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Premiere at Basel’s beer market

Basel’s third Beer Market comes up with a first:  you can sample beers by a small brewery from the other side of Switzerland’s national borders.

By Martin Pütter

Baslers love beer, and craft beers in particular – that is also a reason why the number of small and micro breweries participating at the Basler Beer Market is rising continuously. When it takes place for the third time at Vogesenplatz next to St. Johann station on 29 August, 20 breweries will be present – up from 12 last year. And, for the first time, a brewery from abroad will participate: the “Braukollektiv” from Freiburg im Breisgau will be serving its beers.

Even the organisers admit to being curious – especially how the new exhibitors are handling duty and customs regulations. “We really would like to know what experiences they made”, says Beat Aellen, one of the organisers of Basel’s Beer Market, because “so far we have sent invitations only to brewers of the Swiss part of the region, because of all the customs regulations.”

That may have contributed to small breweries from Alsace not (yet) having been present at the Beer Market, although they are a lot closer to Basel than Freiburg im Breisgau. Just as an example, only a few miles away from Vogesenplatz is the Brasserie de St-Louis in France. Reopened in 2010 (after being closed for 50 years), one of the beers – the “Mousse des Moines” (monks’ foam) – of this small brewery received the blessing of the previous Pope, Benedict XVI., as one of the ingredients of this low-strength beer is the surplus from communion wafer production.

If you also consider the characteristic feature of Baslers to regard anything to do with Zurich as coming from abroad there is even a second foreign brewery at the Beer Market: Nubiabrew Craftbeer. Even Beat Aellen is curious about this new participant: “What makes it so special is that an African brewer is producing African-style beer there.”

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