Zurich Beer Tour's Top 5 Breweries of 2022
It's finally time to recap our beer year 2022. As usual, it's been an awesome taste journey not only in the metaphorical sense but also quite literary. As some of you might now, we are not only beer but also travel addicts. So apart from our regular visits to Simona's home country Bulgaria we also had the chance to travel quite a lot to other destinations (shameless plug - check our travel vlog Original TravelZ). We were also fortunate enough to go on a sabbatical in September and October, and for that reason you will find some intercontinental breweries below. As every year, we have to mention our list of breweries can't ever be complete as, thankfully, there is just an endless number of awesome independent craft breweries out there (check out our last top breweries edition here). We also have to clarify that we listed the breweries in a random order and we have included them for different reasons (great variety of styles, awesome can designs, creativity, consistent awesome quality). However one thing unites them all and this is how awesomely delicious their brews are. Without further ado - check our top 5 breweries for 2022 below.
Sofia Electric - Sofia, Bulgaria
Yes, Simona might be a bit biased about that one ;) Jokes aside, every time we go back to #Bulgaria we love trying all of the new creations of Sofia Electric. They never stop surprising us with their creativity and the awesome quality of their brews. Their hop-forward beers have been one of our recent highlights and they typically make great beers to accompany some world-renowned food staples like fries (like with the Want Fries with this? pale ale) or traditional Bulgarian dishes (like the Holy Kozunak sour). Meet Me At 7:00 At Popa is another one of our new favorites - a great imperial stout with #roasty and #chocolate notes. As you can see Sofia Electric has an incredible range and there's nothing much left to say really - hop on the next plane to Sofia and try them. Here's also one of our previous articles where we included them with a bit more information about the brewery.
One of our favorite beers:
Want Fries with this? Pale Ale
Featured in our April recommendations
Galway Bay - Salthill, Galway, Ireland
Welcome to the dark side and beyond! Galway Bay is a brewery that has marked not only the start of last year for us but also continued inspiring us with its bold and refreshing beers during the whole first half of the year. The culmination of it was of course our visit to #Dublin in June when we had the chance to enjoy their beer directly from the tap at The Beer Temple. We must say they have amazing #crushable brews like the Slow Lives #helles. However, we believe the beginning of this paragraph promised some #stouts and dark lagers and a bonus of a fantastic wee heavy so here are some of our favorites from Galway Bay:
- Diving Bell (2021) - Vintage of Diving Bell (2018 Rum Barrel Aged) - Scotch Ale / Wee Heavy
- Tmavý Ležák - Dark Lager
One more of our favorite beers:
Galway Bay Brewery (IRL) - We Still Got It BA Imperial Stout
Featured in our January recommendations
Strange - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Everything about Strange Brewing is fascinating - from the logo depicting a raccoon getting busy with a dog, through the psychedelic website (please do as a favor and check it out, even if you don't speak Spanish) and the raccoon #cans design, to the bursting #flavors of their perfect brews. During our sabbatical in September and October when we had the chance to visit Argentina we were incredibly lucky to be brought to this beer paradise on the other side of the world. We went to a great fellow beer tour called Craft Beer Adventure by Asado Adventures and Strange was one of the stops. We had amazing #IPAs (Apenitas Demasiado), we had heavy and delicious #stouts (Almas Muertas) and it all became a blur. The rest is history.
One of our favorite beers:
Sobre Todo Nelson - single hop Nelson Sauvin IPA
Featured in our Top Beers: Travel Edition (Canada, Chile and Argentina) with Messorem, Bodega Ergo, Strange and more blog article
Hoppy People - Sierre, Valais, Switzerland
As the name of this awesome Swiss brewery suggests - they are very #Hoppy People. There is no way a true #hop head like our own Sandro won't fall in love with their #brews. However, their beers have been a national favorite and on our own tour we have also noticed great appreciation for their creations. Even though they have delicious #IPA's to offer they are also no strangers to experimenting with other styles. One of the beers that has a special place in our hearts and minds is
Clash of the Titans - Grand Cru, a #barleywine brewed in collaboration with De Struise Brouwers from Belgium which we had to mark 28. April - National Swiss Beer Day.
One of our favorite beers (we tried it in 2023 but it's so good it needed to be mentioned):
Into the Wormhole - Double New England IPA
More about the brewery in this blog article
Blackwell Brewery - Burgdorf, Bern, Switzerland
The true inspiration behind Blackwell lies in Belgian #farmhouse brewing. And you can taste the #funk characteristic to farmhouse ales in all their beers. To each of their brews they add a special trademark ingredient or method - be it a whole fir tree for Christmas or a true exploration of style like diving deep in historical beers like #Lichtenhainer. You will recognize Blackwell by the simplistic #bottle style - always text heavy white labels, creative name and just a brown bottle. But don't let it fool you - inside you will discover an explosion of #taste that no inexperienced beer newbie will be able to fully appreciate. The complex flavors need extensive training to reach the maturity needed to completely understand brews of this rank. So go ahead and start your ALEdemic education now. For example by joining us on tour ;)
One of our favorite beers:
No, I Am Your Father - Sour Stout
Featured in our May and June 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 shout-out. Here are our 2 honorable mentions:
Bodega Ergo - Santiago, Chile
Daniel Moscoso, the founder and head brewer of Bodega Ergo used to work in the wine industry, which explains why a lot of his beers are either brewed with actual grapes, aged in wine barrels or are even beer/wine hybrids. These beers are really special and we think they are a great way to learn how wide the range of beer styles go, especially for people who love wine but don't like beer. Everything we tried from Bodega Ergo while traveling Chile, was fantastic. But if we had to pick a favorite, it would probably be "Saison Del '94" a barrel aged grape ale, brewed with Carmenere grapes.
Vault City - Edinburgh, Scotland
In 2022 we had the chance to visit Vault City's small taproom in Edinburgh's city center (the Wee Vault) for the first time. And the name is key here, as this taproom is definitely one of the smallest we've ever seen. The beers they serve on the other hand are really big, especially in flavor. If you don't know Vault City, those guys are well known for sour beers that are as far away from the Reinheitsgebot as possible. One of our favorites last year was their "Guava Banana Banoffee Toffee Smoothie Sour".
Please don't forget that these breweries are in no specific order and that there are many more great breweries out there that are not included this time.
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.
Our tour and also these blogs, wouldn't be possible without them!
Leave your own favorite breweries from the last year in the comments below.
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