The number of artisanal breweries is blossoming steadily throughout the region. Among them, the Fri-Mousse in the historic old town of Fribourg (known as the Basse-Ville), is where Alain Morand receives us. “The Dzodzet”, the “Bolze beer” or the “Barbeblanche” are some of the evocative, mouth watering names of the beers.
It all began in 1993, when a group of friends decided to create a special place to meet, a place such as would be found nowhere else. And whilst they were at it, why not have their own beer on offer? If the idea of a "secret bar" did not last long, that of brewing their own beer took root, evolving by degrees into the brasserie we know today, whose popularity has grown by leaps and bounds. "My colleague began to brew beer in pans at home. After more than 50 attempts, our first recipe was born, the ‘Old Cat’, a highly fermented black beer", remembers the brewer.
The enthusiasts were quickly overtaken by demand and in 1998 progressed from pans to a 100 litre installation, entirely fabricated out of recycled materials. "We were students, we had no money at that time…" smiles Alain Morand. Once again, the two brewers, who had learned their craft on the job, became victims of their own success. These days, there is a 1500 litre vat, installed on another site, which ensures continued production of La Samaritaine’s beer.
At Fri-Mousse, the original vat is still to be found, which allows the budding brewers to retain a certain creative flexibility. The place aims to be welcoming and offers demonstrations or tastings every Saturday.
"My favourites are ‘Old Cat’ and ‘La Fleur de Sureau’. The latter requires Real ale a lot of effort in the making, but I am very attached to it. This original creation offers the advantage of being appreciated too by people who are not beer lovers, as the elderberry flavour cuts through the bitterness. The wild elderberry comes from Mont Gibloux and we gather it ourselves. As it can only be gathered during one month of the year, we can only offer this beer for a few months, from May to September", concludes Alain Morand.