As a homebrewer, you should always be seeking out examples of beer styles to learn how they taste.  There is only so much you can learn from the descriptions written in books and on websites.  If you really want to know about beers from a certain region, you should taste them there fresh.

I was in Switzerland on a whirlwind trip last weekend.  Although not a highly celebrated country for beer brewing, it does have a number of breweries still doing it the way they have been doing it for hundreds of years.  Also, its proximity to powerhouses like Germany made it great for me to get fresher examples than what I would be able to get at home in the USA.

To have Budweiser Budvar at my friend’s house made me realize that I could brew a Czech/Bohemian pilsner with a lot more Saaz hops than I did when I brewed it last year.

Visiting a small regional brewery and trying their zwickelbier made me aware of a style that I hadn’t read about in any guidelines.  Sometimes you find styles that are so rare, they are confined to the region they are brewed in.

Lastly, if you find the right places to visit, you can find local versions of styles.  These are breweries that don’t distribute to far away places so you must seek them out.  I had a Biere de Garde from the Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes that was superb.  This is a style that I have only had from a few USA craft breweries.  To be able to taste a fresh version of this style in the Old World was eye opening.


BFM Biere de Garde


So I guess the point I am trying to make through all my jet lag and exhaustion is that travelling can help your beer brewing the same way brewing beer more often will.  You need to experience life to improve.  You need to drink fresh beer rather than read about it.  Stop reading this post and go get some beer knowledge.


Brew ON!