Hello Switzerland contacted Philippe Corbat, a beer hunter and beer lover from Bienne, Switzerland, to learn more about the yummy seasonal beers released around Christmas. Philippe, who is known as Bov by his friends, realized his passion for beer while visiting Belgium in 1987. Since then he has sampled more than 9,000 beers from around the world! As you can imagine, Bov has a wealth of knowledge about his favourite beverage. He filled Hello Switzerland in on the history of Christmas and winter beers.
What is Christmas beer?
Firstly, Bov emphasizes the fact that "Christmas beers" are not actually a style of beer. Rather, they are part of a seasonal tradition that has its roots in northern Europe, most notably Belgium. At the end of each year, breweries customarily needed to use up their remaining raw materials in order to make room in their stores for the next year's supply. The special "winter" or "Christmas" beers they made with these supplies were generally reserved for regular customers and employees.
What do Christmas beers taste like?
Christmas beers are often dark, with strong flavour. They occasionally include clove, coriander, honey, bitter orange, cinnamon, or ginger. But these days, even Tripel, IPA (Indian Pale Ale) or Weissbier can be found among the winter and Christmas beers.
Learn more about Bov and read his reviews of beers from over 150 countries on his website.
Bov's list of some of the best known European Christmas beers available in Switzerland:
|Schweiz Feldschlösschen Winterbier||Gouden Carolous Noël|
|Cardinal Xmas||Affligem de Noël|
|Schützengarten Festbier||Bush de Noël|
|Falken Festbier||Delirium de Noël|
|Baarer Festbier||N'Ice Chouffe|
|Unser Bier Weihnachtsbier||Barbar Winterbock|
|Altes Tramdepot Weihnachtsbier||Bon Secours Noël|
|Sudwerk Santa's Reserve||Bush Noël|
|Seelandbräu Lago Mio||De Koninck Winter|
|Huyghe la Mère|
|Noël Liefmans Glühkriek|
|Astra Arschkalt||Brewdog Hoppy Christmas|
|Erdinger Schneeweisse||Brewdog Santa Paws|
|Rothaus Eiszäpfle||Samuel Smith Winter Welcome Ale|
|Störtebeker Glühbier||Shepherd Neame Vintage Christmas|
|Tucher Christkindlmarkt||St. Peter's Christmas Ale|
|Pietra de Noel|
Where to find Christmas beers in Switzerland:
Drinks of the World www.drinksoftheworld.ch
Large COOP locations
Au Grain d'Orge www.augraindorge.ch
Bier-Laden Schwarzenburg www.bier-laden.ch
Mise en Bière www.lamiseenbiere.ch
Photos: Emma Baumhofer