Sunday 19th January 2014
This is another small brewery in a rather odd location. It's to be found in a youth hostel called Lago Lodge and it's located on the banks of Lake Biel. It is actually in Nidau, a town adjacent to Biel / Bienne, but close to its main station. I would imagine it comes in to own during the summer when its large terrace would be in use. No so on this freezing January evening, yet I must say that the lights in the restaurant looked very inviting indeed as we approached the building.
Despite it being a Sunday evening in January the pub was quite busy so we were lucky enough to get the last table. I was with the usual suspects of Vaughan, Steve, Patrick and Russell. We ordered several different beers from the range of five and enjoyed them all and by the time we left I had tried them all, a task made easier because there wasn't a wheat beer.
Service is from the bar, yet sometimes the drinks were brought to the table, depending on the size of the order I suppose.
There was plenty of time to look around and I observed that the room was dominated by the bulk of the brewery; there is no doubt that the beer is brewed here! The main language of the food menu was German, yet the beer menu was French. Biel / Bienne is a true bi-lingual town, hence its two names.
I know that the building housed a youth hostel but I was still surprised by the ages of the waiting staff; they all looked well under eighteen!
There is a menu offered along with daily specials, not surprisingly burgers seem to be a speciality. Apart from the beers there is a full drinks menu including cocktails.
One other thing that I noticed was that the seating got more comfortable from one end of the room to the other. To my left were several basic tables of boisterous students and then it progressed across to soft leather sofas on my right. The room and the general ambience were rather like a holiday camp but, to be honest, that was secondary because we were here for beer!
As previously mentioned there were five beers on offer. Three of these form the standard range of Blonde, Spécial and Brune. Blonde we thought was a good helles bier with sufficient hop smack to make it stand out compared to other beers of this type. Spécial is made with hemp and is very popular. Maybe those who buy it think it has hallucinatory properties, it hasn't. The Brune had all the right malt tastes yet with good bitterness in the finish.
There were two seasonal beers offered that are known to return to the menu every now and then. They were Ginger and Abeille (5.0%). Ginger was good because the taste of it was definitely there, but very much in the background.
The second was in the style of an Abbey beer. It wasn't as assertive as a Belgian version might be but had the same basic combination of sweetness and bitterness, but in smaller proportions.
We were all taken by the quality of the beers brewed here so the restaurant / bar comes well recommended.
Seeland Bräu, Uferweg 5, Nidau CH-2560. Tel: 041 (0) 32 331 3732
Open: Sunday-Thursday 07.00-23.30; Friday-Saturday 07.00-00.30
From Biel / Bienne railway station take the Nidau exit, not the main exit to the town, and walk across Place Robert-Walser opposite. Continue in straight line across a road junction and along Rue Marcelin-Chipot. At the intersection with the main road Aarbergstrasse, cross over and keep going in the same direction. Once over the river bridge, turn right on to the riverbank path, Uferweg. After about 200 metres turn left into Flösserweg and the pub is on the left. It should take around ten minutes.
Biel / Bienne is served by all classes of train and has connections to towns and cities all over Switzerland.