Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Tuesday, 9 September 2008: Bergdorf and Bern

Yesterday: Schönenwerd

Another beautiful morning here in Basel tempted me to leave the hotel early and walk the mile or so (given my very roundabout route) to the train station. My plan was to visit Les Caves de la Brasserie in Lutterbach, France. But when I tried to buy a ticket from the machine, a man informed me (in French) that the machine only accepts French credit cards. So I figured to hell with France, and implemented Friday's plan today.

I arrived at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei just past 11:30, and again, I chose the Biergarten over the bar. About halfway into my first beer, and before my lunch arrived, Master Brewer Joachim Kilian came to my table and asked if I'd like a look around. Their situation is unusual in that their beer sales volume has doubled in the past couple of years, but as their site is protected as an historical building, they're not allowed to make any architectural changes. Further, the business arrangements between the brewery owner and the pub owner preclude their moving to a new, less expensive site in town. So all of their expansion has been underground, and they're planning to do even more, even though 10% of their revenues are now being spent on leased space.

Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei / Schützenhaus, Burgdorf, Switzerland

Brewhouse at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei, Burgdorf, Switzerland. This is the only equipment that is above-ground.

Fermenters at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei, Burgdorf, Switzerland.

Serving tanks at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei, Burgdorf, Switzerland.

Bottling line at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei, Burgdorf, Switzerland. Joachim says that this machine is responsible for doubling their sales recently. The space below belongs to a collector of classic automobiles, who was most concerned about beer leaking onto his expensive machines. The wall visible behind the bottler is destined to be removed to make even more space for the brewery.

Grain mill at Burgdorfer Gasthausbrauerei, Burgdorf, Switzerland. He says it handles 500kg per hour, but that's very hard to believe. The milled grain has to be hauled upstairs to the brewhouse. I believe Joachim referred to it as "fucking bullshit", and I certainly wouldn't argue.

And here are the beers:

Burgdorfer Helles

Burgdorfer Ämme

Burgdorfer Weizen

As we were talking about the historic state of his building, Joachim recommended that I visit Altes Tramdepot Brauerei & Restaurant in Bern, as it's located in the old tram depot. It was still early afternoon, and Bern is only 20km or so from Burgdorf, so I figured I had time.

By the way, regular unleaded is $6.38 per gallon here today.

Get off the train at Bern and get on the #12 bus, and it will drop you right in front of the Altes Tramdepot.

Altes Tramdepot Brauerei & Restaurant, Bern, Switzerland

Brewhouse behind the bar at Altes Tramdepot, Bern

Altes Tramdepot Pils

Altes Tramdepot Helles

Altes Tramdepot Märzen

Altes Tramdepot Weizen

I had a nice chat with the owner, and he recommended several more breweries in the area: Rathaus Bräu in Luzern, Aare Bier in Bargen, and Öufi in Solothurn, none of which are even in my database. So it looks like a good thing that I've freed up this Friday.

Paris and I had fish and chips and some Warteck beers for dinner at the Fair & Square Bar right around the corner from the hotel.

The building with the striped awning is the Fair & Square Bar in Basel.

Tomorrow: Rothaus

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