I have an international role, which means I get to mingle with colleagues from across the world and they, once they hear I have a beer blog, often proudly show of their local fayre. See recent posts “What beer to drink in Brussels” and “San Francisco beer” for more. This week, it was Zurich’s turn to show off the best Swiss beer.
My colleague Stephan took me to one of its traditional bierhalle (beer hall) to sample the local Feldschlösschen Dunkle Perle. The Swiss pub is laid out like something of a bingo hall. No cliquey tables and caverns here, just long wooden benches forcing you to be sociable with your neighbours, which invariably works better once the beer is flowing.
The dunkle [pictured] is a dark and moody maltfest, while the regular premium beer was another crisp interpretation of its kind. The stand-out beers for me were the ones I took away with me.
Rugenbräu Eiszapfen Bier (5.2%)
This “Festbier” is a leftover from the winter selection and I can see why it would suit the festive period: it’s sweet and, despite being unspectacular as a flavour experience, it is stupidly quaffable.
It has a light toffee colour and little to no head, so is not aesthetically pleasing either, but it does have rich caramel notes similar to an English ale and is light bodied. The honey and toffee overtones are contradicted – rather than complemented – by bitter hops late on the tongue. The flavour lingers, so eventually you do get a balanced experience.
Hell Quöllfrisch (4.8%)
As you would expect from a Hell, this beer is very pale and its colour is appropriately backed up by its lemony nose. It has a rather “numb” flavour, but there are late clove spice hits that linger. Again, unspectacular as a standalone beer but a crisp and clean drinking experience.