Wednesday 15th January 2014
Turbinen Bräu makes considerable capital of the fact that it is the largest brewery in Zürich canton. This situation has come about because the two large historic breweries in the city have both closed.
The first to go was Löwenbräu which was closed in 1984 when it was taken over by the other Zürich brewery, Hürlimann. But the biter was later bitten when Hürlimann was taken over by Feldschlössen in 1996 and beer production was transferred to their brewery.
Turbinen Bräu was established in 1997 to fill a perceived gap in the Zürich beer market following the closure of these two large breweries. It gets its name from the fact that their first brewery was in the former turbine building hall of Sulzer-Escher-Wyss. It has done fairly well since and now supplies over a hundred restaurants and bars. They also bottle most of their beer and the big supermarkets stock their beers. In 2002 the popularity of their beers led to them moving to the present premises.
It was a fairly cold night when I went looking along Badenerstrasse for their restaurant and pub after alighting from the number 2 tram at the Kappeli stop.
I soon arrived outside 571 which displayed the brewery's name on the outside of the building. I had a look around inside but could find neither restaurant nor brewery. Outside again I noticed the road to the side of the building and then I found it.
There were a lot of drinkers standing on the loading ramp outside so I climbed the stairs at the end and slid open the large door. Well, there was no doubt that I had found the brewery as the equipment was in front of me but the beer on sale was all in bottles and most customers were taking it away in crates, although were drinking it out on the ramp.
There were four different brews available but I was pretty sure I was in the wrong place so I went outside again.
Then I saw an illuminated sign further along the yard and at last I had found my destination. Inside there was a modern restaurant and on the right of the room a long bar. I settled on a stall and asked the barmaid what beers were on offer. There were three; basically a light, dark and a wheat beer. These were Gold Sprint, Rekord and Start. The founder of the brewery is keen on cycle racing, hence the names. I passed on the wheat beer and had the light and dark. I liked them both but thought the light could have done with a bit more bitterness.
One notable and very commendable fact is that the beers are unpasteurised and the bottled versions must be consumed within two months.
The bar has windows through to the brewery and I noticed that the stainless steel plant was very modern and they have a "SchoKo". This looks a stainless steel mushroom. It boils the wort, and the strange name is an abbreviation of Schonkochverfahren which translates as "gentle boiling process". It allows energy savings of over 70%.
Whilst it is possible to get Turbinen Bräu beers all over the city, I think it is always best to drink them at the source, so I commend this bar and brewery to those visiting Zürich. It is a short tram ride from the centre.
Turbinen Bräu, Turbinenhalle, Badenerstrasse 571, Zürich. CH-8048
Tel: 041 (0) 43 3115767
Open: Monday 11.00-14.30; Tuesday-Friday 11.00-14.30, 16.30-23.30;
Saturday 18.30-23.30. Sunday: Closed.
Tram number 2, destination Farbhof, operates from the city centre to the nearby Kappeli stop. This stop is also served by buses 89 and 95. These are cross-city routes and do not come from the centre.