &
5. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2013) – Megamix Rum Vol.2
7. 523 Incredibly Powerful Apricot Juice
8. Bodensee Van Meer
9. Sottobisio / Full Measure 3D-IPA
10.Storm&Anchor Beast (2015)

And the top ten of 2015 worldwide:


Beer of the year 2015

1. Prairie Bomb! – Barrel Aged
2. Birrificio del Ducato La Luna Rossa
3. Prairie / Evil Twin Bible Belt
3. Russian River Consecration
3. BFM √226 Degustator
6. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2014) – Frenchy Sparkling Wine
7. Blackwell I Can See your Flanders
7. BFM Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2014)
7. Nøgne Ø / Mikkeller / Brewdog Horizon Tokyo Black
7. Struise Black Damnation II – Mocha Bomb

Thanks again to all of you, friends and brewers, who have heavily contributed to a rich and successful beer year 2015 ! I’m sure we’ll met again this year.

cheers !


One of the very first Swiss IPA !

Some years ago, as the craft beer scene in Switzerland was babbling (OK, it still is, mind you …) I thought that the missing link between good beers and the potential beer aficionados could be Stout. In my mind, as many people do like chocolate and coffee flavors, this beer style could well become the gateway introducing them to the new world of craft beers. I didn’t think about IPA because the majority of the persons pretending to dislike beers were (and still are) complaining about bitterness.

As we can realize it in Switzerland since about 3 years, I was just plain wrong, mainly because I fully underestimated the (mainly subconscious) aversive preconception of people for dark beers. On the contrary, the declared aversion for bitterness is mostly subjective and nonexistent: you can see a person complaining about a 15 IBU lager being too bitter while the same will appreciate a 65 IBU IPA where the bitterness has been well-packed with fruity or flavors.

So the role eventually went to India Pale Ale. And how ! So much in fact that some beer geeks (and I’m part of it sometimes) are irritated to see most of the breweries rushing to present an IPA. The fact is that IPA has been the most represented style among my beers tasted from Switzerland for 4 consecutive years now. Here is a graph helping you visualize this trend:

IPA_graphBesides the amazing inflation since 2011, the drop from 13.2% to 10.2% between 2013 and 2014 must also be noticed. There appears also to be hope for the guys who cannot stand this hype ;-).


Meisibräu Teufelshopfen or IPA in Obwalden (2006)

A common misconception is that IPA was a style of beer specifically invented for the voyage to India. So please, instead of repeating this to your next friend or publish it on your homepage, take a look at the great researches from the excellent Pete Brown.

As I really doubt any IPA has ever been brewed and commercialized in Switzerland during the past centuries, the very first one was probably the Hopfenbombe Tribute to Cascade from the legendary Bäre-Bräu (1998-2004) in January 2002. However… one may object that this beer was not an IPA as it was bottom fermented, so more an Imperial Pils or, what I personally prefer to call, an IPL (India Pale Lager). So the title of the first IPA could well be claimed by the Blonde Hufi 59 from the highly unknown brewery of La Laiterie (2002-2005),  just ahead of the BFM with its Cuvée du 7ème or the Officina della Birra with its Chiara Extra Hops, all three available between Summer 2004 and Spring 2005. One year later, in 2006, appeared BeSte IPA, Trois Dames IPA as well as Meisibräu Teufelshopfen.

