Bern is home to 176 craft beer breweries and is an absolute hot spot for beer aficionados in Switzerland. What has been an insider’s tip so far is rapidly gaining an international reputation. So why not indulge in the world of fine craft beers and pay Bern a visit?
Did you know that Switzerland has the world’s highest brewery density with 1,069 official breweries and micro-breweries? And that’s just the beginning: Switzerland’s beer industry is 40 times larger today than it was just 30 years ago – astonishing figures, indeed.
If you are looking to explore Swiss beer properly, there is no better place than Bern. It’s not just the city of bears but also the beloved Mecca of Swiss beers. To cheer with a freshly brewed beer, enjoy a beer tasting or have deep conversations into the wee hours of the morning about which brewing method is better, has become an integral part of the local modern culture.
Experimenting with hop and malt
Over the years, more and more micro-breweries have popped up in Bern and the mission seems crystal clear: experimenting with hop and malt, discovering new flavours and sharing the passion for craft beer. The local beer ‘Bärner Müntschi’, which means kiss from Bern, has been produced here for over 15 years by the traditional family brewery Felsenau, which is currently run by its fifth generation. But there are also much smaller breweries, some of them are even found in garages or transformed laundry rooms.
Often the craft beers are as tasty as the brewers are quirky. Some beers are only delivered by bike, others are named after ex-girlfriends and you may even find a beer tap in your hotel room. Fancy a visit to the local Museum for Communication but also want to brew some beer using a medieval brewing kettle whilst you’re there? Nothing seems impossible in Bern.
TASTE MY SWISS CITY TOUR.
Enjoy a glass or two, or three
With all the locally brewed beer, it should come as no surprise that there are also so-called beer cafés in the beautiful Swiss city. There is ‘Au Trappiste’, a cosy hot spot for curious minds, who enjoy not just deep conversations after work but also appreciate the large range of national and international craft beers from micro-breweries. At the restaurant ‘Altes Tramdepot’, guests can enjoy a stunning view of Bern’s Old Town whilst also watching how the ‘Tram-Bier’ is brewed – literally right there in a copper brewing kettle.
Another gem, the ‘Barbière’, opened its doors in 2014 at the Breitenrainplatz. The craft beers that are brewed at the back of the café are anything but mainstream. Italian coffees and an affordable lunch menu complete the experience.
However, the ultimate place to be for any beer lover is without a doubt Bern’s legendary beer bar ‘Erzbierschof’ (‘Archbeershop’) with 13 draught beers, an impressive selection of bottled beer and very knowledgeable staff.
An insight to Bern’s beer culture
To really get to know the local beer culture, the beer tours come highly recommended. Experienced beer sommeliers take visitors across the city and explain everything around the golden liquid, from facts and little anecdotes to production, history and flavours. Professional tastings at local breweries and beer bars are of course an essential part of it. Afterwards, you might even be able to finally answer the question of why beer drunk straight from the bottle has a different taste than from a glass. Be fast though, as the tours are very popular and sell out quickly.
Once a month, the special culinary event ‘Beer vs Wine’ delivers exactly what it promises. The concept is simple: the hosting restaurants cook a five-course meal whilst the beer specialist Pierre Dubler ‘duels’ wine expert Michel Gygax. Which one is a better companion to the served food – wine or beer? You decide.
There are plenty of things to do in Bern – not just for beer enthusiasts but also for the entire family. Whether it’s a quick weekend trip to do a beer tasting or a longer holiday exploring Bern’s beautiful region as well, you can be sure to fall in love with Switzerland’s capital of beer.
All that’s left to say is: Santé!
TEXT: MARILENA STRACKE | PHOTOS: BERN WELCOME