Europe

Switzerland

Switzerland is located in the mountainous center of Europe, known for its beautiful alpine landscapes and lakes. The culture is a blend of German, Italian, French, and Austrian, and there are four official languages spoken: Swiss German, French, Italian, and Romansh (a version of Latin from the Roman Empire).

Yodeling Contests, Jumping off bridges and drinking with large dogs

 

In this episode I go Four Sheets in Switzerland. We start with a 5,000 ft. climb up Rigi-Staffel to sip on Kirschwasser from barrels carried by St. Bernard "Barry." Then it's off of to Bern for some beer at Altes Tramdepot craft brewery and over to distillery Matte Brennerei to get educated on traditional Absinthe. After that it's a whirlwind adventure of more beer, boozy fondue, base jumping and jumping off bridges into very cold water to rid myself of another hangover.

A Beautiful Island - Great Drinks + Amazing People

Episode Teaser

A Little Episode Teaser
Location Guide

A Little More About Each Stop

Cog-wheel train up Mt. Rigi to Rigi-Staffel

This cog-wheel train opened in 1871, and we rode one of the original rail cars over 5000 feet to the top of Mt. Rigi. There, we met the mountain’s St. Bernard's, which were originally used as transport dogs and to rescue people in avalanches. Legend holds that they used to carry a barrel of booze to warm people up after rescuing them in the snow. Today, they still carry booze around to serve to tourists: it’s kirsch, an 84-proof Swiss spirit made from cherries.

Matte Brennerei

Matte Brewery Bar is dedicated to properly serving traditional absinthe, as well as dispelling myths about it (like the myth that absinthe will make you hallucinate - it will not!).

Absinthe was created in Switzerland in 1792 for health benefits, but its tasty flavor and alcohol content made it popular for its own sake shortly thereafter. And serving it properly means that absinthe is never served neat. It needs water in it to break down some of the alcohol, and it makes a difference whether the water is added quickly or slowly. Head to Matte to see what I mean and make sure to use the secret password "I would like to try the Matte Signature."

Matte Brennerei Website

Rathaus Brauerei

Rathaus Brauerei is a brewery with its own restaurant, located right by historic chapel footbridge in Lucerne with an absolutely breathtaking view. Rathaus makes its beers using natural mountain spring water from Mt. Pilatus, just a few miles from the brewery. And underground lines pump beer from the brewery to Stadkeller nearby, where we headed for some more beer and fondue.

Rathaus Brauerei Website

Altes Tramdepot

The city of Bern was named after bears, supposedly the first wild animal seen hunting in the region. And Altes Tramdepot named after the old building it’s in, but it’s actually one of most popular craft breweries in Switzerland. They like to use local ingredients and serve their excellent beers with their signature pretzel sandwiches.

Altes Tramdepot Website

Untertorbrücke

Not far from Altes Tramdepot and Matte Brennerei in Bern is this episode’s hangover cure: the Untertorbrücke, from which we jumped into the Aare river below! I have to say - it scared the hangover right out of me.

Hornerpub

The pub at the Hotel Horner is great for picturesque views, and the Lauterbrunnen is excellent for base jumping from the cliffs into the valley. In fact, it’s the “Mecca of base jumping,” according to the extreme sport participants we met at the pub. I can’t say I tried base jumping - Untertorbrücke was enough for me - but if that’s your cup of tea, you’ll surely be able to meet up with some like minds at Hornerpub.

Hornerpub Website

Restaurant le Chalet de Gruyères

Located in the French region of Switzerland, Gruyere is home to one of the best maintained castles in Europe. And some of the best fondue. At Le Chalet, we tasted the local fondue made with cheese, wine, and kirsch. If you’re up for an intense experience, try dipping bread in kirsch, then into the cheese fondue.

Restaurant le Chalet de Gruyères Website

Now Where Did They Go?
Drink Recipes

Drink What We Drank

Kirsch or Kirschwasser

A 84-proof Swiss clear Brandy spirit made from cherries.

Buy Online

Matte Brennerei Absinthe

There are many Absinthe's available from all over the world but if you'd like to try what we tried:

Buy Matte Brennerei Absinthe Online

 

Altes Tramdepot Beers

The beers will vary by season but we thoroughly enjoyed:

Helles - classic Munich beer
Märzen - Bravarian lager

Rathaus Brauerei Beers

We drank:

Zwickle Beer - A rather old, rare, and unique German beer style, Kellerbiers are unfiltered and unpasteurized lagers that date back to at least the Middle Ages.

Summer Bock - a German Doppelbock

Hefeweizen - wheat beer

 

And What Did They Drink?

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