Living in Europe as an American is living two lives: the one you have now, and remembering the one you leave behind. In Europe I have new friends, new family, a new way of being. But when my family comes to visit, memories of home, who I was, and how I behaved all come rushing back. My English slang now fresh in my mind, I struggle with even the basic German sentences. It’s a weird dual existence, but one I am extremely grateful to have.
These past weeks have been like wrangling cats. You try to set a plan, but ultimately people do what they want to do. But that's how weddings go, or so I'm told. Thankfully everything went without a hitch, and we were even granted a few hours of sun! It was an albeit unique experience, worrying about everything going according to plan, making sure people are where they are supposed to be, and remembering to relax and enjoy ones self makes the day go by in a blur. Still, it was the perfect wedding for us.
Yet planning this wedding, coordinating family, giving tours through Switzerland, translating English to German etc. was more of an exhausting experience than I originally thought it would be. But hey, at least there was plenty of cheese and beer. Almost serendipitously, there was the craft beer fest in Zurich just before I had to say goodbye to my parents.
Walking down a random farm road on the outskirts of Zurich, we came upon a small barn with the smell of smoke wafting through the air. We arrived around 6:30 pm to a well attended beer fest, a band setting up gear, and the delightful (at least to some) smell of a pig roast. There were eighteen breweries in attendance, three of which were Danish (if WarPigs counts solely as Danish).
We showed our tickets, received our tokens and festival branded Teku glasses and headed straight for some beers.
(If I may have a get-off-my-lawn type side-rant, why all the Teku glasses, Europe?)
I was thoroughly impressed by the variety of beer available, from your standard IPAs and Stouts to table beer, pumpkin spiced beers (a rarity, I’ve come to find), and sours. All the breweries in attendance had at least three beers available to try. None of which were only IPAs or pale ales.
Every brewery on the scene was dishing out a variety of styles. If I’m to be honest, beer fests in Berlin were typically only IPAs and Pale Ales, so this beer fest was a breath of fresh air. I don’t mean to offend, but already the Swiss beer scene seems more healthy than some.
Frontrunners were for us the table beer from Blackwell (a close contendor for my favorite Swiss brewery), the aforementioned pumpkin spice beer from the Bier Factory, and a coconut porter by Broken City Brewing. Just a small curiosity I noticed, all of my Swiss beer drinking friends seem to reach for porters and stouts. Anyway, for me personally, the sour beers available from Brasserie Trois Dames and BFM were stellar (a sour red and a gose, and a saison respectively).
I intentionally avoided Warpigs and Mikkeller. Mikkeller has a tendency to charge more for less amounts of beer, and I’m just not into that. The concept though of creating a fancy place for fancy beer drinkers is a rant for another time. I’ve had an excellent stout from WarPigs, really excellent, but I don’t know too much about them.
Simply put though, I would much prefer to give my well earned tokens to Swiss breweries, even if all the foreign breweries were charging more for (all) of their beers.
Beer fests aside, life has been hectic. Bureaucracy, PhD/grant applications, finding an apartment, etc etc, but hey, brew setup is complete! Not fully 100%, but operational at least. So stay tuned for actual homebrew posts!