This beer style remains a taboo for the national breweries and has only been – until now – approached very cautiously by those of regional size. One thinks of the attempts of Sonnenbräu with its Craft1 (bottom fermented, 2013), Turbinenbräu and its Rotterdam-Mumbai Orion (very limited release, 2013) or, one size smaller, of the ominous Henri Schiffmann from Burgdorfer (2014), the Single Hop Black Ale and the India Pale Ale from Doppelleu (2013) or the Unser Bier Aypiey (2012). Few candidates and even fewer potential medalists …

It’s time now to take a look at my top ten which contains also retired beers, as well as Black IPA, India Pale Lagers and Imperial IPA. But just before that, I would like to mention some beers which just could not make it to the top ten, yet fully deserve lot of attention due to their high qualities:

Now to the top ten:

name brewery alc. comments
10th India Pale Ale Barrique 2010 Trois Dames 6.3% A one-time variation of their standard IPA. Aged for three months in pinot gris barrels.
9th Cuvée du 7ème BFM 7.5% Combines six types of aromatic hops (I’m sure Jérôme intentionally dropped a 7th type just to make people talking about it …). The single remaining bottle in my cellar is not sufficient to reconsider its availability …
6th Nelson Storm&Anchor 8.1% A great single hop IPA with flavors of litchis, grapefruit and pineapple. Future availability pretty uncertain.
Bière de Zinal Baltic IPA Brasserie des 5 Quatre Mille 7% Red fruits, notes of coffee, licorice and much more in this beautiful and strong (9.6%) Black IPA.
Strong Ali Barbière 6.5% A complex Black IPA featuring dark fruits, herbs and licorice flavors. Hopefully they will brew it again.
5th American Ninja 523 8.37% Seasonal. A Black IPA with lot of class and character from a new and hugely talented brewery. Nugget, Warrior and Sorachi Ace as well as 89 IBU and 8.37% alcohol are working together for your pleasure.
4th XXA Xtra Strong Ale Bier Factory Rapperswil 6.7% Available since 2010, this complex and beautiful 60 IBU IPA remains as a benchmark for the other Swiss beers of this style.
1st Black Storm&Anchor 8.1% Using smoked malts, this wonderful Black IPA is for me the best beer among the numerous good ones from this brewery. Its future availability will depend on Tom’s mood …
Hop Suicide! Blackwell 7.6% Complex, fruity and very bitter (120 IBU). Looks unfortunately to remain a one-time release as the Blackwell crew is moving on at the speed of light to other projects.
Hopfenbombe Tribute to Cascade Bäre-Bräu 5.4% Retired as the brewery closed in 2004. Although bottom fermented, this beer has been the first – in 2002 – to really feature hops in a Swiss beer.

cheers !

Despite what Bavarians may pretend, the origins of Bock beers are lying in Lower Saxony in the town of Einbeck. From the 14th century the citizen of Einbeck had been given brewing rights and it seems that the first Bocks appeared then.

This beer seemed to have been originally top fermented and brewed with a large part of wheat. The word bock derived from Einbeck and also means goat, which explains the goats sometimes displayed on the labels. It has always designed a beer stronger than average. Nowadays Bocks are bottom fermented and have at least 5.3% alcohol.

The basic form – Dunkler Bock – is dark brown and very malty, mostly sweet and with a low hop character.

Another form is Heller Bock also called Maibock which is often presented between March and Mai, sometimes for Christmas. They have the same characteristics than  the basic bock, except than some earthiness or chocolateyness are absent , due to the use of pale malts instead of dark ones.

If the origins of Bocks may lead to discussion, those from Doppelbocks are clearly defined. This stronger version of traditional bocks was first brewed in Munich by the Paulaner monks. Usually dark in colour (a few pale one exist out there) they are intensely malty and toasty with in most cases some alcohol presence and a quite strong sweetness. They are ranging from 7% to 10% with still a low hop character (mostly below 30 IBUs). Lot of Doppelbocks are named “-ator” as a tribute to the original Paulaner Salvator. Switzerland does not make exception with the Zöbi-Nator or the Egghubel Luna Plenator.

Eisbock –  a very rare beer style – is produced by freezing a bock (or a doppelbock) and then removing the ice, thus concentrating the remaining beer. The result is an even stronger and sweeter product which is nicely suited as a dessert beer.

Weizenbock is a combination of weizen and bock which I personally estimate to belong to the Weizen family and hence not further consider here.

So, what about Bocks in Switzerland ?

