This beer adventure is the stuff of bucket lists.
What happens when you spend a week in Southern Germany with Schlafly Beer’s lead brewer? An educational adventure of exploring German breweries, downing local beers and eating every kind of sausage imaginable. Volksfest 2017, a pre-Oktoberfest that locals actually enjoy attending, offered us otherworldly roasted chicken slathered in butter, too, plus endless prost clinks with one-liter beers. Many beers and sausages later, a tour guide proposed another grand adventure—visiting four countries to drink four local beers, all in one day. The countries would include Germany, Switzerland, Austria and Liechtenstein, and the entire journey by car, without stopping, would be about three and a half hours. It took us around five hours to complete the route, not spending that much time in each country, but it was more of a “look, we can drink four local beers in four different countries today” kind of goal to begin with.
If you find yourself in the vicinity, try it. Here’s how we did it:
The Ferry Ride
A morning spent on a ferry from Friedrichshafen, Germany, to Romanshorn, Switzerland, passed quickly with the help of pretzels and bier. A bit sluggish from the night before, we kept it tame with a Schützengarten Panaché—basically Switzerland’s version of a Radler—or as we called it, “breakfast juice.” The quick boat ride was just enough time to guzzle down the low-ABV beer and snap a few photos of the picturesque Lake Constance.
If time is on your side when you set foot on Swiss soil in Romanshorn, Hafenlounge is a solid lakeside bar with a view to tick off the next beer. If not, a Coop store (supermarket) will suffice. Plus, drinking on the streets is completely acceptable here, allowing you to explore while sipping. We grabbed a few Feldschlösschen Weizen Blanche and Hopfen Houblons and strolled around the town.
Next up, our guide continued the route to Liechtenstein, one of Europe’s smallest and least visited countries. We entered Vaduz, its capital, passing a breathtaking castle on our quest for local beer. Fun fact: Liechtenstein is home to the world’s largest manufacturer of false teeth. Okay, back to beer. We decided to stick with beers from the market, so we could tackle the four countries in a timely manner; otherwise a stop at Liechtensteiner Brauhaus for a brewery tour would have been in order. Alas, walking around the streets with a Liechtensteiner brew in hand did not disappoint, and we also scored a coveted passport stamp for $3.
A few beers deep, we decided lunch was in order, so after arriving in Hard, we cozied up on the plush outdoor patio furniture at Seerestaurant Hard. Unobstructed Lake Constance views, spätzle, frites and weird (yet oddly satisfying) chicken nuggets required the accompaniment of Mohren Bräu. Time slipped away from us with all the boozy conversation and sunshine, so we ultimately spent the most time here.
Half an hour’s drive back to Friedrichshafen, where we began the challenge, led us to the most adventurous beer yet—also the fourth and final beer, but who’s counting? (We are.) The rush of getting to all countries was mainly due to the fact that we had a Zeppelin ride to catch, but we managed to throw back a Zeppelin Bier (a Kellerbier-style beer brewed by Brauerei Max Leibinger) before boarding the airship. It was that moment in air, floating through the sky and viewing our entire day’s route from up above, that we realized how insanely bucket-list our beer agenda had been.