In the Paths of Brewers: Where to Try the Best Swiss Beer with a Rich History

Swiss Beer

Our author, travel blogger Anastasia Kobitieva, invites you to visit the beautiful towns of St. Gallen and Appenzell and discover the history of local beer. The journey promises to be exciting and delicious.

Switzerland is a country of quality, and this applies to any industry. I want to tell you about delicious Swiss beer and some of the most beautiful places in this country associated with this wonderful beverage. Swiss beer may not be as famous as German or Czech beer, but it certainly doesn't lag behind in quality.

Despite its proximity to Germany, brewing in Switzerland originated thanks to Ireland. In the 7th century, an Irish monk founded an abbey near the western shore of Lake Constance. They say the monk was named Saint Gallus. Does that name sound familiar to you in connection with a Swiss city? Correct, St. Gallen. It is precisely where the abbey stands. 

Abbey ensemble in St. Gallen, Switzerland

This popular tourist town boasts UNESCO-listed landmarks and is crisscrossed with hiking trails. One of these trails is linked to one of the most famous beer brands, but let's get back to the beer.

Pure Swiss Beer

Beer was first brewed on Swiss soil in the Abbey of Saint Gallus, and brewing quickly became a popular craft and a widespread tradition in this country. Until the 19th century, brewing in Switzerland remained the domain of monasteries and home breweries. Only the modern technologies of the industrial revolution allowed for producing beer in large quantities and consistently high quality. By the beginning of the 20th century, there were already around 500 breweries in the small Switzerland.

Interestingly, large multinational corporations could not establish production in Switzerland for a long time, which allowed the country to develop and maintain a unique brewing culture. Swiss beer is considered very distinctive. We recommend trying local varieties and forming your own opinion.

By the way, the brewery in the Abbey of St. Gallen still operates, so I highly recommend visiting. It's Bierbrauerei Schützengarten, the oldest brewery in the country and one of the most technologically advanced!

Not far from St. Gallen is the town of Appenzell, known for its incredible landscapes and high-quality products. By visiting the local brewery, Brauquöll Appenzell, you can witness how two of the most famous local beer varieties, Appenzell and Säntis Malt, are made from the purest mountain water."

Please note that the text is already quite polished, and some elements of the original language may be intentionally retained to maintain the text's style and cultural context.

"How to Get There?

Our journey begins at Wasserauen station, where hiking awaits us. There are two route options uphill. One takes you through the forest and forest trails, while the other follows an asphalt road, which is stroller-friendly but can be steep in some places, so be prepared for that.

The hike will take about an hour, depending on your pace. At the end of the trail, you'll be rewarded with breathtaking views of the lake, and on a clear day, you might even catch a glimpse of Mount Santis. You'll capture stunning photos!

Brand History

This beer has a history, and a unique taste will satisfy any connoisseur. The history of this beer dates back to 1810, when a small brewery was first opened.

Later, the Fessler family acquired the brewery's shares, and one of its representatives, Johann Joseph Fessler, became the sole owner and obtained permission to build a wing where the first genuine refrigeration chamber was installed. In winter, natural ice was collected from Lake Zealpsee or a pond near the Weissbad farm.

Later, a fairly large brewery was built, including a beer shop and a bowling alley. The Bierhütte Hotel's separate beer garden on the banks of the Sitter River has always attracted numerous guests. This building still stands today.

In 1886, the brewery in Appenzell was put up for auction. This marked the beginning of Brauerei Locher's story. Johann Christoph Locher, a member of the well-known brewing dynasty from Oberthurgau, purchased the brewery and all adjacent buildings.

Since then, the brewery has constantly modernized and expanded, introducing new beer brands known for their unique taste and quality.

By the way, Brauerei Locher AG was the first Swiss brewery to go online and the first brewery to revive commercial two-row barley cultivation in Switzerland. The Lochers have always been pioneers.

In 1999, the production extended beyond beer. Karl Locher, the next generation in the brewing family, began distilling his Säntis malt whisky, making him a pioneer in Swiss whisky production. It is matured in oak beer casks and has already won international awards.

In 2005, Brauerei Locher opened a modern brewery on the outskirts of Appenzell. Later, it opened its doors to visitors and those interested in beer production. I highly recommend visiting this facility and trying their fresh beer.

Brauerei Locher has been a proponent of natural, resource-saving production for many years, emphasizing ecological production and ensuring that all ingredients are used to their full potential. For instance, spent grain is turned into tasty chips.

For food upcycling, the brand Brebee was created, turning brewing by-products into eco-friendly and delicious snacks, such as the aforementioned chips, pizza, muesli, or beer bread, significantly contributing to reducing food waste.

I recommend visiting the Brauquöll tourist center in Braueriplatz in Appenzell. In the new, modern shop with a luxurious design, you'll find all of Brauerei Locher's products, souvenirs, and gifts. They also offer various tastings.

Be sure to try Locher craft beer. This handmade beer stands out for its unique taste. The labels tell the stories of people and their experiences in the Alpstein Mountains.

This is not just a story about beer; it's a story of creating a family beer business that spans generations with boundless love for their craft, region, and products. You can learn more about the history and more on the History - Brauerei Locher AG website.

And now, I invite you to explore these beautiful places and the ancient history of brewing. You'll find it fascinating, even if you're not a beer enthusiast. I'm confident of that.

Walking this beautiful route knowing its history, is a special delight for both body and mind.

A family outing will take up a whole day. You can have a picnic; there's a grill available for that, just remember to bring some firewood. And remember to take all your trash with you to preserve the environment in its pristine state.

There's also a restaurant by the lake where you can savor delicious dishes.

If you want to cool off, dip in the crystal-clear lake or rent a boat for some pleasant rowing. Be sure to walk around the lake; it will reveal unforgettable Swiss landscapes, and you might even be lucky enough to see cows freely roaming around. Some of them are happy to pose for the camera. Additionally, there are local 'cheese' shops by the lake where you can purchase local cheese and milk.

You'll find the 'Forelle' mountain hotel by the lakeshore with a great view of the lake and Mount Santis. A bonus: they serve delicious breakfasts.

I recommend the two route options I've marked for you: up in blue dashed line and back in red. The blue line is an asphalt road, but it's steep, while the red line is a trail through the forest.

I hope your journey will be unforgettable, just like mine was. Enjoy your trip!"


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