First is to be said that amazingly – even if this beer style is a German tradition – no breweries from Romandie (the french-speaking part of the country) are producing (or have produced) a bock ! This will be corrected very soon though, considering the information I recently got…

The big breweries of the country are very precautious – to say the least – with bocks. So if Feldschlösschen, Heineken and Schützengarten are skipping this style, how could you except them to bring something bolder like stouts or IPA ? This is so right that one of the first thing having been done after the take-over of Hürlimann by Feldschlösschen is to discontinue the production of the legendary Samichlaus and from the Caesarus Imperator Heller Bock as well (the latter was produced for export only, so don’t be surprised if you don’t know it).

So nowadays you have to go with Locher and its Schnuggebock (but let’s be honest: a beer without any Bock characteristics), Sonnenbraü (Bock and Doppelbock; both subject to discussion  as well), Egger Bock (well …) or the brand new Rosengarten Schwyzer Bock Hell to find this style offered by a brewery of an important size.

Heller Bock are equally present as Dunkler Bock in Switzerland. This is mainly due to the fact that Swiss beer drinkers are supposedly afraid of dark beers (well, that’s at least what the big breweries and their marketing researches think to have found out).

The only Eisbocks I got from Switzerland were a test batch from the BFM (Alex le Rouge Eisbock, 14%) and the firstly commercialized but pretty modest what concerned alcohol content (7.5%) and quality: the Stadguet Eisbock.

So, it’s time to look at my top ten. Like last time, I will only consider here the beers which are still available. Otherwise, the Samichlaus would have crushed the opposition easily…

name brewery alc. comments
10th Oster Bock Raben Brau 6.6% a very unusual and loose interpretation of a Maibock – yet very good – showing notes of pumpkin and spices
Strättlige Bock Strättligen Bier 5.8% another quite free version presenting fruity and spicy tones and more hop character and bitterness as well
9th Barrique Maibock Schwarzbuebe Bier 9.5% an even more creative – and better – interpretation of the style: this strong and complex beer made its second fermentation for 2 weeks in a Sherry cask
6th Lago Mio Seeland Bräu 7% a very malty and characterful beer
Furgge Bock Hohgant 6.8% a Heller Bock showing notes of fruity and very aromatic hops
Maibock Gutknecht’s Hammer-Bier 7.5% a very tasty, fruity and malty Maibock
5th das Böhmische Haldemann 6% this Dunkler Bock is subtle, charming and very true to the style
4th Osterbock 2011 Haldemann 7.4% another great work from Fredy: a strong malty and chocolatey Doppelbock boosted by some fair hop presence
3rd St. Flannan Strättligen Bier 7.6% robust and accurate Doppelbock from Patrik !
2nd Maibock (M-Bock) Öufi 6.5% well-balanced, pleasant and true to the style
1st Adventsdoppelbock Gutknecht’s Hammer-Bier 6.8% darker in colour than usual, this beer is boosted with a total mastering by addition of lemon zest and cardamom

I like … what do I say ? I love ranking lists ! It’s like this, I am definitely more a scientist than a poet… That is why I would like to present you periodically my personal top tens of Swiss beers in different beer styles.

First of all, I must state something precisely: I do not judge beers to style. This is what is mostly done at homebrew or some other beer competitions. I do prefer and use an hedonic scale: how much does a beer please my senses is the most important to me. For example, even if I am usually more pleased by IPA than by Pilsner, I will favor an extravagant, original, well-made and challenging “not-true-to style” example from the latter over a true to style yet boring sample of the former every time.

This being said, a style classification is something important for the consumers, as it allows them, generally, to know what they can expect from a beer. But be careful: beer styles are moving targets and there is always plenty of room for interpretation, so you must be prepare to see sometimes wide differences in the same style. And be also cautious, talking about beer styles is like talking about religions: it can become very emotional …

So let’s take a closer look to today’s style. Well, I should say “styles” as I decided to put two of them together, namely Stout and Porter. There are two reasons for this: firstly, both styles share a lot of similitudes and can be considered as close relatives and secondly (in fact the main reason), I have only tasted 17 Porters from my country and at least 5 of them are now retired, so building a top ten out of 12 beers would be pretty ridiculous.

