Our first beer trip was super early this year- thanks to the late school term break up and some decent winter deals! After weighing up the options of different cities with great beer we went for Berlin. Turns out it was a cracking choice, even with the lows of -10 degrees!
Arriving at a dark and dreary Airport at 4pm in the pissing rain made our first call pretty easy- lets head straight to Stone and make a night of it.
Stop 1: Stone Brewing Berlin
Location: Middle of Nowhere, Berlin. To get there we got a train, the U-Bahn and then the 181 bus to the entrance to Marienpark- then a 10 min walk through the park.
There are 50 beers on tap- half Stone, half guest. Sean decided to start with something nice and light with an aged 12.12.12 Vertical Epic Ale, and I went with the Smoked Porter. Both starting with Stone, but knowing we had plenty of opportunity to try more german and continental craft than we would normally get to. Our highlights of the night would probably be the Amarsi DIPA by Himburgs BrauKunstKeller and the Stochasticity Project: Master of Disguise Golden Stout by Stone, though we both managed to try some great stuff.
The food menu was varied, with plenty of options for different price ranges. I had the Tempeh burger which was one of the best veggie burgers I have ever tasted, and Sean the sausage and beer glazed veggies- which was fab until the glaze got a bit much!
Although it was fairly dear here, you are paying for the choice, magnificent venue and amazing produce. For a small (0.15l) beer we paid between 2.50 and 4 Euro. The space is absolutely massive, almost too big to have a ‘buzz’ about it, and with the amount of staff compared to the amount of customers we wondered how it actually ‘works’ as a business. I suppose tacked onto their huge brewery and distribution hub there’s no problem- although there is certainly mixed feelings by those working in the craft beer industry in Berlin.
Stop 2: The Pier
Location: Berlin Mitte, very close to the Natural History Museum
We’d spent the day in the Natural history museum after a pit stop at Karaca for some awesome winter warming soup and coffee. When we got out we were ready for beer- and the Pier, which hadn’t come up a lot in our pre trip research was handily just around the corner.
With 15 taps and a modest bottle selection in the fridges there was plenty to choose from. The staff were super helpful and weren’t shy with the samples! I learned that I am quite partial to a Bock and Sean found a firm favourite in SuperFreunde Super Ale- which just went on as we were there. Really liked this place, and might have missed it had we not have been at the museum (we went back on the last evening too!).
Stop 3: Brewdog
Location: Berlin Mitte
Well, this was most definitely a Brewdog bar. The irony of a Cloudwater tap takeover meant it was either Cloudwater (who we obviously love and enjoy regularly in Manchester!), Brewdog core range or a couple of others. We went with the Cloudwater Gose and Warpigs- Real Estate Mongol. Both were great, and perhaps if we went at a different time it would have had a lot more to offer us.
It was fine for one, but easily missable if you have a list to do and have been to a Brewdog before!
Stop 4: Kaschk
Location: Rosa Luxembourg
Love this little bar, being 2 mins away from the apartments I stayed in for my hen do (last mention I promise Sean!) this was the one craft beer place I had been to before in Berlin. It has a great buzz, busy and the addition of shuffleboard would make it a great group hang out I’m sure! With 12 taps, I ended up with a To ol Smoked Kaffe Og Rog which it turned out I had already had (oops) and Sean a hop forward Kinn Bryggeri Vestkyst IPA.
Meant to go back for coffee and cake one day too but we got tempted in to other venues by the snow!
Stop 5: The Castle Pub
Location: Next to the Holiday Inn, Gesundbrunnen
Another one we didnt have any plans for, but after seeing a poster in the BrewDog AND Kaschk Loo’s about an excellent looking event they were having soon we decided to hop on the U-Bahn and head out of town a little! It was pretty rough and ready, especially compared to BrewDog before it- but it was totally charming and more to the point- had a massive beer offering! With over 30 taps, 5 fridges of bottles and a dedicated spirits bar this made us wish we were staying next door! Quite a varied selection from all over the world, both of us managing to get fairly local beers which were dead good! The blood orange wit by the onsite brewery Two Fellas was a delight!
Stop 6: Heidenpeters
Location: Markethalle Neun
G O O N A T H U R S D A Y. The street food market is out of this world and then you have this little gem of a bar in the corner. Last time I visited it was on my hen do, and we did manage to spend the whole evening there grazing. Heidenpeters wasn’t there then so with this addition it makes for a near perfect Thursday evening!
The beer was fantastic, and as far as we could tell from what we heard- each new beer gets launched for the Markethalle first. I played it safe with an American IPA, but Sean went with a spiced Belgian Saison (not his usual style but it had been a really cold day so ‘spiced’ seemed fitting!). Both really nice beers, Belgian Winter really surprising- wonderfully served, smooth and light.
