In March, I was skiing on a bluebird day at Adelboden in the Swiss Alps. I’m not normally a great beer drinker but it was one of these days where only a glass of cool amber liquid would hit the spot. We stopped at a restaurant for lunch and I ordered a Mountain Pale Ale – little did I know then that I could have virtually rolled a snowball to the brewery in the valley below. Anyway the beer was superbly refreshing and I was intrigued by the quirky label and the inclusion of Irish moos (moss) in the list of ingredients.
Fast forward to the Summer and I was thinking it would be nice to add some fine beer to the JMB Wine List so I paid the Simmentaler brewery a visit. There I met Tristan Mathys, possibly the most enthusiastic, laid back and all-round nice guy brewer you could meet.
He explained to me the philosophy of the brewery – The Simmentaler Braumanufaktur was founded in August 2014 and the beer is produced entirely in Lenk in the alpine Simmen valley.
Since the first brew, the beer is brewed by hand, all bottles are hand-bottled, sealed and labeled.
Only the best malt varieties and the finest hop varieties are used for production. Together with the fresh Simmentaler mountain water, this creates a unique beer.
The cows in the Simmental mountains benefit from being fed the by-product of the brewing process, the Malt Sprinkler, and a uniquely flavoured cheese is made from the resulting milk. Hopefully I’ll be able to ship some of this along with the beer!
The brewery produces four main beers plus occasional specialties. From these I have selected the pair that are the most popular.
Simmentaler Lager 4.5 Vol.% – Cloudy and pale lager, brewed with Simmentaler mountain spring water. The light and balanced hop aromas of Magnum and Amarillo give the beer a gentle finish.
Mountain Pale Ale 5.2 Vol.% – The beer that first caught my attention. It is much easier to drink a few of these than most of the intensely hoppy craft beer versions of IPA that seem so popular at the moment. Fruity golden pale ale, hopped with Nelson Sauvin. The New Zealand hops are characterized by a complex flavour profile that is strongly reminiscent of a Sauvignon Blanc. By the way, the Irish moss is used for fining and also adds fruity complexity.