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Zurich Beer Tour's Top 5 Breweries of 2021

Another year has passed in which we have tasted over 1000 different beers (yes, we know we might have a problem). And because of this huge amount of "research", we think we are qualified to share our top 5 breweries and some honorable mentions with you. Like in our last year's top 5 (check them out here), we have listed the breweries in a random order. The reasons why we feature a certain brewery can be anything, for example really creative #recipes, bringing back unknown/unpopular beer #styles or just an amazingly high standard of beer #quality overall. We also wanted to make clear that this list is incomplete and that there would be dozens of breweries we would like to mention, but we are quite sure no one will read through a list of 125 breweries. Therefore, if your favorite 2021 brewery is not on the list, please feel free to share it with everyone in the comments section below the article. And now, let's get started with our yearly top 5.

 

Brasserie L'Apaisée - Geneva, Switzerland


Brasserie L'Apaisée is neither an unknown nor a new brewery. But when we met the founder Xavier Righetti for the first time in 2021, we learned a lot more about his beers and his #philosophy. Each of l'Apaisée's beers are a piece of art, doesn't matter if it's the hop forward #NEIPA "Get Oat And Play", the barrel aged Imperial #stout "La Maousse" or the mixed fermentation #sour "Prunus Persica". All the beers have a very unique flavor profile and we would claim that we would be able to identify them in a blind tasting (please don't put us to the test). Xavier is also running the bar "La Jonquille" (which is also the name of his core Pale Ale) in #Geneva, where you can only find beer from the region of Geneva. Together with great food and regular concerts this is a must visit in 2022. We are excited to find out what comes out of their barrels this year. Santé to Geneva!


One of our favorite beers:


Prunus Persica, Pêche Jaune

Featured in our March & April recommendations

 

Ārpus Brewing Co. - Eimuri, Latvia


There are many great breweries in the Baltic area, but one that definitely stood out in 2021 was Ārpus Brewing from #Latvia. Even though they are known for their amazingly hoppy and flavorful IPAs, of which we had many this year, it was actually their fruited sours that impressed us this year. What we loved most about the sours, were the unusual and fruit loaded combos of #ingredients in each beer of the series. Let us give you some examples:


- Blueberry x Cherry x Plum x Maple x Almond x Vanilla

- Papaya x Mango x Guava x Passionfruit

- Raspberry x Cherry x Lime

These creative recipes and the overall remarkable quality of their beers made us put them on our list this year. Priekā to Latvia!


One of our favorite beers:


Blueberry Imperial Sour Ale

Featured in our February recommendations

 

Fürst Wiacek - Berlin, Germany


Georg and Lukasz' Fürst Wiacek brewery was featured twice in a row in our monthly recommendations this year and this is for a reason. FW is mostly known for their amazing IPAs, one of them even being named German beer of the year in 2020. And if it was for Sandro, one of their beers (Time Collapse TIPA X Ārpus) would also rank extremely high on best beers in Europe in 2021. Another beer that quite impressed us was the Berliner Landbier. Funny enough that one of their best selling beers is a style that is more typical for the south of #Germany rather than the hip districts of Berlin. Also #lagers are still struggling to get the appreciation that they deserve in the craft beer scene, big beer has damaged the reputation of it too hard. But it now seems like craft Lagers are finally becoming a thing in the scene (as many beer experts have predicted every year since 2015) and beers like the Berliner Landbier show us that this is a good thing. Prost nach Berlin!


One of our favorite beers:


Time Collapse TIPA

Featured in our November recommendations

 

Newbarns Brewery - Edinburgh, Scotland


That craft Lagers and classic beer styles with lower ABVs are becoming more popular is also shown by the success of Newbarns brewery from Scotland. Their range focuses on styles liker Pilsners, Pale Ales and even table beers. The last one being a really difficult style to brew due to its low ABV somewhere between 2-4%. Newbarns brews amazingly flavorful versions of this #historical beer style, working with classic American aroma hops like Mosaic or Simcoe. The perfect beer if you have to drive (in Switzerland at least) or even if you just want to keep a clear head. And they do similar things with most of their beers, our favorite was their Extra hopped #Pilsner, using Callista and Amarillo hops. You can even find some of their beers from cask in selected bars in Scotland and the rest of the UK. Is there also a revival of the #cask ales coming? Cheers to Scotland.


One of our favorite beers:


Extra Hopped Pilsner (Callista & Amarillo)

Featured in our February recommendations

 

À tue-tête - Aigle, Switzerland


À tue-tête from Aigle has become really popular with beer geeks, not only in Switzerland. From Belgium to even the US, people are trying to get their hands on the newest creations by the #blendery founded by Julien Bretheau in 2017. And this is for an obvious reason, the sour beers created at ATT are out of this world, super #complex and flavorful. They like to use lots of different, mostly local foodstuffs in their #barrel aged beers to give them exciting flavors: Peaches or blackberries, but also stuff like tomatillos or chillies. The best about their beers is, that they always taste exactly like what the name suggests: "Pêche Abricot" tastes like biting in a fresh peach or apricot and "Salsa Verde" (which was the one brewed with tomatillos, jalapeño peppers, lime and cilantro) tastes exactly like the typical Mexican taco sauce. We are absolutely sure that there is a lot of amazing stuff coming from Aigle this year as well. Santé to Aigle!


One of our favorite beers:


Salsa Verde

Featured in our July recommendations

 

Besides our official top 5 we'd like to mention two more breweries that we think deserved being in this post and you should look out for. We think those guys will put out a lot more great brews this year, that's why we wanted to give them a shoutout. Here are our 2 honorable mentions:


White Stork - Sofia, Bulgaria


Due to our regular travels to Bulgaria we have came across White Stork beers very often and their taproom (which is not only a #taproom but also an event location, hosting beer #festivals, concerts, markets and quiz nights) is a must visit every time we are in the city. The place is called White Stork Republic and offers 20 taps of great beers from their own range and allied breweries from all over the world. Beers to look out for: Any of their dry-hopped Pilsners and their white stout.


Overtone - Glasgow, Scotland


We had so many beers from Overtone this year: IPA, DIPA, TIPA, sours and stouts. All of them were just amazing, especially their "Vanilla Froth" coffee stout and "It's All Nelson" DIPA were some of the best beers we tried this year. What we also love is their can #designs which are super unique and are just always fun to look at (check out this or this blog post to get an idea what we mean). We are looking forward to our next #Overtone brews in 2022.

 

With this post we also want to thank all breweries and pubs we visited, all the people in the beer industry we got to know and who work hard to make people drink better beer and of course all our beer tour partners.


We hope that the situation in the hospitality sector finally gets better this year. So please help your local pubs, bottle shops, breweries and restaurants however you can.


And there is only one way to do this: Buy more (good) #beer!


As we said above, please let us know what were your top breweries in 2021 in the comments below.


Cheers,


Your Zurich Beer Tour Guides

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