Stop 7: The Berlin Craft Beer Experience
I panic bought this as a Christmas present and safe to say we were both really nervous as to whether I just wasted a load of money on something we were practically doing ourselves. We were so wrong! We visited 4 places- 2 of which included food.
Firstly we were given a guided tour through different beer styles, a discussion around the beer situation in Berlin and Germany, and 3-4 thirds of beer. We then moved onto Curryhain where they had arranged beers to come to us from across the road whilst consuming the best currywurst (Vegan and Traditional!) in Berlin (apparently!).
After some good chats and socialising with the group we were taken to Frenc for a beer and a little bit more of a chat around distribution. The atmosphere was great, bar was brilliant and the guys from Superfreunde were drinking in there too. We really wished we could have gone back not as a group to try some Crepes and beers!
The tour guides dropped us off at the ‘Salami Social Club’ who had insanely good woodfired pizza, four taps and a great selection of bottles. Really friendly staff who were happy to have a chat about what they were doing and their pizza were damn delicious.
Stop 8: Monterey Bar
Location: Prenzlauer Allee
By the end of the tour everyone was feeling pretty good about trying one more beer and Sean was up for the challenge of getting us all there. We headed to Monterey Bar on recommendation and so glad we did. They did have lots of UK beer on, which we were trying to avoid, but I ended up with an amazing Rhubarb Sour from Birrifico Italiano. The bottle list was great, and the bartender was more than happy to recommend. Only the level of smoking with little ventilation let it down a bit, but we would still most certainly go back!
Food and Coffee Shoutout– beer can obviously make you feel like a bag of crap the next day. We found Spreegold which did incredible breakfast & brunch options for all. We were never too far from some really decent coffee too- trip fave was 100% The Barn.
Stop 9: Muted Horn
Our last evening obviously included more beer, and it began with one of our favourite bars of the trip. 22 Taps (2 of which are Nitro) with a real mix of styles and breweries.
The owners were there, alongside a great member of staff who were all on hand to help, have a chat and show us around. Its all about the beer flights / trays here with any four thirds for 8 Euros! Needless to say we tried quite a few great beers- a joint favourite being Immoralite by Brasserie Dieu du Ciel! which was a deliciously malty with a warming caramelly sweetness. Sean chose to end our time there with a Yellow Belly (he was wearing an Omnipollo tshirt and everything) and he ended up getting little nose around their set up (must have been the t-shirt).
Our only minor criticism we had that evening was that it did seem to be far away from anywhere. However, upon reflection, it was really close to a U Bahn, we don’t know the city well and we were told the district was up and coming by a few people so I’m sure there will be more places of interest around it soon!
Stop 10: Hopfenreich
Location: Kreuzberg- Fredichschain
After a few beer flights and a trip accross town it was time to head to Hopfenreich. We’d heard mixed things about the bar so didn’t know what to expect. It was lively, staff were friendly, great beer list and quirky decor. Sure there were a few groups who may have been a little rude but that’s no slight on the bar!
I probably had my beer of the holiday- another Heidenpeters- Brewbox Coffee IPA which was so well balanced, not sickly sweet and a great flavour. The member of bar staff even went out of his way to pick a bottle that would follow it nicely! Would definitely return!
Stop 11: Hops and Barley
Briefly headed into Hops and Barley. The beer was nice, I had previously had the Mandarina IPA on the beer tour and thoroughly enjoyed it. I dont think we picked the best evening to go as it it was very overcrowded, possibly due to hockey or something and it was a little smoky in the back. The bar itself was lovely, and the location was great (great Currywurst place over the road!)- just not as good as the previous two of the evening!
Obviously we did loads of really good stuff in between and didn’t just eat and drink all the time. Apart from just getting a little lost and wandering around which is our favourite thing to do, we particularly enjoyed the alternative walking tour, the Natural history museum, the DDR museum, the transport system (Sean) and the West Side Gallery.
Surmise to say, Berlin had so much to offer both by day and night. The city itself is incredible- the art, culture and history is fascinating. Kreuzberg in fact (where we did a lot of wandering) has just been nominated hippest hang out in Europe by Travelsupermarket, who tried to seek out places that have been ‘unspoiled by commercialism’ and have a ‘creative culture’. You get a sense that Berlin is still forging its identity, and whilst gentrification and commercialism is taking over some sectors- the independants are keeping areas grounded and cool. It has really captured the spirit of the craft beer scene, despite Germany’s love affair (and rules) for straight up beer and it has some of the most up to date and diverse food and drink on offer in Europe.
Already looking at flights for March…
Posted by: Soo