Tag Archives: alps

Beer in the Alps

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“Have you tried the local brew Mützig, no one knows what strength it is but it will get you drunk?” is a phrase often heard in bars across the 3 Valleys. Sadly this isn’t always quite as true as we would like it to be. In this blog you will discover where Mützig is actually brewed, that there is two different Mützig brewed with different strengths and how to make the correct choice when ordering your pint. We will also introduce you to some other Alpine beers that you may want to try next time you are holidaying in Méribel.

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The truth About Mützig!

If the definition of local beer is, brewed in the same country, then my local beer could be John Smiths. CAMRA, the dictators of UK ale standard, states that a beer is only deemed local if it is served within 30 miles of the brewery. The French Biére bores may have a different opinion to CAMRA but I expect they would agree that Mützig is as local to Méribel as Amstel and is actually owned by the same brewery. I say this with a heavy heart as I was once a believer in the myth that Mützig is a local brew and if I am honest I probably repeated the same information as everyone else as if I was an authority on the matter. The truth is that there is that Mützig is originally brewed in Alsace just down the road from Mutzig which is about 400 miles away from the 3 Valleys, however, Alsace is near to the ski resort of Des Bagenelles, (nope us neither) so it has some kind of ski pedigree. In 1987 Heinken bought Mützig and it is now brewed under licence in 6 countries and is the second most popular beer in Rwanda. So sadly Mützig it isn’t a local beer brewed in the alps just for the benefit of thirsty skiers.

The next thing you need to know is that there are two types of Mützing, there is standard Mützig and Mützig Old Larger. The standard one is 5.5% ABV, just like many other premium larger, and the Old Lager is 7.5% .So next time make sure you know which one your drinking before blaming it on the Mützig!

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The 3 Valleys local Beer

There is now a true local option and it is called Biére des 3 Valleys and is brewed by Brasserie Alpine in the town of Moutiers which itself is located at the entrance to the 3 Valleys. It went on sale in bars across the ski area in 2014 and has been growing in popularity ever since. The owner is Nicolas Daniel and he originally worked for the local tourist office, after 20 years he went and trained in the art of brewing and returned to start making handcrafted bottle conditioned beer. The beer he makes is made using the mountain water of the 3 Valleys, which Daniels claims gives his beer a “power and freshness”. You can buy this brew in nearly all bars in La Tania and several in Méribel although none of the “British” bars are stocking it at the moment. Click here to find out where you can sample it. 

If you want some more established local Ale you are not going to be in luck. Most small brewers of the area seem to center around the Chambery area and if you are interested in them then this article on justanotherbeerblog.com will excite you greatly.

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Alepine beer 

If beer is more a way of getting drunk to you than about locality then you could stick with the Mützig. But there is another beer that could soon to be in town looking to appeal to aprés ski market and it is the cleverly titled Alepine. You may cynically think that we only included this beer in the hope that they would send us some free tasters and the fact they invited us to a BBQ in Méribel, then you are probably correct. This beer is being brewed somewhere in Essex by what we guess is an ex-seasonnaire who is looking to make some good beer with an ethically driven company as well as getting some time on the mountains. Details are scarce and we couldn’t tell you if it tastes any good as we haven’t tried it, but it probably will. Rumor has it that there will be stocks hitting Meribel in October and lets hope they bring enough for our arrival in November. Keep an eye on our Facebook page and as soon as we have more details we will be posting them.

If you want book a real ale ski trip to the alps the give us a call on 01273 466535 or go to www.alpineaction.co.uk

This article was amended on the 14th of August after a Mr Richard Gill pointed out that we might have had a few to many Mützigz and go our facts wrong.

 


When Will They Ban Smoking in the Alps?

When Will They Ban Smoking in the Alps?

It has been announced by a ski area in New Zealand that there will be a complete ban on smoking. The area is called the Remarkables and this is no minor ban. In order to promote healthy living the ski area has taken the step of a complete ban. This means the whole Mountain is smoke free, this includes bars, lift queues, the slopes, chairlifts and even carparks. The company that runs the ski field says that there will be no designated areas for smoking at all.
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This is a big move, but will it ever reach the French ski resorts. I have to confess that in my younger years I was a smoker. This coincided with the early part of my ski career when I worked in the Alps. This was when smoking was still allowed in pubs bars and resturants. I have since given up smoking and I am pleased to say that it was one of the best things I have ever done.

During my time in the Alps at the beginning of the century as previously mentioned, I used to smoke. As this is an honest blog I will confess, with much embarrassment, to my smoking behaviour in ski resorts. The mild confession is that I smoked in the bars in the evening. But it really is shameful to admit that I smoked in other places too. I would smoke in lift queues, on lifts and sometimes in cable cars. I now don’t smoke, although I am not a non-smoking evangelist, I do now understand and sympathise with the non-smokers that were around me.

Back then I, naively, took the when in Rome attitude. It seemed that everyone in France smoked. I even convinced myself that the attitude in France was that where there was a sign saying No Smoking it meant smoke more. Even though my smoking was clearly misguided, I still had a respect for the environment I was in and never chucked a but from a lift or dropped one in the mountains, but that is a different issue.

So what is the future of smoking in France’s ski resorts. Will there ever be an outright ban in French ski resorts and where there are no-smoking signs in queues and on lifts, will it ever be enforced? It would be great if it was! As a decommissioned chimney myself I can see how it is an antisocial activity. Who wants to be in a beautiful mountain setting, sun on face, enjoying the view from a chair lift, when you suddenly hear, click, click, shortly followed by a waft of smoke in your face.

My guess is that we are long way from witnessing a ban in the French Alps as it has been in the Remarkables in New Zealand. I doubt we would ever see a resort wide ban as it still is a popular habit in the country. There has been a noticeable decrease in antisocial smoking in ski resorts since the smoking ban was made Law. I am not suggesting that British people don’t smoke, but we are less culturally linked to modern smoking like the French appear to be. Although let us be honest it is much better to be a non-smoker in France than in an Austrian or Swiss ski resort. In Austria, smoking is allowed in pub and bars all the time. And in many Swiss night clubs, smoking is banned until 10 pm when smoking is allowed inside as they prefer cancer caused by passive smoking to noise pollution.

It could be argued that smoking is part of the romance of a holiday in France, the image of the ski instructor with a glass of wine and pack of Gauloises is still an associated part of the zeitgeist of ski lessons, true or not. We also still imagine that all French butchers are stood around with an apron caked in blood and a cigarette hanging from their bottom lip while the ash slowly burning slowly builds up. And it is hard to imagine a coffee shop in France without an army of smokers enjoying an espresso and a Marlborough. I am sure this isn’t a very good argument for smoking and is more of a digression than an impassioned plea for it to remain.

I would like to see a better plan for the stamping out of smoking in French ski resorts and I am pleased to see that resorts in New Zealand are making a stand and leading the way. Maybe the European resorts will take notice and start to clamp down on lift smoking and other forms of antisocial smoking. I am sure there will be many people that have stronger opinions in both camps and we would encourage you to post your views below.

While we await your opinions, we will leave you with one last fact from the New Zealand ban. The resort has no plans to enforce the smoking ban with fines and simply hopes that people will respect the initiative.

 


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