Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien is the best Swiss craft beer…and the second best and third best

BFM Abbaye De Saint Bon Chien

On the beer rating app Untappd, a list of the best-rated beers can be viewed, which is based on thousands of ratings from beer drinkers. The conclusion: Abbey De Saint Bon Chien is – in all its 1000 variants – the best beer in Switzerland. And, unfortunately, actually the only outstanding one. If you want to know more about the top 50 Swiss beers, read on.

(Disclaimer: everything here is based on Untapped’s Top 50 list – if the entire list could be evaluated, the results potentially look different.)

While Untappd is not always right, the list is still interesting. Because it tells us that:

  • Only Swiss sour beers are outstanding – 20 beers are categorized as Sour – Other, and 3 as Sour – Fruited (second are Farmhouse Ale – Saison with 7 rankings; 7 beers are some type of IPA).
  • 26 beers are by BFM.
  • 16 beers are Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien or a variant of it.
  • 9 breweries have brewed the top-50 beers.
  • Especially BFM (26), Trois Dames (9), A tue-tête (5) and WhiteFrontier (5) brew excellent beers.
  • German-speaking Switzerland brews hardly any excellent beers – only three of the top-50 beers are from German-speaking Switzerland and one of them from 523, which unfortunately no longer exists ☹.

Possible reasons for top-50 ratings

What’s the reason? Here are a few guesses:

  • Rarity: Many of these beers are special versions of Abbaye de Saint Bon Chien or collabs, which were brewed only once. It is known that people rate things that are rare better than easily available products.
  • Frequency: In the same direction goes the assumption that beers, which will be drunk only once, will be rated better. In fact, these top-50 beers were only checked in ~440 times on average, the “Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2013, Rosé Spicy)” for example only 168 times. By comparison, Nébuleuse’s Embuscade beer, available everywhere, was checked in over 4000 times.
  • Export: This is a bold hypothesis, but foreign countries rate Swiss beers better than the Swiss rate their own beers. Beers that are available abroad, like the beers of BFM, ATT or Trois Dames as well as the collabs of WhiteFrontier are rated better.
  • Sour: Beer nerds know that sour beers are more complex to produce. Accordingly, sour beers are more appreciated than “ordinary” beers

When we discussed these results, there was the question of whether other breweries simply had too few ratings. According to Untappd, the list of top 50 beers “is based on our weighted average formula, which effectively rates all beers against each other. A beer must have 150 ratings or more to qualify for this list.” We randomly checked a few beers from larger and smaller breweries, and they all would have had sufficient ratings.

No Swiss world-class beer according to Untappd

This is indeed a somewhat conclusion-less exercise, but still interesting for us beernerds. Perhaps a somewhat sad realization: none of these beers are anywhere near to making the worldwide top 50. The “Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Vin Jaune Greatest Hits Tome 3” has a rating of 4.18. To get into the worldwide top 50, a rating of 4.62 or more is needed – a 4.74 to become number one.

What do you think about this list and our evaluation? Do such lists make sense? Or do they distort reality? Should only sommeliers evaluate beers? We ware looking forward to your take on this.

List of the top 50 Swiss beers according to Untappd (as of 2.2.2021)

RankBeerBreweryStyleRating# of ratings
1Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (Vin Jaune Greatest Hits Tome 3Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.18539
2Abbaye de Saint Bon-ChienBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.1629,073
3Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2016) – Special 20th Anniversary Edition (aged in Bordeaux Grand Cru Oak Barrels)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Bière de Garde4.12761
4Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2016) – Lasciatemi ChiantiareBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.12424
5Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru – French ChampagneBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.11437
6Brut des FranchesBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut4.07632
7√400 Saison 20th Anniversary Special Edition I – Ale Brewed With GrapesBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Saison4.04724
8Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2011) – Blend 2Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.03273
9Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2014) (Blend 4)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other4.02318
10Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2015) (Blend 2)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.99340
11Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2015) – MEGAMIX Rum Casks Vol. 2Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.99293
12Jeandy Paplus 10th Anniversary Moeder Lambic OriginalBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.98764
13Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2012) – Blend 5Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.98274
14Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2017) – Very Limited EditionBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.98204
15Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2018) – Père Gola For EverBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Bière de Garde3.98201
16Pêche AbricotÀ tue-têteSour – Fruited3.98573
17Procrastinator 2Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Bock – Eisbock (Traditional)3.971,173
18Confetti WesternWhiteFrontierIPA – Triple3.961,005
19Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2013, Rosé Spicy)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.95168
20Schwarz MönchSchwarz MönchSchwarzbier3.94871
21Envoutée Single Barrel Cognac (Limitée)Trois DamesSour – Other3.94707
22Le Brut de Bon-ChienBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Bière de Champagne / Bière Brut3.94215
23Cerveza Sin Frontera (Cognac Barrel Aged)Trois DamesSour – Other3.94702
24Degustator – Vin Santo (2016)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Grape Ale – Italian3.93370
25Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Grand Cru (2015) – Barbie GirlBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.92178
26COWL – Wheat Wine – Bourbon Barrel AgedWhiteFrontierWheat Beer – Wheat Wine3.92356
27How Soon Is Now?WhiteFrontierIPA – Imperial / Double3.921,351
28PruneÀ tue-têteSour – Fruited3.92597
29√225 Saison – GrapesBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Saison3.91698
30Zymatore Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien (2014) – Chardonnay Barrel AgedBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.9190
31La TentationTrois DamesCider – Graff3.92,312
32√225th Anniversary SaisonBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Saison3.9858
33Wheat Vieille Cave SaisonTrois DamesFarmhouse Ale – Saison3.9463
34Saison BrettTrois DamesBrett Beer3.91,072
35Sauvageonne DarkTrois DamesSour – Other3.89465
36Fiancée Pinot NoirTrois DamesSour – Other3.891,340
37√225 SaisonBrasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Saison3.8822,615
38SuretteÀ tue-têteSour – Other3.88584
39Abbaye de Saint Bon-Chien Collaboration Blend (2019)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Sour – Other3.88176
40SauvageonneTrois DamesSour – Other3.88686
41MurmureWhiteFrontierIPA – New England3.87638
42CoetusBrasserie L’ApaiséeSour – Other3.87190
43Fleur de SureauÀ tue-têteSour – Other3.87187
44Noire CassisÀ tue-têteSour – Fruited3.87223
45Triple IPA 2018WhiteFrontierIPA – Triple3.87301
46India Pale Ale523IPA – American3.87289
47Degustatoro – Saison Champêtre BFM-NEB (2016)Brasserie des Franches-Montagnes (BFM)Farmhouse Ale – Saison3.86343
48I Love Hops #8 – ❤️ Citra Ekuanot EditionHoppy PeopleIPA – New England3.86275
49BeastS&A BrewingIPA – Imperial / Double3.86422
50Vieille SaisonTrois DamesFarmhouse Ale – Saison3.86678

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