I want you to close your eyes and let your imagination run wild for a moment. Invisage stark, sheer cliffs surrounded by snow-capped Alps. Waterfalls cascading from hundreds of metres up, shooting thousands upon thousands of tonnes of water from the precipice, the glacial melt halting airborne for mere moments before rushing downwards to the lush valley floor. Appreciate the hand-built wooden Chalets, barns and cabins strewn over the open fields. Hear the increasing rush of mountain streams as they fill with crystal clear water. Watch adrenaline junkies paragliding off ski slopes, their fluorescent chutes weaving towards terra firma. Embrace the sun as it slowly creeps through the valley, chasing away the cold bite of the morning air.
Created that postcard in your head?
Welcome to Lauterbrunnen. You are sitting in a small cafe with a group of friends. You have a Swiss dunkel in your hands.
For those inquisitive sorts, it’s Rugen Brau’s Spezial Dunkel.
It’s not an overly spectacular beverage as far as beers go. I mean, it’s imbued with enough sweet dark malt to satisfy you, and its smooth finish lets you quaff your beer without incident. But it won’t blow your tastebuds away with sheer magnificence.
It doesn’t need to though. In Europe they have a far more relaxed beer (and overall drinking) culture than. You don’t drink to ‘get drunk’. You drink to enhance a meal, or a gathering. To stimulate and inspire moments that become treasured memories of days and nights spent with friends, families, and complete strangers.
Sitting in that small cafe in Switzerland, you appreciate this outlook. How can you fully take in this wonderous scenery if you’re inebriated?
For the unheard of Swiss beer in your hand, it’s a big moment. As part of the sheer sense of awe and humbling smallness that backdrop provided you, that beer might be amongst the best you’ve had.