Porter has its origin in London at the beginning of the 18th century. It is the father of the later famous Stout. Porters are top fermented beers, dark brown to black in color and showing a roasted malty aroma. Cocoa and coffee are typical and they often present a hint of acidity. Baltic Porters, which appeared about 200 years later in the region between Denmark and the north-west of Russia, are bottom fermented, sweeter and stronger in alcohol (usually between 7.5% and 9.5%).

Also originated from England, Stout beers are top fermented, black in color and shows a roasted coffee-like profile with often notes of licorice and chocolate. Stout can be declined in subclasses: Dry Stouts (popular example: Guinness), Sweet Stouts (like Milk Stout and Oatmeal Stout) and Imperial Stouts, my personal favorite beer style, stronger (8 to 12% or even more), thicker and frequently more flavorful versions of basic Stouts.

The Old Cat, from the Brasserie Artisanale de Fribourg, has very certainly been the first Stout of the modern era brewed and commercialized in Switzerland (developed back in 1995 and sold since 1999). Then came the first Porter with the Sido’s Porter from les Faiseurs de Bière in 2000. Both beers are still produced but, although being very good, they do not appear in my top ten. Not long after came Stouts and Porters from other microbreweries: Haldemann, BFM, the legendary and now closed Bäre-Bräu, Altes Tramdepot and la Sierrvoise.

Stouts and Porters are absent of the big and middle-sized breweries’ portfolios. Decades of blond lager beers have led Swiss consumers away from dark beers and the biggest brewers are not ready to take some commercial risks and give them more visibility. So apart from Locher and his Calvinus Noire and Balik Beer (nota bene produced for two client brewers), you have to search by much more smaller breweries if you want to find something: BFM, Murailles, Sudwerk, Birrificio Ticinese, Altes Tramdepot and Öufi (by the last two though, not on regular basis).

Now it’s time to take a closer look to my personal ranking (please note that I have only considered beers which are still available!):

name brewery alc. comments
9th Black Cat Porter UHB  black chocolate and coffee are well present in this beautiful Porter
Arabica Degen 4.8% Swiss beer of the year 2009 in the category top-fermented, this is a beautiful Stout where the notes of coffee dominate
Äs Fyschter’s Mein Emmental 4.7%  a very roasted, fairly hoppy and much pleasant Dry Stout
Cévès Bâme Noire Bief 5.5%  don’t believe the brewers when they say this beer is lighter and less thick than Guinness … but better it is, that’s sure!
7th Weggess Stout 5%  a tasty Dry Stout showing notes of vanilla and walnuts
Bad Attitude Two Penny Birrificio Ticinese 8.15%  a very nice Porter brewed with American hops (Chinook, Amarillo and Willamette)
6th Pacific Pioneer Sudwerk 6%  unfortunately still a limited edition and not (yet?) available in the Coop supermarkets, this well-made, complex and dangerously drinkable Porter is for me the best of its kind
3rd Irish Stout Reinecke Bräu 6.1%  a pleasant, very drinkable and nicely complex Stout
Black Dream UG Bräu 5.1%  a tasty Irish Stout which makes Guinness look pretty ridiculous
la Noiraude Imperial Stout l’Enclave 7.5%  a complex full-bodied Imperial Stout
2nd Big Blackbier Rappi Bier Factory 8%  a seasonal Imperial Stout fermented four times: 2 tank fermentations, a barrel fermentation and a final bottle fermentation
1st Cuvée Alex le Rouge BFM 10.276%  brewed with Sarawak pepper (a pepper produced in the Malaysian portion of Borneo)

Cheers !