Switzerland has countless opportunities to combine two enjoyable activities – hiking and drinking beer. Just before 2016 rolled in, my husband and I visited a Swiss brewery and hotel conveniently located along a scenic trail in Solothurn. This trail, along with many others, are included in a unique guidebook, now available in English, Beer Hiking Switzerland.
The canton of Solothurn has a series of forested hiking trails, or waldwanderungen, one of which is the Buechibärger Rundwanderung. You can start and finish this circular route of 16.1 kilometers at the Schloss Buchegg (Buchegg castle) in Kyburg-Buchegg. Altogether, it takes an estimated 4-5 hours to complete the whole thing. The trail wanders through forests of beech trees and along the Mülibach stream, and can offer some spectacular views of the Bernese Alps on a clear day.
I wish we had more time to do the entire route, but we could only squeeze in a brief hike up to the castle and then a little further along the path toward Aetingen. We’ll have to save the rest for another time… hopefully soon! Fortunately, we did have the chance to sample several local beers at the brewery nearby.
Bad Kyburg Gasthof
After you finish your hike of the Buechibärger Rundwanderung, you can relax and enjoy a cold beer at the Bad Kyburg Brewery, home of Buechibärger beer and located just below the Schloss Buchegg. This brewery is housed within the Bad Kyburg Gasthof, a small boutique hotel in a rural location that also boasts a full-service restaurant, bar and outdoor beer garden. The brewery originally opened in 2009, and the hotel recently came under new management in July 2015.
My husband and I dined at Bad Kyburg’s bar last month and sampled several different beers brewed onsite. If you like India Pale Ale (I don’t, but my husband does), you’ll want to try a glass, as the brewery uses 14 different varieties of hops to make it. I tried the Hell, or blonde-style beer, as well as the brewery’s seasonal Christmas beer. Both were very good. My husband sampled the Porter and Märzen. Finally, we shared a very big glass, as typically served, of the Weizen. Overall, we were very happy with the quality of the beers.
At Bad Kyburg, all the staff were very friendly and accommodating, and the food was decent too. My fish was served in a saffron sauce, and my husband had a pretty typical, but nicely prepared pork schnitzel with french fries. I would definitely enjoy a return visit to sit out at Bad Kyburg’s beer garden on a beautiful summer evening, after completing the entire route of the Buechibärger Rundwanderung.
Swiss Guidebook for Beer Hikes
Last Christmas, I bought my husband a copy of Beer Hiking Switzerland in French (Randos Bière en Suisse, 2014). Written by Monika Saxer, the book profiles 59 different routes, all of which conclude with a visit to a local restaurant or tavern to a sample a recommended Swiss beer. Each beer mentioned in the book contains the author’s assessment of smell, taste and color.
My husband and I consulted his copy of this book when we were planning our visit to Bad Kyburg, as it includes a portion of the Buechibärger Rundwanderung. Instead of stopping at the brewery, the book recommends a visit to the Restaurant Bären in Aetigkofen for a Buechibärger blonde, which you could certainly add to your itinerary if you planned to do the entire 16-km route.
If you’re looking for more hiking opportunities in Switzerland, especially with the promise of beer at the end of your route, I think Beer Hiking Switzerland is a good starting point for Swiss beer connoisseurs and outdoor enthusiasts.