Before I went to Berlin for the first time in 2011, I met some young Scottlish lads at a beer garden in Munich. They had just been to Berlin and gave me a 'secret, underground' map, which had a plethora of bars, restaurants, hostels, etc. My first foray in Berlin was brief, but I remember one thing that trusty, torn, map led me to: Hops & Barley. Likely the city's first, or one of the first, and definitely the coolest microbrewery. I remember it so clearly because I had trekked from Mitte to Friedrichshain on foot in the rain, not paying much attention to the map scale, so when I FINALLY arrived (only to continue waiting until it actually opened) it was like a beacon of light and hope in the cold, glum city. The experience was probably akin to when the Three Kings found Baby Jesus after following that star through the desert all night: They and I were THIRSTY. Hops & Barley did not disappoint. I must admit, I had to downgrade from 0.5L to 0.3L so I could try all the beers. Initially, I'm embarassed to reveal that, but then I think that the sign of a good leader is knowing when it's time to change up the strategy. A tactical move to successfully complete the mission. Victory. Next stop Siegessäule, natürlich.
So when Christian had a project in Berlin in the fall of 2013, I was more than happy to accompany him to the glorious Hauptstadt. I was even happier to go when Marl-dawg sent me the NYTimes article, "Good Beer in Berlin? Finally, yes." Yes. Yes I shall embrace the burgeoning Berliner beer culture. Why should those snobby Bavarians get all the glory? They can't patent beer... though the EU knows they've tried with that Purity Law. I guess they missed the boat when all the Puritans went to the New World.
Sowieso, on a sunny day in Oktober, I arrived in Berlin with my bike and a beer map - the essentials. Bikes are available all over the city, but if you really want to make a splash and have any chance of ever being on a three-person tandem with Daft Punk, then you have to go to Pedalpower. As fate would have it, it's conveniently located just east, or on the eastern edge, of Friedrichshain - the perfect jumpoff point for your Berlin beer crawl. Tackle the scene by hood:
- ***Hops & Barley Hausbrauerei, just go. Wühlischstrasse 22-23; 49-30-2936-7534.
- ***Schalander Hausbrauerei, Maximilian Lissek, Bänschstr. 91. Great food, but likely need reservation to sit at a table. New Biergarten on Revaler Str. auf dem RAW Gelände Haus 9 (bei Dirschauer Str.)!
- **Alarabi, Krossener Str. 19, around the corner from Hops & Barley, it has good wine, tapas y mas.
- **Lavanderia Vecchia is a cute, Italian cafe we happened upon one fine day and I would return for the cheap eats (lunch specials 12:00-15:00) and relaxed atmosphere. Flughafenstr. 46.
- **Kaffee Karamell, nähe Shalander, gute Bäckerei und billiges Essen. Voigtstr. 35.
- "A visual artist, Johannes Heidenpeter, also creates beautiful beers, selling them on weekends inside Markthalle Neun in Kreuzberg" (NYTimes). Eisenbahnstrasse 42-43.
- Bierkombinat Kreuzberg. Manteuffelstrasse 53; 49-179-142-6670. The beer is brewed by Südstern’s Thorsten Schoppe, but the bar is SMOKEY. And since I teased the Bavarians before, I'll say now that the law against smoking in bars in Bayern is superb.
- Thai food at Chan, drinks at Ankerklause boat bar at Kottbusser Brücke.
- ***Chez Dang, Friedensstraße 31, wunderbar Thai/Vietnamese cuisine
- Oranienstrasse between Manteuffelstrasse & Moritzplatz: Santa Maria Mexican Diner (170, tacos & tequila shots are €1 on Tues), SO36 (190), Mirchi (204, Singapore spot), Cassonade (199, crepes and WAFFLES!)
- **Pfefferbräu brewpub. Schönhauser Allee 175.
- The NYTimes author says Das Meisterstück has "outstanding sausages... [and] local craft bottles." Hausvogteiplatz 3-4; 49-30-5587-2562.
- *Brauhaus Lemke am Hackeschen Markt, auch am Schloss Charlottenburg und am Alex (Karl-Liebknecht-Str. 13).
- Brauhaus Georgbraeu Spreeufer 4; Nikolaiviertel.
- Lindenbräu im Sony-Center, aber München preis…
- Berliner Marcus Bräu Münzstraße 1-3, neben Alexanderplatz
- ***Schwarzwaldstuben, Slow Food Mitglied! Super restaurant, Linienstraße (tolle, lange Fahrradstraße) & Tucholskystraße.
- **Monsieur Vuong, Alte Schönhauser Straße 46, nähe Weinmeister Str U-Bahn.
