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Top 3 craft beer recommendations for February & March - Newbarns - Freigeist - Pilot and more

It is time for Zurich Beer Tour's Top 3 beers for February & March 2022. Another two #busy months have gone by, so we once again decided to combine two of our monthly recommendations in one post. More beers, more #fun, right? Simona went for a #Porter that focuses a lot on the first four letters (Port... it was brewed with port wine) and a #Stout brewed with seawater. Sandro's top beers are a bit more surprising for these two months, a barrel aged sour red ale and a #Pils brewed in Switzerland. The staff picks for these months are an amazingly flavorful pale ale from #Scotland and a very special Oude Kriek, in honor of a beer #legend. Let's do this!

 

Simona's pick for February: Freigeist (GER) - Portler


The Beer:



This beer is, as most of Freigeist's beers, something really #special. It starts with a rather classic Porter as a base beer, which was then blended with 10% actual port wine. The idea was that a lot of dark beers have slight notes of port or are sometimes even aged in port barrels. Because of this Sebastian Sauer from Freigeist wanted to find out what happens if you just #blend both beverages. In our opinion the result is a great success. The brew features classic notes of a porter like #roasted barley, coffee and hints of chocolate, which are perfectly supported by the slightly sweet, #nutty and dark red berry aromas of the port. A beer that is so different to everything you had before, try it if you have the chance.


The Brewery

Freigeist is a branch of Cologne's Braustelle brewery. Brewers Peter Esser and Sebastian Sauer saw that the global beer scene had developed a lot in recent years and had surpassed the #German one. They wanted to "break the chains of the modern mainstream brewing industry" and to re-interpret forgotten #historical German beer styles. They do this as mentioned before in a special way, using special brewing techniques (for example the "Eisbock" method), blending with other beverages (you guessed it, port) or brewing with different types of fruit or other foodstuffs (for example blueberries and tonka beans).


Our food pairing recommendation:


Fig and chocolate cake


Simona's pick for March: Pilot (SCO) - Barrel Aged North Sea Stout



The Beer:


It looks like Simona was especially happy with beers that were brewed with fancy #ingredients the last 2 months. This beer was brewed with salty seawater and liquorice and if that wasn't special enough, they then put the beer in #bourbon and #scotch barrels for over 10 months. The result is an amazingly complex beer which is big on woody #oak notes but also features nice coffee and chocolate notes. Upfront you can feel a hint of the used liquorice and the saltiness of the seawater perfectly balances the bitter-sweet finish of this one of a kind drink. A beer as interesting as the brewery behind it.


The Brewery


Pilot Brewery came to life in 2012 when founders Matt Johnson and Patrick Jones met at Heriot-Watt University where they were studying for their #masters degrees in Brewing & Distilling. They shared the opinion that the beer scene needed something fresh, away from classic real ales but also not yet another #American style craft beer brewery. The brewery located in Leith, Edinburgh is known for fantastic beers but also a great sense of humor, if you want a taste of it (the humor, for the beer you have to buy the beer) check their Twitter account.


Our food pairing recommendation:


Salted Caramel Popcorn

 

Sandro's pick for February: Campervan (SCO) - Lost In Leith - Bourbon Sour Red


The Beer:



These months seem to have been full of special beers, so even Sandro is turning away from his usual hazy IPAs and goes for an outstanding #sour beer from Scotland. This Sour Red Ale was aged in Foeders at Lost In Leith Fermentaria for 10 months, and was then refermented using dried currants in Bourbon barrels. The result is a stunning beer with lots of complex aromas, going from dried red fruit to lots of oak and vanilla. With the amazing oak notes the beer has lots of similarities with red wine, even though it has more #acidity. So if you have wine loving friends who say they don't like beer, we know just the right bottle to prove them wrong.


The Brewery


The brewery Campervan was founded by Paul Gibson, who had to take a six-month career break when his wife and daughter both required surgery. He used this really difficult time in his life to reflect what is really important for him. He also started to homebrew during this time and absolutely loved it. Paul decided that this was a thing he wanted to embrace and started Campervan brewery. The name comes from his other passion which are Classic VW campervans. This beer is part of their "Lost In Leith" program, named after their Leith bar where they make #experimental barrel aged beers.


Our food pairing recommendation:


Lamb stew with dried apricots, prunes and cranberries


Sandro's pick for March: Welcome Stranger (CH) - Global Pils


The Beer:



After all those ingredients and barrels, maybe this beer looks a bit boring at the first glance. But this is far away from the truth. The Global Pils is a #masterpiece of a Pilsner and combines attributes of different types of Pilsners. Hop forward like a German Pils but with the bitterness of a #Czech Pilsner this brew finishes extremely crisp and clean with a clear dry-hop flavor like an #Italian style Pilsner. The perfect beer to always have in your fridge and drink several of in a night (or a Sunday afternoon).


The Brewery


David Santiago (BFM) is already well-known in the international beer scene and founded Welcome Stranger to brew the exact beers he liked. Focusing on low ABV beers with lots of flavor he brews amazing Pale Ales, Milds and of course now this fantastic Pilsner.


Our food pairing recommendation:


Penne all'arrabbiata

 

Zurich Beer Tour's pick for February: Newbarns (SCO) - Pale Ale (Mosaic & Idaho 7)


The Beer:



What made us pick this beer for our monthly ZBT Beer was the amazing flavor profile of this actually rather low ABV beer. The nose is the definition of #dankness, a huge wave of sweet cannabis notes paired with some peachy and apple notes. Considering this beer has only 4.5% ABV the flavor profile could easily be the one of a 7% IPA. The body is also rather creamy for such a crushable beer, which it still is, even with the mouthfeel and bold flavors. Another mind-blowing beer by Newbarns (2nd time beer of the month for Newbarns).


The Brewery:


You can find out more about the brewery in this blog article.


Our food pairing recommendation:


Rib-eye steak with sweet potato fries


Zurich Beer Tour's pick for March: 3 Fonteinen (BEL) - Oude Kriek PX Geturfd


The Beer:



The base of this beer is a classic Oude #Kriek, a blend of younger and older lambics which are then macerated with sour #cherries. What is special about this beer is that it was not only blended out of 1- and 2-year-old lambiek, but also with some 3-year-old lambiek which was aged in slightly peated Pedro Ximenez #sherry barrels. The blending gives the beer an amazingly complex flavor profile and the sherry barrels add amazing smokey/peated aromas to the finish of the beer. We actually opened this beer in the honor of Armand Debelder, who passed away early on Sunday, March 6, 2022. The man who was known as “Opa Geuze" lost a two-year battle with prostate cancer. In this way we want to wish peace and comfort to Armand and his family. R.I.P Armand, you will be missed.


The Brewery:


You can find out more about the brewery in this blog article.


Our food pairing recommendation:


Nothing, enjoy it by itself (If you are really hungry enjoy some Belgian Paté with it)

 

These are our top beers for February & March. Which ones were your favorite brews these months? Tell us in the comments!


Are you looking for more personalized recommendations, that are made to fit your taste? Check our Pocket Beer Sommelier.


Stay tuned for our April recommendations!


Cheers,


Your Zurich Beer Tour Guides

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