- **Bikram Yoga, Neue Schönhauser Str. 19. I'll always think of Franzi when I go to Bikram Yoga and this studio was great though the evening classes can get crowded. Through a review of this studio, I got the head's up on Monsieur Vuong, which is just up the street. This street also has some good shops. 90 minutes of bikram yoga = guilt-free bar crawling (for life)!
- BrewBaker: Bio-Bier aus Berlin. No proprietary Gaststätte, but available in bars around the city and since the beginning at Zunftwirtschaft & the BierBar in Arminius Markthalle, Arminiusstraße 2-4.
- "For great bottles and the latest news on the city’s beer scene, drop by the Berlin Bier Shop in Moabit" (NYTimes). Kirchstrasse 23; 49-30-3910-0730.
- Klunkerkranich: Rooftop bar with a view! Bar im begrünten Gemeinschafts-Dachgarten auf einem Parkhaus, wo beliebte DJs Funk, Soul und Elektro spielen.
- Brauhaus Rixdorf: Glasower Straße 27. In einer Fabrikantenvilla aus dem Jahre 1885 werden rustikale deutsche Speisen zu hausgebrautem Bier serviert.
- Privatbrauerei am Rollberg Am Sudhaus 3, bei Kreuzung mit Rollbergstr.
- Schiller Bar, Schiller Burger, Pazzi Pizza, Syndikat near Templehofer at Weisestraße & Herrfurthstraße. This is a great afternoon agenda: cycle around the abandoned airfield then eat and drink at these places.
- ***Eschenbräu is a cool sous-terrain brewery. It's surrounding by dormitory buildings, but it's not a student-only hang-out and you won't feel old if you're over 25. Good basic eats like Flammkuchen. Triftstrasse 67; 49-30-462-6837.
- "Vagabund Brauerei serves American-style craft beers produced by expatriate Americans" (NYTimes). Antwerpenerstrasse 3; ONLY OPEN THURS-SAT in the evenings.
Christian found this website
, which aided our research.
These are a couple options in the area surrounding the Hauptstadt:
Brauhaus in Spandau Neuendorfer Straße 1, cool place, but touristy, ok menu.
Brauhaus Bohnsdorf Buntzelstraße 89
- Meierei Im Neuen Garten
- Braumanufaktur Forsthaus Templin, Templiner Str. 102
Aside from the beer, we heard there is live music at Cortina Bob and we liked the following:
SIGHTS & TOURS:
- Bunker tour with Berliner Unterwelten
- Teufelsberg: former radar station from the Cold War located in Grunewald, west of Westend-Charlottenburg. It is Europe's largest street art gallery, offers tours, and has panoramic view of the city.
- Beelitz-Heilstätten: abandoned hospital complex with unique architecture built in 1898, military hospital in WW1, Soviet hospital until 1995.
- Go2Know Tours: tours to 'secret' or abandoned places including Beelitz, the forbidden city of Wünsdorf which was the largest military complex of the Soviets in the DDR, abandoned prison in Köpenick, the Alpenhauses ruins, etc. These tours are generally €30-50 and 3-5 hours, most outside the city.
- Waisentunnel: abandoned U-Bahntunnel under the Spree
- ***Kuppel des Reichstagsgebäudes: free with reservation and great view of the city from the dome.
- ***Tiergarten: Tiergarten is named so for the zoo within the park. It is a wonderful city park with a couple beer gardens to try and I like the one closest to the zoo the best. Within the park is the Victory Column, or Siegessäule - I never tire of seeing the golden angel and it's so cool to see the Brandenburg Gate further down the road. It would be fun to do a spontaneous bike race on the straightaway between these two points. Combine with beer tours in Moabit, Wedding, and/or Mitte.
- **Treptower Park is another emerald in the city that houses the visually imposing Soviet Monument. Continue southeast through the park to Spreepark - a semi-abandoned amusement park that is creepy and interesting. There is a little trolley train that goes around the Spreepark, but I wouldn't be suprised if that got you a one-way ticket to the twilight zone. Combine with beer tours in Kreuzberg, Freidrichshain, and/or Neukölln.
- Bauhaus Klingelhöferstrasse 14, +49 30 254 0020. Open Wed-Mon 10am-5pm (closed Tuesday), adults €7.
- Stasi Museum
- Ramones Museum CONCERTS, Krausnickstraße 23, 10115 Berlin, 030 7552 8890. Täglich geöffnet 12-20, Fr. & Sa 12-22.
- **Dali Leipziger Platz 7, Täglich geöffnet, Mo.–Sa. 12–20 Uhr So. & Feiertage 10–20 Uhr, €11.
- Museum Berggruen Schlossstrasse 1, +49 30 2664 24242, adults €6. Open Tue-Sun 10am-6pm.